Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Experiences With Rubeola and Rubella

Monday, February 23, 1959 - fifty-seven years ago today: "Got up at 7. I went back to school today. After being out for 2 weeks, there is quite a stack of homework to be done."

There was a full moon that day, too. This is the photo I took of the full moon at 7 this morning, before it set.

February 7 diary entry: "Guess what I'm coming down with. The measles. Finally. I've been exposed to them enough times."

It was surprising I hadn't had the measles when I was much younger and had been exposed to them. The measles I was coming down with were called the Red Measles or Hard Measles or more precisely, Rubeola.

I didn't feel too bad that morning when I got up but by evening I was miserable. Three days later I had a terrible sore throat and cough and was beginning to break out. Four days later I had a high temperature, 104°, and very bad headache. Mom hung blankets over the windows to make the room dark. The worst part of being so sick was not being able to do anything - not even read! Grandma & Grandpa came up to see me. "I made Mom and Grandma come upstairs and talk to me. I was so lonesome."
The next day Mom came up in the afternoon and read the funnies and the Free Press to me. "I'm finally broken out and how! I'm sure miserable. Mom gave me a sponge bath. It sure felt good. Leslie doesn't like my spots. He won't even look at me."
Mom even wrote in my diary for me for three days. It was my voice, but her handwriting. I can understand her not letting me do anything, Rubeola can have very serious consequences, eye damage being one. The high fever could result in encephalitis (swelling of the brain). In some severe cases of the red measles, death even occurred.

After a week, I tried going downstairs but "got run right back up". Finally, the next day Mom allowed me to stay downstairs on the davenport all day. I was happy about that but VERY happy that I had lost so much weight while ill. "Down to 128 pounds. Hope I can keep it down." After ten days I gradually began feeling better, was able to eat and get some strength back. By the time I was able to go back to school, my younger sister and little brother both had the measles. I wrote: "Both kids are thoroughly broken out and quite sick. I feel so sorry for Leslie." Apparently I didn't feel sorry for Betty.

On March 20, I finally got all my make-up work done and turned in. Four days later I came down with the 3-day measles, also known as German measles or Rubella. I wasn't nearly as ill with those. Leslie and Betty also had them at the same time as I. The biggest danger of this form of measles is to the fetus if a pregnant woman gets rubella.

The school picture from my sophomore year in high school.

I don't understand why I never got the measles when I was exposed to them in grade school, nor why I had both Rubeola and Rubella so close together, but I will always remember all the school I missed my sophomore year as 'the year of the measles'.

1 comment:

  1. My grandmother was born deaf (and slightly brain damaged) because her mother had Rubella (German Measles) when she was pregnant with her.

    My Grandfather (and his twin brother) both became deaf because they caught Mumps when they were infants.

    I guess my grandparents never would have met at the Faribault school for the deaf if it hadn't been for these diseases, but I'm so glad we don't have to deal with those diseases as much any more since they developed the MMR vaccine.
    I do worry that, because most young people never had to deal with these diseases, they forget the terrible consequences, and discount how dangerous they really were.