Sun Ra - Column for 7/31

Waiting on Pox

Well, I'm sitting at home on a workday. I'm not on vacation. I'm not sick. No, it's the kid who is sick - in theory.

See, two weeks ago my wife came down with shingles. Shingles are, for those unfamiliar, an excrutiatingly painful localized reoccurance of chicken pox. Which means that, in addition to her being out of commission for the last week of our vacation, it's now entirely possible that the youngling has chicken pox.

Of course, chicken pox has an incubation period. Five days to two weeks. And it's transmissible before there are any overt symptoms. There's a vaccine for chicken pox these days, but it's a live vaccine and they never administer it before the child is one year old.

Now, shingles is the chicken pox virus but it's not chicken pox. It's not air transmissible, it's only touch transmissible. Of course, you try to keep a baby from touching your face while nursing. So we don't know whether he has it or not.

But on the chance that he does, we're keeping him out of day care until the incubation period is up. After all, exposing another dozen kids too young to have gotten the vaccine would, well, it would lead to a certain amount of guilt, you know?

Last friday he came down with a fever and we thought "Well, this is it." But my wife took him to the pediatrician and no, no chicken pox. Instead he had - get this - "hand, foot and mouth disease". That's a winner, eh? We, of course, immediately took to calling it "hoof and mouth disease", of which the virus is actually a close relative.

I have to say, disease naming is not a very advanced art. "Hand, foot and mouth disease." That's a winner. I guess after Typhoid, Diptheria and Measles, they started running out of steam. Cholera gets points. But then there's smallpox, and cow pox, and chicken pox... Where did that come from, anyway? I don't recall chicken pox looking like chickens.

My favorite of the pocii though has to be French Pox (aka Syphilis), which the French call Spanish Pox, and the Americans now call Freedom Pox. Nothing quite like assigning blame in your diseases, eh?

Anyhow, the kid recovered from his hoof and mouth disease, and now seems fine again. Well, except for the aggravated whining whenever I look away from him for one measly instant, I mean damn kid, give me a goddamn break already. Er, yes, he's fine. Though he may have chicken pox.

Thankfully, a grandmother arrives tonight to assist with minding him. Another day of providing solo day care and I'd come down with something. Insanity, I suspect.

Gotta go, he's hungry.

- Sun Ra

Columns by Sun Ra