The Princess is firmly on the mend and her spots are no longer sore. They are revolting though and falling off all over the place [“Mummy, I don’t want my yoghurt” – “Why not, honey?” – “My rash fell into it” – Delightful]. We are watching the boys anxiously for signs of spots. They had to go to the doctor for shots this morning and he reassured us that the spots on Michael’s face are just a heat rash. Our paediatrician is very nice and everything but he assumes that we know everything. “No fever, no disease, which of course you know”. Er, no, actually. “For the chicken pox, no aspirin, which, of course, you know”. Er, no, didn’t know that either. Of course, it’s not nice to be patronised by your doctor, but surely there must be a middle ground. I am reminded of a post by GP mama some time ago (which I cannot find to link) where she described lecturing medical students and asking them where their prostate was and none of them knew. She said “remember this moment, because in years to come, you will think that you learnt where your prostate was at the same time as you learnt where your tummy and your arms and legs are”.
Over the weekend the Princess developed a spot on her eyeball, painful, alarming and according to google (bloody google), potentially dangerous. On Saturday night after they were all in bed we agonised about what to do. Should we call the paediatric service in the local hospital? But suppose that they said come in and we would have to wake her up. When she had gone to bed at MIDNIGHT on Thursday and 10.00 on Friday and we were teetering about on the end of our tether. Eventually, concern for our daughter’s welfare (just) outweighed our desire to sit down and have a nice cup of tea. Some tired doctor from the paediatric service was summoned to talk to us (who’d be a doctor?) and she said, unlike the internet “oh yeah, very common, buy some zovirax ophthalmologique”. Excellent, another medicament to acquire which she won’t let us apply, at least it may be useful for the boys or for us.
Oh yes indeed, a series of checks with our parents has revealed that neither Mr. Waffle nor I have had chicken pox. My mother waxed eloquent on mumps and measles (“you were deaf for two years between four and six, you became an excellent lip reader” – a skill I have, regrettably, not retained) but no chicken pox. By all accounts, chicken pox is very infectious and deeply unpleasant for adults. The best dressed diplomat sent me an email with what, I am sure, she intended to be cheering words: ‘if it’s any consolation, it’s much better they get it at this age. The older you are, the sicker you are. I got it in my mid 20s [and it was dreadful]… [s]o you’re saved the trauma of being the middle-aged mother of a twenty-something driven to tears and the foetal position.” Not, in fact, cheering, in the circumstances. Let us trust that our parents have just forgotten our suffering through the pain and anguish of chicken pox.