Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chicken. Pox.

I visited my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmother in Polomolok yesterday. The town, a 45-minute bus ride from Koronadal, still possesses some vestiges of American colonialism: the pine trees, the neat roads, the vast Dole pineapple plantation. The place is also cooler, owing to its higher elevation; Polomolok is at the foot of Mt. Matutum.


I was shocked to see my nephew, Jared, with crusting and vesicular lesions all over his body. The classic  dew-drops-on-a-rose-bud appearance. Varicella. I panicked. I could never recall having chickenpox in my childhood, and my parents are not too sure if I had been vaccinated. I could not afford to have those scars grow on my nose.

I remember this one time when my brother, Ralph, and I we were riding a public jeepney. He was laughing like crazy. I could not understand what the hilarity was all about, until he said, "Look!" I turned my head to the person beside me. That person had chickenpox. I froze to death. Thankfully I never grew those lesions.

I'm waiting for the first few vesicles to crop up any moment tomorrow before I get a prescription of acyclovir from a doctor. Acyclovir will hopefully interfere with viral replication, so I don't have to experience full-blown viremia. I'm still hoping that at some point in my life, I had been vaccinated or that my exposure hasn't been enough to cause an infection—but who am I kidding? I stayed there overnight.

Meantime, I'm feeling itchy all over, all of them wretchedly psychogenic. One thing I learned, though, is that I can actually will myself to itch: I just think of the my nephew, Jared, and suddenly, I feel like a thousand mosquitoes are preying on me.



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