My youngest son overheard a conversation I had with a friend about the Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine. He didn't much like what he heard. We were discussing the CDC recommendation for a second dose of vaccine - and the probability that further boosters would be needed for those who had been immunized. He was immunized at age 6. Late for the current recommendations, but I had waited until his pediatrician was willing to enthusiastically recommend it. When he immunized his grandchildren, we chose to immunize our son.
A few days after that conversation, my son learned that a friend's younger brother and sister had just come down with chicken pox. We had an extended discussion about the risks of chicken pox at age 13 vs as a young (or not so young) adult. We discussed the symptoms he might experience and the one potential benefit of actually contracting the disease instead of getting the booster. He's never been a weenie about needles, so I'm pretty sure his decision was based on his awareness the longer immunity he would likely receive if he caught chicken pox. I was very careful not to pressure him one way or the other, although I did tell him that he was rapidly approaching an age where the risks of the illness would significantly outweigh the benefit of longer term immunity.
After checking with the mother of the poxed children, we stopped in for a 45 minute visit. That started the countdown. About day 3, he started having symptoms. I was able to convince him that it was far too early and that the chances of contracting chicken pox weren't nearly 100%.
I did forget to give him my statistics lecture in which I say that statistics only apply to populations and that for him this will be 100% or 0.
Today was day 14. He has been complaining of a mild headache and scratchy throat since yesterday. He had found something he thought was a tick on the top of his head. Visualizing it through his incredibly thick hair was tough, but I managed. Definitely not a tick. It was a tiny red bump that looked like he'd scratched it. He suggested that maybe it was a chicken pox lesion. I countered with the suggestion that he ought to have others on his torso if that was the case. So he took off his shirt. There they were. About a half dozen red bumps on his chest and another 10 or 12 on his back. If he's lucky, that's all we'll find, but if this is chicken pox (and they do look like chicken pox), he can keep popping out with them for the next few days.
The incubation period for Chicken Pox is 10-21 days, but the average really is 14-16, so he's right on time. Now I need to figure out who to notify among the many people he's been around for the last few days.
They were desperately short of altar servers for the First Communion services at our church on Saturday. He was the only altar server at 2 of the 3 services - took a break during the third. He was also assigned to serve at the 9 am Mass Sunday morning. He was fine then, so he did that too. AND he went to Sunday School -- without complaining at all. He even went to his karate class before we dropped him off at a friend's house so we could go to our Boy Scout Troop committee meeting. Fortunately, same friend where he was exposed to Chicken Pox.
If you hear about a major chicken pox outbreak in the Mid Atlantic states, that will be our fault.