We took the girl back to the doctor on Wednesday, where they brought 5 pediatricians in to look at her rash. Around this time I realized that the last time they had seen normal chickenpox was the same as the last time I saw normal chickenpox, which was on my own body when I was 6. The vaccine came out in 1995, when all of us were in college or med school and thus the only cases of pox they’ve seen are atypical cases that happen in vaccinated children. The vaccine is given at 1 year old, so the girl was just 3 weeks away from getting it.
Remember the children’s song “Miss Suzy had a turtle?” The turtle gets sick and Miss Suzy calls in 3 experts who all declare different diagnoses. “‘Measles!” said the doctor, “Mumps!” said the nurse, “Chickenpox!” said the lady with the alligator purse.” This is what it was like at the doctor’s office.
The longer she’s been sick, the more the rash has looked like classic chicken pox. I’ve been taking pictures every day or so to document its progression.
This was about 3 days into the rash, when we took her to the doc the first time and was told that it was viral. Apologies for all the snot in the pictures. Her poor nose was rubbed so raw that she screamed whenever we wiped her nose so we did it only when absolutely necessary.
A few days later, the cheek rash is a bit better but now you can see the forehead lesions starting up.
Now the cheek rash is better, but the forehead is looking worse. This is when we took her back to the pediatrician. Of the 5 docs, 3 thought it was viral, one said pox, and the other came in silently and left silently. I do not know what she thought.
She’s a complete and total mess here. New cheek bumps, but what’s most prominent are the completely new vesicles on her chin that look like chicken pox. The stuff on her right cheek is an eczema flare.
Here’s a close up of the chin bumps, which looked like clear little blisters on a red background.
Now the forehead is much better, and you can see the chin lesions…
…starting to crust over. She also developed a new vesicle on her leg today.
Today most of her face is clear, and the chin lesions are entirely crusted over. Most importantly, she’s back! By that I mean that she’s happy, active, rolling around, scooting all over the place and just radiates joy from her core.
For those who think that chicken pox is a benign disease, let me disabuse you of that notion. The girl was utterly miserable for 2 weeks. Before we knew it was chicken pox, she did go to school for 2 days but that’s was it–really we should have kept her home and I feel a bit guilty about it. She would have otherwise been home for 2 weeks straight. Thankfully it worked out okay with my work schedule, but this would have otherwise been really hard. She also developed a nasty yeast infection in the skin folds of her neck and behind her left ear (she sleeps on her left side) that was extremely painful for her. I would have preferred that she never gone through any of this.
Of course, there’s a possibility that this isn’t chicken pox, and could just be some random viral thing. I’m going to have her tested at her 1 year visit–if she’s positive then there’s no need to give her the vaccine. If she’s not, then god only knows what she had and I’m just thankful that it’s over.