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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, July 19

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Andrew Huff / November 7, 2011 3:45 PM

Inspired by the apparent new trend among the anti-vaccination crowd: mailing infected lollipops, clothes and even spit to each other in order to infect their children so they get "natural" immunity instead of having the vaccine.

I got chicken pox from a friend four weeks before the end of third grade, and missed two weeks of school; my brother caught it from me just as I was getting better, so he missed that next two weeks. A perfect end of the school year.

Monica Reida / November 7, 2011 3:52 PM

I was vaccinated, but got the chicken pox when I was seven from my sister, who got it from a friend, who got it from a friend. It was in winter.

Oh, anti-vaccinators, you always seem to be the source of outbreaks of rare childhood diseases. I can't wait until you bring back polio.

Cinnamon / November 7, 2011 4:03 PM

Even though we all went to separate schools, myself and 2 cousins came down with the pox at the same time. Since my father and another cousin's father hadn't had it before, we ended up living with the other cousin who's parents had both had it while we healed. I remember taking a lot of paths and drawing constellations on each other's backs in marker. It was a great week even though we were all sick. I'm sure my aunt remembers the week very differently.

Texas T / November 8, 2011 10:09 AM

I was fresh out of 5th grade when I went to stay a couple weeks at my grandparents house. I had been hanging out with my older cousin who all of a sudden got sick: Chickenpox! Since I had never had it, I went ahead and spent time with my sick cousin playing Nintendo, not really worried since he seemed fine, just spotty.

Once I arrived back at my house the next week, I was hit pretty hard with it. Fevers and hallucinations! I felt like I was covered head to toe with the darn spots. Summertime in Phoenix with the chickenpox wasn't very fun, although once I was done with the contagious stage, the swimming pools were refreshing. I can still see a few scars 20 years later.

Charles / November 8, 2011 10:48 AM

Got them when I was a kid. I was very young and can't remember the circumstances. If my mom told me to lick a lollipop that would give me chicken pox or other illnesses, I would run away. It seems just a tad "Linda Hamilton" of Terminator fame.

Marie / November 8, 2011 11:05 AM

I got them in my twenties. It was absolute torture - the maddening pain and itching, night and day. I would have given up state secrets for some relief. I think we forget how bad it was, and discount kids' feelings. If someone told me they were going to subject me to that horror for my own good, I'd threaten them with bodily harm.

Spook / November 8, 2011 11:32 AM

Pox Party? Sounds like some dumb Brady Bunch Sh*t yo.

But oohhhhh, I DO remember the extreme so real illusions in the form of the repeated daily visits I received from a single expanding dark grey bolder. Each visit it slowly grew in the air before me from a tiny pebble. Because I could both taste and feel it, I was therefore responsible for all the damage arising from this unwanted symbiotic relationship caused when it started to vibrate before me in my sick bed that shook our our whole tenement like a 8.0 earth quake, destroying the whole block. I could see all the damage during and after. Even today I still have strange perceptions and sensations(all minor) and still can taste and sense that boulder. I mean not that much, really.

JenniferG / November 8, 2011 11:36 AM

My sister got the chicken pox first - we were staying at my Grandparents' house and Grandma thought they were spider bites. I got them shortly after - I think I was six.

My sister's neighbor sent her kid out to play while contagious and the whole neighborhood got them. My younger nephew was only 10 months old. It was quite pathetic. The neighbor thought she was doing everyone a favor by exposing their kids. Pretty thoughtless.

Mike / November 8, 2011 11:38 AM

11:32 a.m. and already drunk/stoned. I'm impressed Spook/Eric.

I had the pox in 9th grade. It started on my scalp. My Mom made me go to school the first day when we weren't sure what it was and I gave it to a bunch of people -- one kid had it really bad. Mine was so mild that I'm afraid I'll get it again in adulthood. I've heard it's horriffic as an adult.

Cheryl / November 8, 2011 12:12 PM

I was not quite 2 years old and one of my very earliest memories is waking up in a cage. Which wasn't really a cage, it was a hospital baby bed. My mother tried to make me get the mumps later on, when both of my brothers came down with them, but it didn't take.

Lisa / November 8, 2011 12:22 PM

I can't really remember how old I was, maybe 4? All I remember from the whole ordeal was my mom making me take oatmeal baths to calm down the itching. But I totally remember getting my tonsils out when I was six. Talk about something horrible. Gah.

Meems / November 8, 2011 1:11 PM

I think I was 7 or 8, and my cousins gave it to me when they were visitng from Buffalo. It wasn't bad at all. I wish I hallucinated. I have one pox scar on my forehead that took me like 20 years to get over.I'm also afraid I'll get shingles or something when I'm older.

LaShawn Williams / November 8, 2011 1:43 PM

I was 25 when I had 'em--HORRIBLE, MISERABLE time for me; however, if you're looking for a quick way to shed 10 lbs. real quick... ;-)

Baldeesh / November 8, 2011 4:23 PM

I was kindergarten-ish age. I don't remember it being that bad, but the doctor gave me bubble-gum flavored medicine, which I liked a lot.

Then I gave it to my sister, who was, like, 2. Hers was worse than mine.

Fast forward about 10 years, I now have 2 more sisters. One of them got the pox, but it wasn't bad, and we went camping anyway (I think she was mostly done with it). Her identical twin came down with it during the camping trip, and, holy shit, were her symptoms AWFUL. She was getting pox in areas I didn't know you could get pox.


The camping trip ended early, and I think my mom still feels bad about it.

Kelly / November 8, 2011 4:32 PM

I was in 4th grade, it was going around, so my mom and I kind of knew immediately what was up.

My most solid memory of the time is that first evening, because I knew what was coming and I wouldn't have to go to school for a while. Exciting! That, of course, was before all the fever, itching and scarring set in.

gee / November 8, 2011 7:11 PM

I was in third grade. I remember I was feeling ever so slightly sick so I overreacted and asked to go to the nurse's office.

( I was a weird kid who thought sitting in the nurse's office for a few minutes while she figured out there was nothing wrong with me was a fun thing to do.)

She took my temperature and noticed a couple bumps. Next thing I knew my mom showed came to pick me up.

That was two days before my birthday and and my birthday party was canceled because of the stupid chicken pox.

shechemist / November 8, 2011 9:18 PM

My parents were divorced, and my father remarried a woman who I still think uncharitable thoughts about to this day. Anyway, I came down with the chicken pox during my dad's weekend. My stepmother acted like I had small pox, making me stay in the guest bedroom, refusing to bring me food, or water, (she made my father, which is fine, but she made a production of it, as if there was something wrong with me, as opposed to me being 4 year old with fucking chicken pox) and I am sure no one gave me a dose of tylenol till my dad brought me home.

I hated the guest bedroom as it was filled with glass eyed dolls I wasn’t allowed to play with, and a hippity hop. When I had the chicken pox I thought the dolls and the hippity hop were breathing, but I wasn’t allowed to leave the room. It was awful.

I have kids, they all received the vaccine.

Lori / November 8, 2011 10:17 PM

I am reading a lot of stories about peoples experiences with CP when they were kids, and I have my own memory of having it as a little kid, but not many comments are from people who have kids now. when we were kids, we got sick, our parents took care of us and not a lot of fuss was made over it. It is a very different climate now.

my oldest child was about 6 right around the time that the Chicken Pox vax was beginning to being pushed to parents. my (level headed and non invasive) pediatrician gave me this advice (advice that I'm certain she would not be allowed to give now): if she (daughter) doesn't get it by the time she's 12, give her the vax. so we waited.

My kids caught the chicken pox 6 years ago. My middle child (then 6) came down with them while we were away for a weekend. I had people bring their kids around, wanting him to lick spoons and so on. he was pretty sick, we went home and stayed away from others. my other two caught them in sucession, the little one (then 3) got about 4 spots and was up running around after a day or two of a mild fever, but my oldest child (10 at the time) was sickest, for about 2 weeks with severe achiness, fever and general malaise.

No one who willingly exposed their kids to mine came down with the chicken pox. Personally I would not expose my kids to an illness like this intentionally, particulary if the child is older because the older you are the worse it is, but I understand why others do so.

my pediatrician said the best kind of pox to get, the thing that gives you the strongest immunity is wild-caught. we don't know where we got it from (the Jewel? the CTA?), and as far as I know we didn't pass it on to anyone that we knew, intentionally or otherwise. Again, I'm certain my pediatrician would sing a totally different tune now.

look, we all had it as kids. but when the big push to vaccinate against it started there were suddenly all of these posters up in dr.s offices talking about how kids COULD DIE!!! from it, and basically implying that anyone who didn't vax their kids against it was committing child abuse and a crime against humanity.


I am not saying that all vaccinations are bad, obviously many are vital and lifesaving. but don't take every single thing you (and your Dr) are sold by the big pharms as truth. Do your own research. Trust your instincts as a parent.

Mucky Fingers / November 9, 2011 9:48 AM

My brother, my sister and I all caught it sometime during grade school. We spent three days at home with my mother, who was able to take off work to care for us. I remember her dabbing all of us with cotton balls coated in Caladryl, and I remember she was strict about each of us taking a two baths every day.

I don't remember any sort of great pain. I just remember how it felt weird to be absent from school and spend all day at home in pajamas watching television with my brother, sister and mother.

mary s. / November 10, 2011 11:47 AM

i got chicken pox in 7th grade. when i got them, my childhood friend came over and got them as well! it was great to miss school, but ill-timed as it was that very awkward time of life. i still have some scars from scratching/picking...

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