An Adult With Chicken Pox: Stages of Grief
It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We were expecting 18 for dinner.
- •Denial: I have stress zitsI noticed in the shower that I had four or five zits on my scalp. Wow, I thought. I must be really stressed out.
- •More Denial: I have hivesThe "zits" started to appear on my face and neck. I reclassified them as hives and vowed to relax more deeply.
- •Still More Denial: I need medical relief for my hives.I went to the urgent care center. Several people took turns coming in and staring at my hives. "I guess take Benedryl?" said the last one. (My SIL, who is a doctor, told me I had to forgive them. "No one sees adults with chicken pox anymore.")
- •The Pinnacle of Denial: I must go to the ER at 3 in the morning to get relief from my hivesI didn't itch, but it felt like every nerve in my body wanted to leap out of my skin. I couldn't sleep. I wanted to run around the block for relief. Finally, at 3 am, I announced that I was driving myself to the ER. My husband did not try to stop me.
- •Anger: The Admitting Nurse tells me I have chicken pox. She is clearly an idiot.So what if I had started to itch like crazy. I don't care about the picture of chicken pox you've Googled to show me. I did not drive over here at 3 in the morning to be diagnosed by the admitting nurse. You will show me to a doctor.
- •Shock: The ER doctor tells me I have chicken pox. I am speechless.The admitting nurse wouldn't even let me in the ER. "There are sick people in there!" She puts me in a weird medical cube and makes the doctor come to me. He takes one look at me and says "yep, you have chicken pox." He then DRAWS ME A PICTURE of the "classic tear drop on a rose petal." As if I do not have thousands of these examples now all over my body. Thank you for the drawing.
- •Hysteria: Upon returning home at 4 am, I announce that I have chicken pox. We collapse upon the kitchen floor in hysterics.We have over $200 worth of food in the refrigerator. He has polished the silver. There are borrowed chairs and china in the basement.
- •More Denial: I cook half the meal.Powerful drugs plus adrenaline kick in. I make all of the sides that can be made ahead. I cook for hours before collapsing in the bed.
- •Bargaining: Everyone cancels.I was the only one who hadn't had the pox or been vaccinated. I thought the non-elderly or ones with adult children would come and help my poor husband. Then I thought they would move it to someone else's house. All but my BIL agree to come. I am livid.
- •Depression: I look like this.
- •Acceptance: Scab shedding is secretly fun.It's like the end of a thousand zits. Which is how this all began. And now I can look forward to shingles with the rest of you people.