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Rated: E · Chapter · Experience · #2278279
My experience of having shingles
         All my life I had wondered about shingles. I ran into people who had it. They spoke of itching and pain. It was nothing I wanted and yet in a time when COVID is the killer to look out for, it becomes to easy to put it on the back burner. After all COVID is the killer right? And most recently my doctor said, "It is not life threatening and is therefore no shot or vaccine is required."I would learn quickly it is nothing anybody wants and it requires taking care of yourself if you want to live to tell the tale.

         I will preface this with sharing I had become quite the runner/walker. It was a habit I started two years ago. I have walked)ran an average of a million steps the last five months. It is well over 400 miles a month. It had become an obsession. And not only that I signed up to walk 62 miles for the American cancer society. I was psyched to walk the most miles ever in memory of my former father in law, who lived with it for twenty years before succumbing to whTit. I was looking forward to a month of redemption. I did not see the prospect of anything getting in the way.

         The pain began August 2nd like nothing I ever felt before. I shrugged it off as just some muscle or pinched nerve that would go away in time. I had many nagging injuries since I had been walking and running so much. My feet, knees and back were primary targets. Surely this would not last long. So without knowing what was going on I kept walking/running. It was becoming clearer this was not a typical injury/hurt to overcome. A rash developed that went from my upper arm to my chest. I finally realized on Friday, the last day of the week I needed to see the doctor. Sure enough it was shingles. The pain was by now pulsating, stabbing and pinching. I graded it an 8. It hurt like hell.

         I tried to slow down. I finally hit the 90 mile mark and realized I needed to stop after I read an article that said running with shingles could cause lifelong neurological damage. So here I lie down humbled by my own discovery. I take my meds and rest. That is what it takes to get better. I can not do what I enjoyed so much. I was resigned to stopping, because I wanted to get better. It was as if I finally became sober. Jesus own words "Do you want to be well?". It's a choice. The running can wait. After all I am almost 67 years old. I have time.

         So now everything seems to move in slow motion. At work they want to take me off the schedule. I want none of that I love the five guys I work with. They may be intellectually disabled, but in my world it is a reason to get up and want to care about someone besides me. So I decide to rest. There is an outside chance one of these guys could have given me the shingles. He was taking medicine for it the same time I was wondering what was causing pain.

         At home I am dealing with my wife having Alzheimer's sleeping a lot. It feels awkward. She is faced with needing to take care of me. I feel guilty. How could I let this happen? I take more time to organize and clean up and enjoy time with someone I love, even if she would rather not sleep with me. The doctor says it is not contagious for the most part except if exposed to body fluid, so I keep my t-shirt on as he suggested.

          I will turn 67 August 18th. I was wanting to take a trip to see my siblings in Massachusetts. All of a sudden it is of no consequence. Now we talk of me getting together in September instead. This time I will for sure not take our time together for granted. I have also spent time talking with my daughter who lives in California. Maybe it could be possible for us to be together in a holiday like thanksgiving or Christmas in Kansas City. I live in Pennsylvania. It has been too long since a painful divorce tore us apart. It could be time to find a way to be together, if only by the grace of God. Life goes on. I had a neighbor who was a roofer. He would say you need to have shingles for the roof to be good. Maybe I will learn from having shingles and instead of running away be glad to be with others under the roof called humanity. Time will tell.
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