Wednesday, September 4, 2013

That Time I Got Shingles

You read the title correctly. A few weeks ago I got shingles. A skin infection I thought only people over the age of 70 could catch. If you've had chicken pox you have a chance at getting shingles. The chicken pox virus lays dormant in your system and if it flares up again later in life it is referred to as shingles. Yuck.

WARNING: I don't mention hyperhidrosis in this post. This is simply a share.

After some web based research, "Mom, there is a chance I have shingles."
"Sara, you do NOT have shingles. Oh my god. You would know if you had shingles." 
"I don't know mom, I mean I googled 'Itchy skin with no sign of rash' and the internet is telling me I have shingles." 
"Sara. Oh honey. You can't possibly have shingles. I've seen 75 year old patients where there are dark blisters all over. You would know if you had shingles. I mean, as a nurse, that's not my expertise, but I can't imagine at 27 you'd get shingles."

There have been plenty of moments where I wanted to prove my mother wrong. Crush her with reality that I am the queen supreme of right-ness. This was not one of those times.

Four days straight I had painful itchy skin. I blamed a synthetic dress I wore cursing the material for my fiery pain. And on the fourth day there was a pink spot right above my right hip. A friend of mine who had shingles a few months prior just happened to call me that day.

After we had caught up for a bit I shyly asked, "When you had shingles... what happened?" She explained that a rash doesn't appear until the fourth day. Yup. I've got shingles.

Thank GOD I was finally had health insurance after six months without. That's whole other diatribe about health care in America, oy vey. Anyways, I called Kaiser's very helpful hotline to talk to a nurse on Sunday night. The next morning I had an appointment to see a nurse practitioner.

The icing on the cake was when I drove to work the next day and my car broke down. I burst into tears feeling absolutely helpless. I was in pain, I had no way to get to my appointment, and I barely have two pennies to rub together. Furthermore, I didn't want to tell my hypochondriac coworkers that I had shingles. I lied saying that my appointment was for a sinus infection. My mom came to my rescue and took me to the appointment. I felt like a kid again relying on my mom to help, but fuck it, that's what family is for. How lucky am I that she lived close enough to help? I'll stop whining.

My shingles have been treated and are now gone. Woo drugs!

So what caused this? I can't say for sure, but the only conclusion I can come to is stress. I stopped doing yoga for a month, was planning a move, my mother has been ill, and I'm unsure of my career choices. I've been in a depressed slump. In all my worry I stopped taking care of my health. 

So the lesson I hope to pass on to you is take care of yourself! You deserve it. If not, you might just get some crazy rash.