disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Friday, August 2, 2013

Honey, Don't play with the road kill! or, Pre-teen Cooties

When you live in a podunk town with a hospital still stuck in WWII (and it is 1990), doctors apparently are stuck in WWII also.

See, I was ten years old at the time, and stuck for a week at camp ten minutes but universes away from home, in a full-on depression because no one wanted to get near me, and my best friend gave me the bottom bunk and refused to share her gummy bears stash with me. Sure, I was the gawky, scrawny, bespectacled shy kid so I already suffered from a sort of self imposed socio-phobia, but this was worse. Way worse.

I had the plague, it seemed. Really, I kind of did. I went to camp and the first night, I felt a little itchy and figured it was mosquito bites. Years later, in 9th grade, I counted 26 'squito bites on just my legs alone, because apparently I'm some "best food I ever ate" candidate. Malaria ridden mosquitoes in Nicaragua dream of one day sucking on my sweet sweet blood. Anyways, the next day it got worse and I was covered in red itchy bumps. When I'd walk into the communal bathroom, it was like the parting of the Red Sea, tweens would smoosh themselves against the wall to allow my wide berth of cooties through, and no one would let me take a shower. For a week.

For some odd reason, I didn't go to the doctor's right away. By day five, my very dirty head hung low from shame headed home and to our podunk doctor's office.

I was diagnosed with scabies. I freaked at first, thinking it was rabies and that I'd be foaming at the mouth soon (like I needed more socially ostracizing events). The doc cleared it up for me and told me it was scabies, which he said were tiny bugs that plant eggs in your skin (true fact) and ewwww! Bugs! In your skin! OMG! He then told me that you can only get scabies from touching road kill (false) so I should stop. Road kill? Road kill! I had never touched road kill, so I was rather miffed that my doctor thought I was the type to play with pancake-shaped possums and tire-marked tarantulas or what have you.

"Doc, that is sooo my dad, not me", I thought. See, my dad did and still does touch road kill, and keeps it in the freezer  until he can identify it... which can take years. Nothing like reaching in for ice cream and getting a handful of dead crow. But back to my story.

Years later, I move on up in this world to a real hospital in a city, and my curiosity gets to me so I ask my new doctor about my past run-in with "scabies" and explain my symptoms and the like. He browses through my encyclopedia-thick medical file (seriously it rivals that of a 90 year old and often begets remarks, wow what a file! No wonder I seem to be the only patient still yet to get an electronic file, can you imagine having to type that all up?) and he decides it was probably not scabies, but chicken pox. I burst out, "Exactly, that's what I told my doctor but he said no one ever gets pox twice! Liar!" Because yes, you can get chicken pox twice but my doctor was stuck in WWII when it was thought you couldn't get it twice.

So remember, kids, you can get chicken pox twice, and don't touch road kill because then bugs will lay eggs in your skin. Eggs! In your skin!


  1. ACK! What is with your dad and the road kill thing?! I contracted it once from a client I was working with in wound care...man it was horrific... and took for-freaking-ever to get rid of! Kids can be brutal I cant imangine how awful that had to be!

  2. It sounds suspiciously to me like you were playing with the chicken who tried to cross the road but didn't make it to the other side. Well, that's my diagnosis, anyway...

    btw, working in a variety of healthcare clinics, I recently had to go have the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine done well into adulthood - because they no longer accept self-declaration of chicken pox as being sufficient either. (just when you think you've overcome those demeaning childhood experiences...)

  3. Wow, can't believe I never heard this story!

  4. And when you think of how many bacteria and other tiny organisms are living in our bodies RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT you can forget about ever retaining your sanity!

  5. Well, I'm glad you didn't have scabies. That gives me the heebie jeebies.

  6. Misdiagnosed! But chicken pox twice stinks...I had shingles this year. That stinks too. I hope getting chicken pox twice exempts you from that at least!