Sooooooo the news here is that, We Got Shingles in Da HouZZZ!!!!
Not this kind of shingles:
No of course not. That kind of shingles is a good thing. Keeps the house nice and dry and safe from rain and wind and anything else that might come down from the sky. Those are good shingles.
We have the bad kind of shingles in the house. And isn't it weird that they have the same name? Who comes up with these names? Anyway. Poor Tim.
Last Thursday during the day he noticed that the right side of his neck kind of hurt. He assumed that he had "slept wrong". It happens. Waking up with a stiff neck that hurts when you try to turn it is not unusual. He went about his day, thinking no more of it, assuming he would feel better on Friday.
Friday he felt worse. So he then assumes that he has done something to pull a muscle or pinch a nerve. And as the day went on, he continued to feel worse. He alternated applications of heat and cold with no improvement whatsoever. By Saturday he was wondering what on earth he had done and began googling symptoms. Doctor's hate it when we do it, but we all do. Relieved that there was nothing life-threatening as a possibility, he tried to just ignore it in a "life goes on" sort of way with varied results.
By Sunday he just settled in on the sofa, determined in his stoic way to gut it out, still applying alternate hot and cold packs, taking Advil and some left over pain medication from the last time he threw his back out. That allowed him to doze a bit here and there but otherwise, no improvement.
Monday he called the doctor's office. You KNOW things have to be bad if Tim calls the doc office. They made an appointment for him on Tuesday.
As we sat in the waiting room on Tuesday, I looked at his face and said curiously, 'Where did that rash come from?" He shrugged, "I don't know but it really hurts" I looked closer, "It almost looks like poison ivy or poison oak! That's weird. When did that start?" He shrugged very gently because shrugging, as it turns out, hurts, "Just before we left the house". I continued to watch him as before my very eyes the rash grew angrier and bigger and more widely spread.
The doctor also watched it with some degree of fascination. "Oh man, that's shingles!" he said with sympathy. "Have you ever had chicken pox?"
Now here is the oddest things. Neither Tim nor I recall ever having had chicken pox. It doesn't mean we didn't have it, just neither of us remember. Tim doesn't even remember if any of his siblings had it! My assumption there was that if one kid in a family has something contagious, odds are extremely good that all of them will have it. A family sharing plan, so to speak.
I remember very well all three of my boys suffering through it. Hurley brought it home from school one winter back in Connecticut. Oddly, while it was miserable, his was a relatively mild case. The incubation period was nearly over when Corbin showed signs of it and sure enough, there it was. Corbin's chicken pox was worse than his brother's but he suffered it without much complaint. Tough guy. It's hard to see your kids in pain but we made it nearly all the way through the incubation period one more time before the oldest boy woke up with it one morning. His case was not just the worst of the three boys, but it was also the worst case of chicken pox the doctor had ever seen! And once his chicken pox was finally nearly over, he ended up with mono. That was a long and difficult winter, my friends.
Endless games of Candyland and Go-Fish, reading stories, thinking up quiet activities, making comfort foods and fussing over them constantly in general. Applying cool compresses, doling out medication, doing tons of pajama laundry, changing sheets almost daily and not sleeping night after night after night. And after taking care of three children with chicken pox, I can guarantee that if I didn't contract it then, I either did have it as a child and just don't recall, or I have a natural immunity.
But back to Tim and the here and now. So the good doctor explained what shingles is and how it works and why it feels the way it feels and wrote a prescription that we are hopeful will at least minimize the amount of time he will continue to suffer. We know what to look out for by way of it worsening and promised faithfully to check in with the doc in two weeks time. Tim took the rest of yesterday off.
Today however, the rash looks as angry as ever, I'm sure it hurts just as badly as it did the day before, but he is back at his desk working and trying to distract himself from how he feels. He doesn't complain, because that's not what he does, but he is quieter than usual, less engaged, less playful. I can tell that he feels like absolute crap. Poor baby. And there is not much I can do to make him feel better. It's like my kids and their chicken pox all over again.
The funniest part, not funny ha-ha but funny odd, is that last week we received in the mail a letter from our pharmacy suggesting that we both get the shingles vaccination. Apparently this is something everyone over age 50 should do. It would have been too late to do it this year to prevent this outbreak for Tim regardless. Unbeknownst to us, the virus was already percolating in his system last week. BUT the doc says that by September we absolutely can have the shot.
It's already on my calendar.
Be forewarned good people. Shingles sucks. If you can avoid it, do.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.