Saturday, May 9, 2015

Having The Mumps

I don't know what in the world made me think of it today, but when I was in eighth grade I had the mumps.  It spread like wildfire through my class that year so I wasn't the only one to suffer.  But, oh my, suffer I did.

Mumps is a viral disease and is extremely contagious.  The virus is easily spread via respiratory secretions (saliva).  Coughing or sneezing, touching one's nose or mouth, eating or drinking from the same receptacles or kissing can spread the virus.  In my eighth grade class of teeny-boppers, of course there was a lot of kidding, teasing, and giggling going on about the "kissing."

It's no wonder so many of us were out of school with the mumps.  A person who contracts the virus is contagious for six days before symptoms start to show and nine days after they start.

What are the symptoms?  Swelling of the salivary glands on one or both sides of the face giving a "hamster-like" look to anyone unlucky enough to contract the disease.  

I got them on both sides of my face.  I can still remember how miserable I was.  My face was swollen to a gargantuan size, and I was nearly unrecognizable.  The swelling was accompanied by pain which increased when I tried to eat or drink.  Lying on my back caused the swelling to feel as if my ears were being ripped off.  Sitting or standing caused gravity to make my "pouches" feel as if they had ten pound weights in them.  I couldn't lie on either side because anything touching the glands was painful.

The physical pain added to the severe angst of missing out on two whole weeks of school (my social life!) made me one very unhappy camper.

My mom and dad both worked during the day so my grandma was in charge of my care.  I spent days slumped on the couch feeling so weak all I could do was moan and groan.  I can remember watching a lot of Grandma's daily TV programs through my bleary eyes.  (I may never be able to forget "Queen for a Day" where the woman with the biggest, sorriest sob story had a wish granted.)  Grandma made me gargle with warm salt water three times a day which did not feel good and take aspirin for the pain which always got stuck in my throat because it was hard for me to swallow.

She did her best to minimize the pain of the weight of my swollen glands by putting a folded white tea towel under my chin, up along each side of my face and tied on top of my head.  I then looked like a hamster with rabbit ears.  I vaguely recall seeing a picture someone took of me in that sorry state.  It would be a great addition to this post to have it to share, but I have no idea what happened to it.

Does anyone get the mumps anymore?  It certainly is rare that you hear of it these days.

Good golly, isn't it weird when such an old but vivid memory like this one pops into your head?  I'm sure there are thousands of memories from my growing up years that are gone forever, but some remain in the deep, dark recesses of my mind to surface at odd times like this one did today.

22 comments:

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I also had the mumps, and chicken pox too--It was all part of being a kid, wasn't it? Kids don't get either any more, so what do they get now that keeps them inside at home besides the internet? :-)

Susan said...

You poor kid! I don't remember mumps (which I had, too), but I do remember measles. My middle sister and I had them at the same time and were itchy and beeatchy. Well, truth be told, I was the b-chy one. It was downright miserable. (Happy Mother's Day, my friend!)

Laurie said...

I remember get mumps and chickenpox. I think it was more miserable with the chickenpox...I nearly itched to death. I'm sitting here at the beach experiencing Tropical Storm Ana and the Weather Channel is reporting snow in South Dakota. Crazy! Hope you have a great Mother's Day!

DFW said...

Yes, I had the mumps, measles & chicken pox. All in the span from 2nd grade to 4th. I think the pox was the worst for me.

Kristina said...

I was one of the kids to get a vaccine that had a bazillion needles that left a permanent scar. I do remember my younger brother getting the chicken pox.

Mark said...

I had the mumps. I had the smallpox vaccine that left the scar, too. I do remember the mumps, but don't remember chicken pox and measles even though I had them. I have some memories of getting my tonsils out. I was pretty young and the memory I have of the mumps is that someone had bought chocolate for my brothers and I ( I was the only one sick), and I tried a little bit. I remember it being VERY painful.

It funny about what bits and pieces of memories stick with you and they just seem to pop up at random.

Leigh said...

I vaguely remember having a mild case of mumps on one side (lucky me!) Chicken pox too, and that was supposed to mean I wouldn't get shingles, which I did as an adult anyway.

Angie Church said...

was lucky not to have mumps but as far as memories go it is quite strange what pops in our heads now and again
come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

I've never had the mumps or chicken pox, we were vaccinated for all that being a military brat, and having to travel all the time with my dad.

It's funny how memories like this come forward, and make it feel as if it was just yesterday.

Mama Pea said...

Kim - From my experience a LOT of kids get sick with whatever crud is going around, but they aren't kept home like they used to be. You see a lot more sick kids in the classroom these days, seems to me. Not good. :o/

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Thanks for the Mother's Day greeting. Wait 'til you see the switch plate cover my daughter made for me for my quilt room! A work of art.

Yepper, I had the measles, too, two different kinds if I remember correctly and a baaaad case of the chicken pox. Ugh.

Mama Pea said...

Laurie - Happy Mother's Day to you, too!

We are forecast a rain/snow mix for tonight and tomorrow. Unreal. Come on, Mother Nature!

Mama Pea said...

DFW - I had my chicken pox in the fourth grade. And still have the scars to prove it! They sure did itch and what ugly-bugly things they were when healing. 'Tis a wonder any of us survived childhood, isn't it?

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Yes, I got one of those multiple needle things, too. I wonder if mine didn't "take" because I have no scar and got mumps, chicken pox and measles!

Mama Pea said...

Mark - I never had my tonsils taken out. No problems there, but my brother did. He came home from the hospital on Easter Sunday and I can still picture him as a pale little 4-year old walking down the hospital steps carrying his little Easter basket he got. 'Course, he couldn't eat any of the candy in it for several days!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - I had always heard that if you did have chicken pox, the shingles virus was in you and you were more apt to get shingles as an adult. Huh. Guess we'd better bone up on our medical knowledge so we've got this straight! My hubby had a very slight case of shingles (he was so fortunate) when he was in his forties. But I do know they can be extremely painful.

Mama Pea said...

Angie Church - And often there seems to be a "trigger" that recalls a certain memory, but has nothing to do with that particular memory. Have you noticed that?

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - And then there are other things that we can't remember even if a family member does! Funny how our brain cells work. (Or DON'T work sometimes!) :o]

Carolyn said...

Well, I think I was "lucky" enough to only get a mild case of chicken pox in grade school. And got to stay home for like a week! Not sure if I was vaxxed or not, but probably was, although I didn't get one of those thousand-needle shots thankfully.

Erin said...

I'm lucky, I just missed the "scar" vaccine by about a year! The MMR vaccine that was out in the 70's when I got it was scar free… they gave it to me again when I gave birth. I wonder how many adults never get revaccinated? The vaccines don't last a lifetime.

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - Every now and then we hear of the chicken pox going around in our public school, but never the mumps anymore. Probably just as well.

Mama Pea said...

Erin - I've always wondered why that "thousand needle" vaccination left a scar? Because so many punctures were involved?