My Children, The Lepers

My best friend’s husband likes to joke that my family is like Typhoid Mary. We seem to always be the ones  spreading illness to his clan. If it’s a cold, one of his kids will get the sniffles. If one of my kids has strep throat, his kids will get a sore throat. And so on, and so on.

The day after my youngest’s 18 month check up, I mentioned to my best friend that my son had this weird diaper rash. It was these little pimple looking things all over his little butt. It looked like when he had a Staph Infection as an infant. She then showed me her youngest’s similar looking rash on his shoulder. They looked somewhat alike. The next day, I was back again at her house. So was the rash. But it was worse. My toddler’s butt was now plagued with red, raised bumps. Some were blistered. Some had burst. We let him run around naked from the waist down to try to air it out. Looking back on it, this was one easy way to spread germs all over her house!

Later that day, I called the doctor and described the rash. They said they’d call me back. In the meantime, our other friend came over with her three kids. Mind you, we now have nine kids under one roof. Nine potential petri dishes of bacteria… Our other friend looked at the rash and said she was pretty sure it was hand, foot and mouth disease. Sure enough, a few minutes later the doctor’s office called back, asked me a few more questions, and tada… hand, foot and mouth disease. For those of you not familiar with this nasty little bug: it’s a virus, not a disease. It leaves blisters on kids’ hands, feet, and you guessed it, in their mouths. Oh, and the doctor warned… it’s very contagious. Great.

My five-year old has it now. He says it doesn’t hurt on his hands or feet, just in his mouth. We’re on day eight. We’ve also managed to spread it to my sister in law’s kids. Lovely. And, my best friend appears to have gotten it.

Aside from placing bells around our necks and heading to a leprosy village, my children have become, for all intents and purposes, lepers. Before we go anywhere, I have to send advanced warning: “By the way, my kids have hand, foot and mouth disease. Oh, really, it’s not as bad as it sounds.”

In the last few days, I’ve analyzed about every surface my children may have touched. The grocery store. The chiropractor’s office. The Chuck E Cheese, which, come on now, is likely covered in worse things than this. The men’s room at the Fort Richardson gate (my five-year old had to go and couldn’t hold it.)

If you see little blisters forming on you or your kids, I’m sorry. It’s probably from us. Hey, it could be worse. It could actually be Typhoid. Or leprosy. And, at least with this, nothing falls off.



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