Saturday, February 14, 2015

4012 Southern situation, and Measles

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous
than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
 --Martin Luther King, Jr. --


Well, Ex#2 was transferred to a rehab facility last Monday.  He was told it was because he's at risk for falling (true, his balance is not good) so he's there to work on that, and he accepted that.  He'll be there for two more weeks.   The place is close to home, so his sister is visiting frequently.  So far, so good.  Daughter is hoping that maybe there he'll learn how to take better care of himself, but I suspect she's hoping for too much.


When I was a kid, doctors made home visits.  Not always, sometimes you had to go to their offices, like for followup visits, but the first appointment for a new illness was often at home.  Then at some point it changed.  You had to go to the office or to the ER no matter how sick you were, drag yourself from your deathbed, call an ambulance, whatever.  People complained, but I don't remember ever hearing an explanation as to why it changed.

People just thought doctors got lazy or greedy.

Well, with the current measles mini-outbreak, I think I figured out why.  The lightbulb flash came when I read a story about a child fighting leukemia who was exposed to measles in a doctor's waiting room (along with a small herd of other kids).  That's why doctors used to come to our homes!  There were a lot of very dangerous and highly contagious diseases around, and in the days before vaccines they wanted a diagnosis before allowing you to spread your infection around the waiting room or other folks.  After vaccines, polio, measles, diphtheria, and so on were of less concern, since it was assumed most of the herd was vaccinated.

There's a lot of discussion on the internet about "measles parties" in the '50s and '60s, where mothers would arrange playdates with kids who had measles (or chicken pox) to get it over with at a convenient time.  Some people remember them vividly, others who were also "there" swear they never happened.  I was amazed that no one arguing about the topic seemed to know that there were two versions of measles when we were kids.  There was the regular measles (rubeola), and then there was German measles (rubella).  Although the are not related, the two looked pretty much the same, fever, red spots, etc.  Rubella/German measles was fairly innocuous (except for pregnant women) and rubeola/measles was dangerous, potentially fatal.

There a pretty good comparison of the two at

I had rubeola/measles.  I did develop encephalitis and was in the hospital for a very long time.  I was young, and don't remember anything except how everyone was so nice for a short time after I returned home, but according to Mom (who, it might be noted, cannot be relied on for any kind of medical report) I was in a coma for a time.

What I do remember is that there WERE measles parties for rubella/German measles. Women wanted to get it over with during a time when they were sure they weren't pregnant.   Rubeola/measles got you and your whole family quarantined.  Sign on the door and everything.  No parties for rubeola.

 I am frustrated that in all these articles about the current measles outbreak, they don't say which measles it is.  With all the excitement, I assume it's rubeola, but maybe not?  Anyone know for sure?


Becs said...

I remember having what my family called the red measles (as opposed to ??) when I was about 9. I remember that they allowed no light in the room and wouldn't permit me to read for fear it would damage my eyesight. No idea if there was any truth in that or not.

~~Silk said...

"Red measles" was probably rubiola. Rubeola could cause nerve damage, which could result in blindness. Sometimes the patient's eyes were extremely sensitive to light. However, light didn't cause the blindness, so it wasn't necessary to keep a dark room unless the patient was bothered by light.