Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Pox

I was on call today. At my current hospital, this means that I work from 7A to about midnight and take care of some of the new patients that join our team. ("Join our team" has an interesting but not so inappropriate second meaning...Someone remind me to explore that later.) On the bus ride home, I realized my two charges have an interesting connection: Varicella.

Varicella is the virus that causes chicken pox. My first patient came in for an inflammatory disease, and because of his parents' beliefs about immunization, had not received any vaccines. He got the chicken pox as a toddler and then a few months later, shingles. Ouch. My second patient was a baby who got the chicken pox from a teenage sibling. The child in between (age 5) had been vaccinated and had no symptoms. My patient is 7 months old - too young for varicella vaccination.

I will refrain from comments about vaccination here, since my impression of the chicken pox is that it's a harmless disease. I will say the chances are good the facts are at odds with my sentimental 'when I was a kid' perspective.

Two kids: one from the northern and western hemispheres; the other from the southern and eastern hemispheres. Both in Seattle. With important chicken pox stories. On the same floor. Three doors down. Under my care.


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