Every working mother dreads one particular phone call…The call from the school nurse!
“Mrs. Ivers, you have to come and pick up Lynn.”
“Why? What’s the matter with her?”
I really didn’t want to hear the next sentence out of the nurse’s mouth. I knew that it was about to disrupt what little routine I had as a working mother, but I held my breath and braced myself for what came next.
“Lynn has chicken pox. You have to pick her up immediately!”
Now I was thinking ahead of all of this… There were two other kids in our family at this particular stage of the game. Both of her sisters were younger than she and I knew how incredibly contagious this little childhood malady could be. I also knew that there was no real way to keep Lynn’s siblings safe from catching this dreaded little childhood disease.
Trish, Katie (Yes ladies, that’s Kate!) and Lynn
So I picked my oldest up from school (she was five at the time of this event) and within 24 hours the house was loaded with little itchy blisters from head to toe and we were quarantined! Out came the calamine lotion, the oatmeal for baths, and any other remedy that I could think of that really didn’t work anyway. Trying to keep three little girls from scratching was beyond difficult. The moaning and crying and complaining were constant and there was no real help for the situation.
I finally got them all to bed that first evening with little white gloves held on with rubber bands so they couldn’t scratch themselves in their sleep and I settled down to get some rest myself. I had only lost one day of work with this so far so I considered myself lucky. Those were the days before laptops and cell phones so when you lost a day of work you lost the day. That work would have to be made up tomorrow so you were buried before you started. I went to sleep thinking about my babysitter’s dilemma tomorrow and felt sorry for her, but honestly I was looking forward to getting back to the office so I didn’t have to deal with this mess. (There’s one of those motherhood confessions for sure!)
The next morning I got up and went into the bathroom. My eyes were blurry because I didn’t have my glasses on yet and when I looked in the mirror I saw what seemed to be a pimple on my forehead. Strange… that wasn’t there last night. So I touched this little monster and I was confused because it really was a big zit. How could that grow so fast overnight?
And then reality sets in…
I grabbed my nightgown and lifted it up in front of the mirror and there my nightmare became a reality!
“David! I HAVE THE CHICKEN POX!”
How the heck could this be? I had the chicken pox when I was a baby. How could I get it twice?
Come to find out that if you didn’t get a severe enough case of the pox, you CAN get it again! So here I was with three babies and all of us looked like someone hit us with buckshot. Worst of all… Now I too was quarantined! This turned out to be one of the longest weeks of my life. And let me tell you all right now… Chicken Pox itches like hell! It was difficult for ME not to tear myself apart from that itch! Having experienced this first hand, I can tell you that I was a lot more sympathetic to my poor little girls. And we were pretty lucky… We suffered very few scars from the whole episode. Of course, when I got back to my desk I had a pile of backed up work so far I couldn’t see over it! But I had a great boss who had children of his own and took the whole thing in stride.
Today there is a vaccine to prevent against this and many other childhood diseases. But to this day, if I am exposed to a kid who comes down with the pox, I say a little prayer that I never get it again. Heck, if I got it twice, who is to say that I can’t get it a third time!
And the one thing I know is this…
There isn’t enough wine in the world to quell that itch!