Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Having three kids attending three different schools has its "privileges". One of them is that we get exposure to nearly every germ the school district has to dish up.

A week or so ago, the school nurse sent around an e-mail that fifth disease had been confirmed at the middle school. Despite that, uh, catchy name, I'd never heard of it. Apparently it's a mild fever followed by a rash that usually just goes away on its own. There is, however, cause for concern if a pregnant woman contracts it, as it can lead to complications for the baby.

It reminded me of when I didn't get the chickenpox.

Nope, for some reason, I've never had chickenpox, and YES, I did have friends as a child. YES, they got them, I just didn't OKAY?! Some people, upon hearing of an adult that never had chickenpox assume that said child grew up living in a box with no friends. Not the case, OKAY?!?

In fact, I can remember when several of my childhood playmates were away from school with chickenpox. I also remember when some neighbor kids/friends had them and we were sent over to play - now seen as a not-so-covert plot on the part of my parents to get my brother and me infected.

Didn't work.

In fact, both of my brothers and I survived our entire childhoods without experiencing the chickenpox. THEY both, however, contracted them later in their adult lives, and the unanimous bottom line was that they "would have rather died". Maybe there's some weird familial trait going on there, but I decided I didn't want to experience the "would rather die" version of adult onset of chickenpox, and particularly in the child-bearing years because of pregnancy complications.

A few years ago, a chickenpox vaccine came out and has now been added to the plethora of vaccines that kids get before they begin public school. So I was all over that! I called the office of my GP doctor and asked for the vaccine. Yes, for myself. Why? Because I didn't want to get chickenpox! NO I didn't have them as a kid. YES, I had friends as a kid! Why were they asking me such strange questions?

I soon found out that, what was a routine thing for a pediatrician office, was a strange request for a doctor's office that treated GROWN UPS. They would have to special order it. I would have to be able to come in on short notice after it arrived because it needed to be at a certain temperature, etc., etc. Now, this was back when the vaccine was relatively new. I don't know if such acrobatics are required today.

So the day arrived. The doctor's office called. I rushed over to get the optimum dose! A couple of weeks later, I was given a blood test to make sure the thing took. It didn't.

Round two: They call. I rush. I bleed. It's good.

Wolfgang got a chickenpox booster shot this year. Booster? There's a booster? Do I dare ask?


  1. Our children have allsuffered what the paediatricians vaguely (and expensively) call non-specific rashes- just enough for you to abandon work and haul them out of school, but not enough for them to actually be sick.
    My son's best friend's parents still hold it against us that he 'gave' their son chicken pox when they were one. He is now nine.

  2. Scott had chickenpox at 26 - it is one of the worst experiences - almost hospitalized, and the reprocussions are still evident today (thus the five year gap between our kids and how long it took us to have them in the first place, if you get my drift). The pox are nothin' to sniff at.

    As for fifth comes and goes. Not really a thing you can do about it. And, once you've been exposed, you are usually okay.

  3. I used to have a home day care. I've heard of all the diseases. After the day care thing I worked at a grade school. Lots of kids who'd had the chicken pox vaccine ended up getting the chicken pox anyway, only it didn't last as long as a normal bout of chicken pox. Maybe that's why the booster?

  4. Yeah there is a booster. I was the last kid in my class to get them, I had one pox(?) chicken pox thingy...

    One bump. Maybe two. It itched for like a minute.

    I didn't even have the pleasure of missing school since I was the last in my class to get it and everyone else already had it...sigh..

    I still feel cheated.

  5. Fifth disease?!? That one's new to me...

    My Dad never got chicken pox either - he made sure to stay very, very far away when my brother and I had it. Personally though I thought chicken pox was awesome. I basically felt fine (albeit itchy), and I got a week off school. When you're ten, this is the ultimate "SCORE!" moment...

  6. I had a rash so bad, they called it SIXTH disease!

  7. My husband never had chickenpox as a child and developed it while managing a jewelry store in the mall at the age of 28. He missed two weeks of work and as an added bonus, infected our 2 year old son. Good times! Good times!