Monday, June 9, 2008

Pox in Socks

Perhaps I deserved it. Maybe it was those bearded ladies who wished this upon me (I never considered the fact that they might be witches, or that they'd even know my lambaste against them existed, but it just goes to show, you can't underestimate the will of a woman who carefully grooms out her facial follicles.)

Then again, it may have just been that I have a 2-year-old who picks up these filthy little diseases in her daily routine of being a 2-year-old, and this particular virus, which only crops up in May and November, can only be spread through feces when there are no visible blisters, and the sweet little angel of mine decided to crap in the tub
, something she hasn't done since she was two weeks old, during her most contagious state, unbeknownst to my wife and I because her only symptom was a short-lived fever.

Or it could have been the bearded witches. F- them, anyway.

Whatever the cause, I was stricken last week with hand, foot and mouth disease.

For the uninitiated, there was no livestock involved - this is not hoof and mouth disease. It's totally different. Well, the "mouth" and the "disease" part are the same, but otherwise, totally different.

It all began a good week after my daughter had spent a few hours just slightly off her game. My wife and I both felt like shit on a Thursday night, crawled into bed around 9pm and didn't wake up 'til 10 the next morning. I dragged my flu-feeling ass into work, but complained to anyone who would stand close enough to listen and scooted out early.

The next night, my wife said that swallowing felt like daggers going down her throat. Now I'm no doctor, but I looked at her throat, and unless daggers look like little blistery white sores all over her tongue, these were no daggers.

As my wife is prone to do, she went to the Internet for a diagnosis. The conclusion: tongue cancer. It just so happened that I discovered red sores near my big toe around the same time and I thought I had a bad case of athlete's foot. Neither the tongue cancer nor the athlete's foot seemed too related to our mutual fevers just 24 hours earlier, but the dueling diagnoses seemed right at the moment and we went to sleep.

The next day, a Sunday, I was working at a remote location with about five people from my office and an extra 20-30 people I had never met before. Before my very eyes, about 30 blisters popped up across my hands. With no cell coverage and no Internet access and a bunch of folks who probably didn't want to know that someone in their vicinity had blisters inexplicably popping up all over their hands, I came to the conclusion that I must have the dreaded hand, foot and mouth disease I had only just heard about last November when the toddler circuit spread it last.

The athlete's feet I noticed the night before was now consuming my thoughts, with the feeling spreading across all my toes, but well disguised in both socks and shoes. The only thing that took my mind off them were the blisters that continued to surface on my palms in plain view of anyone looking. As the day concluded, several handshakes were offered up to me, and not wanting to explain my predicament, I simply accepted and silently wished them the best.

That night, my wife and I practiced medicine some more by searching HF&M online. Seems we had a textbook case (all except for the part about not being kids) and we were politely asked by everyone we knew to stay home until all signs passed.

It was a long week of feeling perfectly fine, but being so contagious we were quarantined to our own little family of filth. The blisters did not go away gradually and I soon wondered, would these be with me forever. I love my family, but I was worried I wouldn't last alone with them for much longer.

And then they all just disappeared. Except for the two big ones (one pictured above). Those popped and scabbed over, just like the Internet told us they would. So here I am, back at work and feeling perfectly hand, foot and mouth free.

Anyone want to share a soda?

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