Angelina Jolie and I have something in common. Would that it was a home address, I am afraid that’s not to be, at least not in this lifetime.
No, it’s something far more mundane. We both had chickenpox as an adult. For me, it was quite the surprise.
My mom had told me that I probably had them as a child. That statement might sound strange, given the fact that you’d expect a mother to remember something so important, but you must keep this in mind: I was the fifth of five boys.
You know how it is, baby number one has umpteen zillion pictures and home movies; his every milestone is noted and celebrated. Number two, not so much. Three, eh, you notice what you can. By four, they’re hardly a blip on the old “Family Radar” and by number five, you’re lucky to get a quarter the morning after from the Tooth Fairy. Perhaps I should say from the Tooth Fairy’s assistant, mother dear. Yeah, belief in good old Tooth Fairy fell by the wayside real fast for me!
Anyway, back to the matter at hand: chickenpox. Yes, I had chickenpox as an adult. My doctor and wife were both a bit concerned about that. I still remember meeting him at his office, in the parking lot, as he did not want me to come inside because I might infect others.
The physician was practically in a biohazard suit! You get them as a kid and, like so many other childhood diseases, no big deal. As an adult, well, chickenpox can kill.
We had a friend who lost her husband to them. They went to his heart, and that was it. The mumps aren’t so lethal, but they can leave a man sterile, which, to some men, can be just as bad!
The thing is this: she’s not the only adult waylaid by a childhood disease. Recently, I heard about a group of professional hockey players who all came down with the mumps. This is not good.
Then there’s Whooping Cough. There’s a mini-epidemic of that going on out in California. I was very surprised by this, as I thought such diseases had fallen by the wayside, given the state of our immunization and vaccination programs. Especially the latter; I hadn’t heard of a case of Whooping Cough in years, maybe even decades, at least not in the United States. Even in Third World countries, such diseases are fading away.
Then I remembered, life is not hunky-dory in the Land of Modern Medicine. As with just about every other aspect of science today, detractors refuse to accept facts. Those who deny Global Climate Change may imperil our future, but those who believe immunizations are bad for us endanger the public health. Now, please understand, I accept that some people have negative – even severe allergic reactions to vaccinations. There is not enough scientific data to support the belief such medications cause birth defects, autism or any other malady. Parents that refuse to allow their children protection from the diseases of childhood are not only doing a disservice to their children, they are also endangering the public.
For my family and myself, I’m glad we had those shots and liquids to drink. I am deathly afraid of needles, but I put up with them in order to stay healthy. I hope my daughter will do the same with her children someday, and I hope those around her will too. Getting the chickenpox and mumps is bad enough, getting them as an adult really sucks. Come on, people, let’s all do our part to stops such things, especially when it’s so easy to do. Angie and I would appreciate it.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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