The protective clothing worn by a 17th-century plague physician. Etching by Paulus Furst of Nuremberg, Germany, 1656. Illustration from Bettmann/Corbis
An update: Henry has the chicken pox -- badly. Sophie is all right, so far. Our trip for spring break is now up in the air. I had an interestingprofoundly stressful meeting with the Powers that Be for increased in-home supportive services. I sat in a small conference room with total strangers and a very nice advocate and explained to a virtual judge (he was actually a real judge, but he was on the giant flat-screen tv at the head of the conference table) that my daughter needs 24-hour supervision because of her limited mental reasoning, judgement and memory. I had to argue these points with people who have never met her. I'd like to say that it was a prime example of our tax dollars at work, but that would be happening right now in Washington, D.C. as our representatives bunker down, arguing over funds for pap smears at Planned Parenthood.
As my mother said, Six of one, half a dozen of another.
A little Leonard Cohen is in order:
If I had a shining head
and people turned to stare at me
in the streetcars;
and I could stretch my body
through the bright water
and keep abreast of fish and water snakes;
if I could ruin my feathers
in flight before the sun;
do you think that I would remain in this room,
reciting poems to you,
and making outrageous dreams
with the smallest movements of your mouth?