Sunday, May 1, 2016

Illness Updates

Quick Update on the Spots Situation at our house:

Coco had fever on Saturday, fussy Sunday, spots on Monday. By Tuesday, she was feeling better and past the point of contagion, so she was back at school with a terrible looking spotty face.

On Monday morning, Zuzu had already left for school with David when Coco woke up and I saw her spots. We called Zuzu's school to let them know Coco had HFM and Zuzu might be contagious, but we weren't sure. I kind of expected them to have us come get Zuzu right away. But Zuzu appeared totally fine, and they just said that they'd keep an eye on her. She was great on Monday and seemed totally fine Tuesday morning as well.

Tuesday evening, David picked up Zuzu from school and she was looking kind of droopy. She came home, picked at her dinner, and when we took her temperature, she was running a fever.

David kept her home on Wednesday. Her fever didn't come back, but she was low-energy. I kept anxiously texting him from work, "Does she have sores in her mouth? Any spots yet?" Nothing popped up.

Wednesday evening, I was convinced that a red spot in the corner of her mouth was a sore. I was bracing myself for The Outbreak. I kept her home from school on Thursday.

Thursday, she had no fever, no spots, and spent a good deal of the day playing in the backyard, happily announcing to our neighbors, "I'm SICK!"

Friday she was back at school, and all seems well. So... I'm cautiously calling it and saying that HFM has made its rounds and is on its way out of our house.

(Of course, Coco woke up with a cough today, and I always think every cough is a "barking cough" so I'm fretting about that now, but I think it's entirely different.)

I'd feel much better about us being over and done with the disgusting HFM, except that my cousin's sweet little girl, Mesa, whom Zuzu played with at my parents' party last weekend, has come down with a nasty version of it. The sores are concentrated on her hands and especially her feet, which are covered with them (and painful). She barely had any contact with Coco at the party, since Coco was literally attached to me the entire time, but I guess there was enough touching/hugging among everybody that the nasty germs got transferred.

Tangentially related: I'm reading this book called Year of Wonder: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks, and I'm reading it cautiously because you know from the start that the narrator's entire famiy dies of the plague and after being overwhelmed with Sue Klebold's real-life grief, a fictional grieving mother may be too much for me to handle as Mother's Day approaches with its own triggers.

But anyway, whenever I read historical fiction that touches on disease I always marvel at the idea of living before germ theory. Can you imagine? Assuming that illness was simply the wrath of God? Or came from miasmic fumes from the cemetery? Meanwhile you do all your daily business without disposing properly of raw sewage? As a kid, I would have said that I'd love to time travel and live in the past, but now I realize that I was probably meant to exist in the time of orthodontic work, eyebrow maintenance, safety razors, and modern medicine.

Though it does NOT escape me that the great strides of modern medicine could not prevent the greatest tragedy of my life, and in some ways pregnancy still seems to be as mysterious as it was in the days of midwives and confinements. There's a lot of guesswork still going on.

Today I'm washing all the sheets and towels. I should get some sage to smudge and cleanse the house... Maybe tomorrow. For now, we're burning candles and wiping door knobs and hoping that this is the last we see of HFM. Good riddance.


  1. This is so timely! I just finished reading "The Ghost Map," which is about a cholera outbreak in London in the 1850s. Everyone thought it was caused by foul odors, but no, it was caused by people flushing waste into their drinking water. It seems so obvious now that it's hard to believe people couldn't figure it out.

    I have done quite a few interviews with doctors about stillbirth, and prenatal medicine still is really in its infancy (pardon the pun). That's partly a result of women's health not being considered a priority for most of history and partly a result of the caution/fear with which society treats pregnancy. By the time our children are having babies, I bet we'll feel like we lived through the days of the plague.

    1. I hope you're right about significant changes for the next generation!

  2. ...And also timely in that May 1st (May Day!) is apparently Beltane, the day where you smudge your house, light candles, and hang colored ribbons from your trees to cleanse the negative energy from the past year from your home. Somehow, this is the first year I've heard about it, from one of my Pagan friends. (Some people have rowdy friends, I have Pagan friends...) And... I've had these friends for years, I was engaged to a Wiccan, years ago - how did I miss this memo? Anyway. My girlfriend was telling me it would still be acceptable to do all that today, lol, since it's like the start of a season. Halfway between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.

    This random Pagan news update brought to you by a reader with too much time on her hands and who gets excited by the idea of smudging a house!

    1. I need some Pagan friends. And although I didn't get to it yesterday (dangit) I'm officially putting smudging the house on my to-do list for this week.