Friday, August 18, 2006


Proof that I'm not raising the biggest-baby-known-to-mankind... Today Zac went in for his long-awaited (by me) MMR/Chicken Pox vaccination. Ever since our scare with the full-body rash last week, I've been wondering how many other scary diseases I could get my child vaccinated against. The bubonic plague? (a particular favorite of mine and all other PCVs in Mongolia). Dysentery? (no, that's actually water-borne. Shit). Yellow fever? (only if we need to go to Africa sometime in the next twelve months). Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever? (no, caused by a tick. No vaccinations available. Bastards.)

In Mongolia, the Peace Corps gave us a book called, "Where There is No Doctor". It was the most horrifying book you could ever hand a scared 21 year-old in a foreign country. The whole idea of the book is that you could diagnose and treat yourself in rural areas where there was no doctors - hence the title. I liked to torture myself by reading the infectious diseases chapters and frequently referring to them in conversations with other Peace Corps Volunteers. They thought I was insane. Later, I would be, but at the time, I was fascinated by dracunculiasis - the Guinea Worm disease. Basically, you get it by drinking water fleas that have been released into the drinking water supply. The water fleas go into your body, develop into larvae, chill out in your small intestines for a year or so, then migrate down into your lower extremities, where an adult female will burst out of a blister (totally "Aliens" style) and release her eggs anytime you are in contact with water. The CDC, in all of their bureaucratic glory, write: "When someone with a Guinea worm ulcer enters the water, the adult female releases a milky white liquid containing millions of immature larvae into the water, thus contaminating the water supply."

You can't cure the disease. Once the worm has erupted from your skin, you can wrap it around a stick (which probably really pisses it off) and pull it out a couple centimeters a day and hope that you don't die of a massive, secondary infection.

Awesome, right?

Once you get that image in your head. It doesn't matter that you've never lived in Sudan or even know what continent Sudan is on. You just start thinking about a worm, wrapped around a stick. Next stop is "Snakes on a Plane" paranoia. I promise.

At the doctor today, I found out today that Mr. Z weighs 22 pounds 10 ounces, is 30.5 inches tall, and has a giant head. Well, that isn't the technical term for it, but he's in the 50th percentile for weight, 45th percentile for his height, and the 75th percentile for head size. The Doc said that his brain is "clearly developing nicely". Well, duh. One look at his coconut and you would know that!! It's nice to hear that he is perfect in everyway, especially after defending him all the time to complete strangers how like to declare, "He's sooooo BIG! Look at his smile!! The dimples!!! What are you feeding him?" I like that question because it makes it seem like I'm filling him up on Big Macs, fried pork rinds, and dark beer. No of that, "Tastes Great - Less Filling" bullshit from my prodigy.

No way.

I have a brain to develop here! He is definitely getting Guinness.


p said...

Yay, he's normal! And vaccinated! And not-so-yay, I am going to forever have that image of a worm emitting milky liquid as it protrudes from my abdomen, wrapped around a stick.

You know what they say about babies with big heads, right? :) Celebrate that huge brain!


mynewshoes said...

You manage to totally amuse me and absolutely gross me out at the same time, and that is just one of the reasons I love you!


jenna said...

dude, you know i'm a paranoid hypochondriac, right??


Anonymous said...

Oh the guinea worm! That was my favorite, too! Well, that and the illustrations of how NOT to cure a snake bite/scorpion sting (e.g., don't bite the snake! don't rub dog feces on it! don't rub it with the hand of a dead baby!) Hours of entertainment in the arctic wasteland, eh?

Anyway, did you see the recent NYT article about guinea worms?

Don't forget to check out the video and photos that go along with the article. Good times!