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01/12/2006 - 5:16 p.m.

DARN CHICKENPOX VIRUS

Today’s more than five hour drive was long and uneventful. When the girls were little, I used to look forward to an occasional overnight road trip where I could be responsible for only myself. Now that Kat is at college and Day is rarely home, a road trip is just that: a road trip. The drives are long, tiring, and boring, the motels are all very much alike, and I have faced the fact that I will not be taking a long bath with bath salts. I hate long baths with bath salts. It was the thought of long baths with bath salts, the idea of the luxury, that kept that dream alive. Now, I’d just rather be home. Actually, in some ways, I’d rather be in Galesburg.

Poor Kat, you see, is sick. Today’s drive was punctuated, mainly in commas, with cell phone calls. Back in the old days, any necessary calls (and my definition of necessary calls was narrower then) were made from rest stop pay phones (which worked because FogieKnight’s office had a Watts line then) or from the motel itself. I was less in touch and I cared about it less. But today I spent many of my morning stops talking to FogieKnight or trying to reach Kat for an update. Poor Kat had a doctor’s appointment and the doctor confirmed what I suspected. Poor Kat has shingles.

So I drove feeling I was in the wrong place. The mother part of me wants to help Kat out. The more rational part of me notes that FogieKnight is generally a better nurse for a sick Kat and, besides, Kat does not really need me or, at the very least, wants to do this one on her own with the help of her good friends.

I remembered the little girl with long, almost-white hair in long braids. In August of 1992, before the days of chickenpox vaccines, Kat had the chickenpox. Boy, did Kat have the chickenpox. She ran a high fever and the pox were all over her scalp and in every nook and cranny of her body. To this day, she has a small scar on her face from one of those pox. They attacked her. They took over. Kat had enough misery from those pox to last a lifetime. Nature then added insult to injury when Day caught chickenpox. Kat had to watch Day practically laugh her way through the chickenpox. Day had no fever (or at least not much) and very few chickenpox. Day thought the whole thing was funny and was so well that we were able, without very much guilt, to leave her in the care of her grandparents for a night while FogieKnight and I slipped off for a childless night.

So one would think that the chickenpox virus has beaten up enough on the poor child. But one would be incorrect. It’s baaaacckkk! Darn chickenpox virus anyway, whatever form it takes!

And all I have to offer is health insurance, information on how to use our drug benefits card, and sympathy.

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