Day Five in the Pox Household

And we’re finally turning a corner!

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We’d almost given up on Thomas ever contracting Chickenpox by the time I got “the call” from nursery last week. This is at least the sixth time he’s been closely exposed to it since he was six months old, never mind the more casual encounters I’m sure have occurred without my knowledge at playgrounds and playgroups. Between nursery outbreaks and spending the day with friends and family members who’d erupted in spots the very next day, to sharing a kiss at a toddler group with a child who, unbeknownst to me and her mum until several minutes later, was already spotty, he seemed magically resistant to it. Obviously I wasn’t complaining. I’d never be one to deliberately infect my child, because I do know that complications, although rare, can happen. However, it was starting to get a little frustrating. Never knowing when we might have to put our lives on hold for a week (or more) of quarantine. Fearing that we’d end up having to cancel a holiday. Or that he wouldn’t get it until he went to school, when time off becomes less desirable.

The current outbreak at his nursery (as well as in the local area in general) has been going now for nearly four weeks. I’d already pretty much decided that if he came through this time without catching it, we’d be looking at the possibility of vaccination, just to end the uncertainty of when it would finally hit. Call me frivolous and silly if you like, but the vaccination is definitely cheaper than wasted nursery fees, time off work to care for a contagious child, or cancelled holidays and plans.

In the end though, he was case number 21 in his room at nursery. Hard to believe there is anyone left who hasn’t had it! Of course, typically, it has finally come at a time when everyone is too ill themselves, too pregnant or too on holiday to provide the back up childcare we usually enjoy during times of illness. And obviously anyone with children, especially babies, who haven’t yet had it is also off limits. Never mind that it’s a big ask to get someone to look after a child who needs to be confined to the house and garden!

So work has been missed and plans juggled. It’s been a tough few days.

He doesn’t seem to have had it horrendously badly, to be fair. He had a temperature for the first couple of days, and was definitely more quiet and subdued than his normal, bubbly, vivacious self. But the scratching. Oh, the scratching!

We’ve used chlorphenamine (Piriton) and it does work and absolute treat to minimise the scratching. BUT, Thomas is one of those (many, I’m sure) children who goes a bit hyper on it. No drowsiness or extra sleeping for our already-insomniac child. He was literally bouncing off the walls. A hyper-manic version of his already manic self. So we had to make a trade-off and the result is some pretty raw scratching, despite the liberal applications of various topical remedies. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve uttered the phrase “stop scratching!” Also, and he’ll probably hate me as an adult for sharing this one, he’s suffered from A LOT of spots in the pants region. It’s an area which, to be fair, he has trouble leaving alone at the best of times. But this has made it worse. And potty visits have caused quite a few tears too, which is quite distressing.

The very hardest part, however, has been keeping him occupied without leaving the house. Especially once the initial “quiet” phase passed, he’s been his usual intensive, demanding self. Finding activities to keep him happy, and trying to make him understand why the park, library and other trips out are all off limits has been a challenge. Add to that the fact that he’s really struggled to sleep – yes, more than usual – so we’ve had many extra hours to fill each day. Saturday night saw me watching Finding Nemo at 3am, and Sunday night was Toy Story 2 at 2am!

Of course I’m grateful, though, that this is not a serious thing for him. It is temporary and will pass soon with no lasting effects. The amount of suffering has been pretty minimal when I put it in perspective. I’m just really, really looking forward to getting back out of the house and resuming normal summer activities soon!

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