Things chickenpox taught me about life

I once read that chickenpox is a “mild” illness. Whoever said that lie is now burning in hell.

I caught the diabolical virus three weeks ago. Or rather, maybe three weeks before that. It is said that the virus — called varicella zoster — has an incubation period. Meaning, once its symptoms start appearing, it must have been 10 to 21 days since you were infected — either by inhaling droplets from a chickenpox patient’s breath or touching the patient’s lesions or scabs (yuck).

So there I was, bedridden and consumed by ugly, itchy, and painful (when touched) blisters all over my body. I also had fever at night. My appetite was gone, and all I could eat was rice porridge with diced carrots — so my throat wouldn’t hurt so much when I swallowed. I had never felt so sick in my life.

But the experience taught me precious lessons about life.

Patience is the virtue of the patient. If you get sick, you have to be patient and wait for your meds to take effect. There were days (and sleepless nights) I spent begging the blisters to dry up and stop being itchy. But I had to wait at least five days before they did so.

My bout with chickenpox also showed me a glimpse of death. Looking at the rashes and blisters, I imagined maggots breaking out of them and twerking all over my torso. What echoed in my mind was, “Remember you are dust, and to dust shall you return.” Waaaah!

And, last but not least, getting sick can make you grateful for everything that remains good in the world. I was suddenly thankful for air and water. For the household caretaker, who cooked my rice porridge and ran errands for me. For Spotify, which kept me tuned into Mozart and jazz. And for friends and family who checked on me and helped me steer my attention away from my deteriorating state (including the mother of all blisters, the humongous bulla above my navel).

Those were the lessons, and thank God I passed the test.


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