Quarantine, Part II

Long time readers of this blog may recall that back in 2010, Little Miss Sunshine was diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum. It’s a kind of rash caused by a virus that looks like little white pimples – my mom said when she was a kid they would have called them boils. They’re tiny little things that swell into slightly larger little things with white pearlized tops. Eventually they get big enough to pop open and a bunch of ooze and a hard centre come out (highly contagious at this stage, by the way), then it bleeds like you’ve cut an artery for a day or two before finally drying up.

Most kids who get it get one spot; a “bad case” might be five or six spots. The Little Miss had, at one time, more than 50 spots, with new ones cropping up all the time. They spread from her armpit down her arm and side, then onto her stomach and neck, and eventually she had a few on her leg as well before the tide turned. I’m happy to say that the last spot finally, finally broke open and then healed a few weeks ago. We are CONTAGION FREE.

Or, we were.

A few days ago I woke up with a super, SUPER itchy rash on my lower left hand side. I figured, allergic reaction. Or maybe bug bites. But it got itchier and itchier, and eventually started to hurt in a stabbed-by-a-thousand-needles kind of way. Gal Smiley, who was always deeply concerned about catching the molluscum contagiosum (which no one else ever did, by the way), kept asking me if it was contagious, and I kept assuring her it wasn’t.

But it turns out it is shingles.

Which is a manifistation of the chicken pox virus.

Which is contagious to people who have never had chicken pox.

Which includes my entire immediate family, including Sir Monkeypants.

So now I’m walking around with my abdomen swathed in the World’s Biggest Bandage, alternately dying of itching and stabbing pain, and fretting about giving my whole family a horrible disease. Quarantine for Mommy!

A few years ago a friend of ours I’ll call “Glenn” (hi Glenn!) got The Gout. And we all mocked him, because that is an Old Man Disease, and clearly his days of fun in the sun were over, he may as well learn to play bridge and drink tea and move to a retirement home. And now, here I am with the shoe on the other foot (is that a saying? I feel like I messed that one up), as I have The Shingles, which is also an Old Lady Disease.

It’s really amazing how fast your body betrays you once you cross that 40 line. I have to say, now that I’m here I kind of wish it would get it over with and just commit to being actually old. Having to deal with PMS, pimples, 10% unruly grey hairs, and The Shingles all at once seems like Just Too Much. Really, body, we cannot be all ages at once. We CANNOT. Commit!

13 thoughts on “Quarantine, Part II

  1. CapnPlanet

    Sigh – I totally hear what you are saying about your body betraying you. I won’t derail this post with a litany of my health issues; instead, I’ll just say that it’s quite depressing to reach the point where you don’t have time to figure out how to fix all the things going wrong with your body and you just learn to live with them, and that that’s what growing old is like (for some, or perhaps most, at least).

  2. MrsCarlSagan

    Great news about the molluscum – bad news about the shingles. I have heard it hurts like a bugger. If your peeps have had the chicken pox vaccine are they protected from getting shingles from you?

  3. At least you’re A Funny Old Lady, Lyn!

    I re-read your old post about the MC… and my comment on it. At that time, Simon had only one on his face. Well. We noticed a couple in Andrew’s armpit when he was about a year old, by the summer he was 18 months he had about a dozen, and he had probably 40 by his second birthday. ALL in his one armpit. It looked awwwwwful. The problem was that he’d started to scratch a couple, which broken them open allowing the “core” to infect all the surrounding area.

    I’d read online that apple cider vinegar could help. You’re supposed to soak a cotton pad, place that on the bumps, then wrap in plastic wrap for a day. When you remove it, the core is supposedly black and dead. Well ACV is way too strong for sensitive baby skin. I tried wiping it on him with a cotton ball three times a day. But that just made him scream (he still gets nervous when he sees the bottle of Braggs!).

    Finally last year, I pinned him down and squeezed every. last. one. of them. I know. I’m terrible. But with him scratching and picking at them, they were going to be EVERYWHERE and on EVERYONE (including the newborn in the house). It was messy and bloody and no doubt our neighbours thought I was killing him (thanks to single pane windows in Bogota), but I got them all and they haven’t been back.

    As for the shingles and being contagious to your family, with the except of Sir Monkeypants, any reason why you don’t want the kids getting Chicken Pox. All four of mine had it in February. They weren’t happy about it (Liam the least so), but it wasn’t too bad.

    1. Wow, you are hardcore! I tried many, many times to squeeze out the spots but the Little Miss would scream and scream. With this last one, when it got really big and I could tell it was very close to popping, we did finally hold her down to get it over with – and man, THE SCREAMING. (Still totally worth it though.)

      We had the same problem with the scratching and the spreading and the armpit discomfort. Eventually we went to our doctor and demanded treatment, and he put some sort of burning chemical on it – google suggests it was phenol – and that took care of about 12 of the really big ones right in her armpit. She still continued to get new ones after that but it really did turn the tide from rampant spreading to eventual healing. So TOTALLY worth it, even though it did hurt and she was in pain for a couple of days.

      As for the chicken pox – gah. I am just afraid of the horror. I guess we will deal with it if it comes!

  4. The older they are, the more horrible CP will be. Best to get it over with now.

    Squeezing all of Andrew’s “bumps” (as he called them) was hard on both of us. I literally had him pinned to the ground with my legs around him as I fought to get them all. It was an hour long STRUGGLE. And those little buggers BLEED. I gave him a bath afterwards… and then rubbed his whole arm, pit, and side down with the ACV. I know. Vinegar on all those little open sores. I hated doing it, but had seen the cores die on some of the open ones he had during the weeks we were trying the ACV alone, so hoped it would be the final nail. It’s been over a year and they’re not back. Thank goodness.

  5. AIEEE. That’s horrible. I got the chicken pox when I was NINETEEN. Good lord. It was right before finals during my second year of university. My mom had taken me to pox parties when I was a kid, to no avail. It was the sickest I had ever been. So I feel for you! Aaaahhhhh!

  6. Lynn – I hope you feel better soon. I know it can be super-painful (I don’t want to tell you that my dad had it a couple of years ago cause that might make you feel old). They now have a shingles vaccine available… but not recommended to our YOUNG age group.

    Speaking of vaccines – chicken pox vaccine people! Yes, chicken pox is fairly benign, though uncomfortable in most cases, but there are exceptions. Why not protect yourselves from that possibility?

    And lastly, Lynn, another point of commonality – Lil D has molluscum. He had two for the longest time in Canada and we thought nothing of them, and then when we got here to the tropics where everything spreads like wildfire, it spread. The dermatologist here liquid nitrogened about 8 and they are going, but he has more sprouting up. He suggested salicylic acid for new ones. Trying to catch them but it’s tough. I’m glad to hear that they eventually go away – that is what I’ve been told but it’s hard to imagine.

  7. hanaboomom

    I had shingles as a teenager. (I was an old lady EVEN THEN.) I remember it being pretty nasty, though I’ve heard there are better medications for dealing with it than there were back then. Hope you are getting through it all okay.

  8. smothermother

    i understand that they are pretty painful (cough – my father in law has them at the moment – cough). supposedly there is a new medication that helps with the pain and the spreading. fingers crossed that it doesn’t make it’s way around the house.

  9. Ugh, hope you feel better soon. Hub got a really bad case of CP as a kid that turned into shingles and caused all sorts of issues so we’re all about the CP vaccine in this house. But my bout with CP when I was 10 was really not so bad though I missed something like 3 weeks of school.

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