1989 Measles at Principia Upper School: Paul’s Story

By Paul, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

I was a student at Principia Upper School during the measles epidemic in Fall 1989, and I contracted measles. I had the good fortune of being a day student, so instead of being on lockdown in ‘Gulag Clayton Road’, I was at least able to suffer in the discomfort of my own home.

I remember being really freaked out because I had to get my blood tested to see if I was immune, and I was scared to death by the process of the blood draw. My, how far we’ve come… Anyway, it was pretty pointless because I more or less felt like crap by the time I showed up at the lab. I drove home, took a nap, and began to notice blotches when I awoke. I can’t recall how many days I was ill—it seemed like forever. I couldn’t get comfortable, etc., as I’m sure all of us experienced. The whole experience was utter hell. At least I could shower as often as I wanted and didn’t have to deal with petulant houseparents.

They sent the principal and dean of students out to deliver ice cream to all of us day students who were de-campused due to illness, and we had to come to the door to get our goodies. I realize now they were probably sent out to check on us to make sure none of us was at death’s door so the Christian Science Committee on Publication could be given a heads up if we were.

She was a true believer and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way

By Paul, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

 

My mother died a long, drawn out death from skin cancer that was also very unnecessary because a routine visit to the dermatologist could have prevented the whole thing. It’s so senseless. After she passed I had a rather cloying conversation with her practitioner (she called me), and the practitioner went out of her way to assure me that at no point did my mother suffer any pain whatsoever. Of course I don’t believe her, and I didn’t then; but the only thing that has been of any help at all, and not much, is that my mother was able to make her exit on her own terms and in accordance with her faith. She was a true believer and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, even if it would have spared her life and she would still be here.

Every now and again after my mother’s horrendous demise, my dad would ask if I wanted to go to church with him, just sort of tossing it out there as if that’s really what I’d been waiting for all along to get right with the world. He finally gave up on that and would lob some Christian Science-isms at me from time to time like he would like to see me “make a better demonstration of supply.” It really annoyed me, not that I guess I rated as a pauper, but that he knew good and well that no one in their right mind goes around talking in code like that, so it seemed a means to try to keep manipulating things back around to Christian Science. My general response, usually after suppressing a chortle, would be simply to tell him that I didn’t know anything about that and I hadn’t for a long time now.

I had given plenty of time for the ‘work’ to ‘work’

By Paul, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

As a kid, I had serious physical issues that arose from horse-riding accidents, playing sports, as well as dental procedures, etc., that all went off without the benefit of pain relievers or medical attention. The only time I was afforded medical care was when I broke my forearm. I consumed an adult beverage before I’d had so much as an Advil.

I remember one night I woke up about 2:00 AM and was itching like crazy. I couldn’t stop no matter what, and it was everywhere. Before the start of school I furtively bought some Noxema because I was so damn tired of having an unnecessarily poor complexion and felt I had given plenty of time for the Christian Science ‘work’ to ‘work’. So I decided to use my right to seek other treatment—as all of us in Christian Science were assured we could, so long as we never intended to actually follow through! I have no idea why, but I decided to slather that stuff all over myself, and it was a friggin’ miracle! That belief of itching stopped almost instantly!

I will say that generally, my parents and family must have been extraordinarily compassionate as Christian Scientists go, because I never was made to feel as if I was being a pain in the ass for ‘seeming to experience a belief of sickness’. That’s not to say that there aren’t dozens of other ways that I don’t feel as if I am constantly waging a battle in my head. It’s strange, in fact, how often I find myself having to explain that I grew up a Christian Scientist because I don’t share a common reference point or I have an issue with something that’s still a problem all these years later. Anxiety and depression were companions while I was still putting up the facade of trying to practice Christian Science, but it wasn’t until many years later that the big breakdown came and a tidal wave of pain and trauma came flooding out of me.