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The fear of chicken pox: Mother’s worries about her vulnerable child getting the illness

PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 July 2018

Chicken pox. Picture: Supplied by Vicki Cockerill

Chicken pox. Picture: Supplied by Vicki Cockerill

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In her latest column on parenting issues VICKI COCKERILL, from Dereham, talks about chicken pox and CHD.

I don’t know why I always feared Elijah getting chicken pox.

It was fear of the unknown like many “normal” childhood illnesses when you have an ill child.

How would he cope with it? How will it affect his heart? What can I do to prevent it?

So far, in nearly 4 years we have gotten off pretty lightly on the illness front.

We had a couple of bronchiolitis admissions pre op but other than the odd mild cough or cold we hadn’t even had a sickness bug.

Until now.

Chicken pox had gone round before and I have looked into getting him the vaccine. Everyone I spoke to didn’t really have much information on it and I would wrestle with the risk for him to get it and build up his immunity. I read numerous online threads regarding chicken pox and CHD.

I had been meaning to call the doc for ages about getting it but of course time gets away, it moves further down the list and then as of last Sunday our decision was made for us.

I knew he was in with a high chance of getting it when he attended nursery and some of his friends had been sent home. Over the next few days he was more emotional than usual and falling asleep early which wasn’t like him.

As he was getting dressed the tell tale blister spots were over his neck, chest and groin. He was in high spirits but I went into over drive fearing the worse and putting my partner on standby at work should we have to make a dash for hospital.

Over the course of the next few days I was right to be worried Elijah went downhill and began to get spots in his eyes, between his toes, scalp and even the inside of his hands. You name it there was a spot there. He didn’t sleep for days but was really good not itching them and did everything we told him to. Night after night for a week he was screaming out in pain.

I was concerned that he still seemed really bad a good four or five days and he was beginning to get very lethargic. I noticed his breathing was getting slightly heavier so called 111 who advised us to get him seen by a doctor.

The doctor gave us the okay to come home after his examination and said his heart sounded fine he was hopeful that it was finally breaking up despite it being a prolific case. He was very understanding and mindful that I was a heart parent. That by far was the worst day and finally nearly 8 days later Elijah began to feel like himself again and even managed a small trip out to Dereham Carnival!

Every parent worries about their child getting ill but when you have a child who is so susceptible you fear even more. I get a familiar knot in my stomach and I am poised in a fight or flight mode as soon as a possible risk comes our way.

Looking back I wish I had got him vaccinated and pushed a bit more, as I think it was unnecessary suffering for him to go through when he didn’t need to.

In America it is actually compulsory for every child to be offered this vaccine. I know there is a lot of debate regarding vaccines for my personal experience if I can prevent or stop my child who is at risk from going through something unavoidable then it is my job to do everything in my power to arrange this.

Not long ago chicken pox was something people would get and the other children nearby would be told to go round so they could catch it to get it out of the way. Now a days we are in quarantine until the spots are scabbed over and it has been over five days it’s funny how times change and how are reactions as parents change to these things.

My fears, my reactions are on a different level to a healthy child and the focus of everything is Elijah’s heart condition and how we can keep him as safe and as healthy as we can without stopping him for leading a ‘normal’ life.

Now, I get to experience chicken pox with a ‘healthy’ child as 10 days later my one year old son now has it!

Perfect timing in this heat don’t you agree?!

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