So I’m sick
Shingles, to be precise. I developed an odd numb band of skin on my stomach running from my midline to my left side early Monday morning. The area underneath the skin started itching and aching like hell and made sleep Monday night quite unpleasant, so I called the doc’s yesterday morning for an appointment.
Diagnosis: shingles, classic presentation (right along a nerve trunk wrapping around my body from spine to midline). But I caught it early before the rash appeared so with Acyclovir I may not develop the rash at all. And Cecilia Tan clued me in to the use of Salonpas methyl salicylate pads, which knocked out the pain nicely. The biggest bummer is that I have to stay out of the gym until I’m sure I’m no longer shedding virus (people with shingles can give unvaccinated people chickenpox). Guess I can work out at home for a week.
For those of you who have never heard of this, shingles are basically the Son of Chickenpox — the herpes zoster virus remains dormant in your system once you’ve had chickenpox. After you turn 50 certain things can reactivate it — stress, immune system issues, various diseases — and it attacks the nerve roots, creating a belt-like rash along the nerve trunk. The abdomen is one of the most common places for it to appear, but it can show up all over your body (including your eyes), and knock-on effects can include nerve damage, photosensitivity, and a host of other unpleasant ailments. Recognizing it early and getting the antiviral Acyclovir (the treatment dose only cost me $19.50) can greatly reduce the length and severity of the attack, so if this ever happens to you hie yourself into the doctor right smart, if at all possible.
An interesting side effect is that either the shingles or the Acyclovir is making me feel … well, mellow. I’m tired and Ramón says I’m warm, but I’m not itching or in pain and I’m feeling a general sense of Zen calm. Which is kinda nice, considering the current political climate.