Friday, February 21, 2014
Rant #1,349: Mumps To You
One of the biggest current news stories in my neck of the woods is that there is a mumps outbreak at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. It has spread to two campuses of the New York City-based college.
Mumps, a glandular disease that gives the carrier swollen features among other problems, is briefly debilitating, but rarely a deadly disease.
However, it is one of those things that you thought had gone away and wouldn't return.
Many people had mumps when they were kids.
I didn't, but when I look back, it is pretty amazing that I never got it.
I remember in second grade, in the new development that my family moved to, Rochdale Village in Queens, New York, most of my friends got hit with it.
Mostly boys got hit if I recall.
I remember that at one point, I was maybe one of two of three boys who were in my class at the time. All the other boys, maybe 10 or 12 others, got it at the same time.
It didn't last, though, and probably within a week, everyone was back to school, and that was the end of that.
You hear about mumps every few years. It doesn't thoroughly go away, and it seems to come back in cycles.
There is a vaccine for it, but since one rarely hears about it, I wonder how many people actually get vaccinated against it.
And if the vaccination actually works. Evidently, even if you are vaccinated, you can get the disease.
Hitting an "older" crowd this time, you have to wonder, how is it spreading like it is?
I think one of the ways to transmit it is through saliva. Who knows what those college kids are doing, but what about when we were younger and little kids of six and seven and eight years old were getting the disease--were they transmitting it through saliva too?
These things are just in the air, and they strike when the time is right, and evidently, the time is right right now. The idea is to contain it, so it doesn't get past the Fordham gates, I guess, and into the general population.
I have not been immune to such diseases.
I had the measles when I was about maybe a little over one, or maybe two years old. We lived in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, then, and I got hit bad as a very little kid.
One of the first memories I have of my life is being quarantined in the house when I had it. I could not go outside, could not do much of anything.
In those days, back in 1958 or 1959, you could die of that disease, so I had to be holed up, away from anybody, so it wouldn't spread.
The only good thing is that my parents had had it when they were kids, or at least my mother had it, and once you have it, you don't get it again, so she could care for me.
I seem to remember that my mother's mother, my grandmother, also had had it, and she was around to help out when I was down and out.
I think my father had had it as a kid, too, and with my sister coming right around the corner, every precaution had to be taken.
I don't think anyone ever found out how I got it, because no one else had it, if I recall.
Then, as an adult, maybe 13 years ago or so, I got chicken pox. This one we know how I got it--my daughter and son--unbeknownst to my wife and I--had forms of it while on vacation, but they weren't sick and didn't show too many outward signs of the disease or any malady. I picked it up from them.
When you are an adult, and a male adult, it can be deadly to have chicken pox. Happily, mine was centered on the upper portion of my body--from the chest area on up--and I managed to just miss maybe a week or 10 days of work due to it.
When I came back, even though I wasn't contagious and was basically done with it, I still had some pock marks on my face, and people wouldn't go near me.
So now we have mumps, and happily, I can stay as far away from the Fordham campus as possible, so I hopefully won't ever get this. And neither will my family.
And hopefully, it will stay centered at Fordham, and not creep out to the general population.
If it does, I just hope it goes away on its own, as it is wont to do, because that is a guest that nobody wants to welcome into their lives.
Speak to you again on Mumpsday ... err, Monday.
Posted by Larry at 2:32 AM