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November 6, 2010

Don’t Touch Me Again!

That is what I said to the Nurse Practitioner after we decided that I have Shingles! Yes, Shingles, as though I don’t have enough going on in my life. Shingles is a disease that affects mostly older people although I had a brief bout with it many years ago. That is how, when my skin became very sensitive on one side and tingled, I suspected that it was Shingles. I called the doctor’s office and they were able to squeeze me in. The PA inspected me and said that she saw the beginnings of a rash and in the course of the visit I said that I felt like saying that I didn’t want her to touch me again.

The ever useful and exhaustive internet says the following:
Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful, blistering skin rash due to the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. The first symptom is usually one-sided pain, tingling, or burning. The pain and burning may be severe and is usually present before any rash appears.

It occurs if you have had chicken pox as a child and the nasty virus hides along your nerves somewhere until it springs out and yells “Surprise!” It occurs most often in people who are over sixty or as the pharmacist kept telling me as I picked up my medication, “In people my age.” Not tactful. I like to tell people that I am going to be 80 but I expect them to say, “No! Really? I never would have guessed! You look wonderful!” If he expects me to get my geriatric medications from him he is going to have to take some sensitivity training.

The internet also told me that Shingles was not named after those flat wooden things that you find on some roofs. It is called Varicella Zoster virus. Zoster comes from Greek zōstēr, meaning "belt" or "girdle", after the characteristic belt-like dermatomal rash. The name Shingles represents Latin cingulus, a variant of Latin cingulummeaning "girdle". The first time I had Shingles it occurred around one side of my waist. I know, more than you wanted to know.

I am now on a regimen of anti-viral medical taken five times a day, for ten days. I have reluctantly decided not to go to church tomorrow in case those itchy things on my neck indicate an outbreak, and I feel a little under the weather so I will stay home and do my Bible Study in case I can go next week and I will watch movies and drink tea. But don’t touch me.

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