A few years ago, my family was at my sister’s home for Thanksgiving. My five year old niece, also named Gina, was not feeling well. She felt feverish and complained of a sore throat. The next day, my sister-in-law told me that Gina came down with the chickenpox and that she was itching like crazy. I felt so bad for my niece, but never did I once think that I might be next in line to get this terribly itchy viral infection. When kids get the chicken pox, it is typically self-limiting and only rarely causes complications. On the other hand, when adults get it, they tend to be sicker and have a higher rate of complications.
One day while I was at work, I started itching. The itching was most intense on my stomach area, so naturally, I wanted to look at it to see what was going on. To my surprise, I noticed a small red mark that was getting itchier by the moment. Later on, I got a few more itchy red marks on my stomach and now, my back. Since I’m a nurse, I asked one of the doctors that I work with to look at it. He told me it was chickenpox. I doubted his diagnoses because I only had a few spots, but he told me that the rash would become worse the next day. He was right, because the next morning, I had the most horrific case of chickenpox known to man. Not only was I practically itching my skin off, I was sick to boot. I was so tired and could barely raise my head up from the pillow. After a few days, I felt a little better, but not much. The doctor said that after the rash scabbed over, I would no longer be contagious. Of course I didn’t go to work, so I convalesced at home
While I was recuperating from my chickenpox, my seven year old nephew decided to visit me with his mother. Both my sister and my nephew had the chickenpox, so my sister felt it was safe for them to stop by. Since I still wasn’t 100%, I was taking a nap when they arrived. While I was napping on the couch, my nephew got the notion to color my nails with permanent magic markers which he brought with him to pass the time. He colored each of my nails with a different color marker. Three of my nails were blue, two were green, two were black, one was red, one orange and one purple. To say that I was horrified when I discovered his handiwork is an understatement. To make it worse, I had an appointment with the orthopedic doctor the next day because of a knee injury, and when the doctor came in the exam room to introduce himself and shake my hand, he looked at me like I was crazy, after catching a glimpse of my nails. I was so embarrassed to shake his hand because of my multi-colored short nails. I tried to explain what happened, thinking that he might find a shred of humor in the situation, but I could tell he wanted to get out of there as fast as he could. He examined my knee and quickly shushed me off to x-ray. Right before I left his office, I heard the doctor ask the x-ray tech, “did you see her nails?” Now, I was the one who wanted to get out of there as fast as I could.