Miriam came down with scarlet fever (of all things) late last week, and suffered into the weekend. All at once, I felt sorry for my poor miserable girl, and secretly intrigued that I (well, mostly she) was living inside a novel from the olden days. Visions of Mary Ingalls, Gilbert Blythe, and Beth March suffering nobly came rushing back to me from my childhood reading days. If I had had scarlet fever as a kid, I probably would have been a little too excited about it for my own good.
Of course, it's easy for me to say these things because in this day and age, we have antibiotics. Within 36 hours of her first dose, Miriam made a remarkable recovery. On Friday, I was giving her oatmeal baths and controlling her fever with Panadol. On Saturday afternoon, she was doing some low-key sprinkler running in the backyard. Amazing.
We saw two doctors over the course of her weekend treatment, both at Royal Hospital. The first visit, we were greeted by a Filipina receptionist, shown to the ER department (the only one open at the time) by a Malaysian security guard, checked in by a Somali nurse, assisted by an Indian nurse, and finally treated by a Rwandan doctor. Truly, this is a capsule of a run-of-the-mill UAE experience. The doctor diagnosed scarlet fever, and also gave Miriam this super cool (literally) fever patch. Do they have these in the US?
The next day, we had a follow-up visit with another doctor, this one from the UK. He was like something straight out of Downton Abbey, with his accent and mannerisms and little leather pouch-bag full of diagnostic instruments. He was really delighted to see that Miriam's scarlet fever symptoms were perfectly textbook - he ran to the next office over and had his colleague come in to see them. (The symptoms are: fever, strawberry tongue, sandpaper-like rash focused on creases in the skin, sore throat, and a rash on the face but not surrounding the lips.) Good for Miriam, I guess? He also said they've seen five scarlet fever cases in that hospital alone in the last week, so it's going around.
Which brings me to my final point: the weird diseases you sometimes get overseas. I don't know that I've ever heard of anyone having scarlet fever in the US, but it was going around in Egypt the summer we were there. Chicken pox is also making the rounds here - does that still happen in the US? It was a childhood rite of passage when I was young, but with the vaccine I suppose it's not so widespread there anymore.
Miriam is all better now and I am so grateful for antibiotics. I hope she can appreciate her adventure with scarlet fever even more when she gets around to reading some of my favorite childhood books.