Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Cycle 2, Day +14: A Pool Tournament and Chicken Pox

On the first floor of Target House, where we are staying, there is a large common room with sofas, chairs, tables, lots of board games, and a pool table. In the evenings it is a popular place for families to congregate and play pool. Sean in particular has been hanging out down there a lot lately and honing his pool skills against mostly older kids, that is the place he likes to go after he comes home from school and finishes his homework.


Last night, a local college fraternity sponsored a pool tournament down there for the kids and parents, with prizes for all participants. There were three age groups, 10 and under, 11-17, and 18 and over. Doug, Steven, and Sean all entered.


All of them did very well. Sean came in second, losing to a 9-year old boy who hit the 8-ball into the corner pocket on the break. Doug came in second in the 18 and up group. Steven didn't make it to the finals, but he was up against the best player and he made a decent showing.


Tonight when we got back to Target House after our day at the hospital, we got a call from the Infection Control Department at St. Jude telling us that one of the kids, a toddler, who is regularly in the downstairs room at Target House was hospitalized for chicken pox. That child wasn't present at the pool tournament, but today one of the other kids who was at the tournament showed up with chicken pox also.

The child at the tournament with chicken pox is 13, so he wasn't playing in the 10-and-under group with Steven and Sean, but he was in the room with them before and after their tournament. Tomorrow we will meet with Steven's doctors to find out whether or not they think he was exposed and whether or not he should receive VZIG to help reduce the possibility of him becoming infected.

If Steven receives the VZIG injection, he will go into isolation starting from day 8 after exposure to day 28. The reason for the three-week isolation period is because in addition to possibly preventing chicken pox infection, VZIG prolongs the period over which initial chicken pox symptoms could show up, to 28 days.

The most concerning thing is that the period where chicken pox symptoms could show up overlaps the time where Steven would be neutropenic again, and chicken pox is life-threatening in people with compromised immune systems.

Tomorrow we'll know more.


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