So there I was, convinced I had a sinus infection, my upper teeth on the left side hurting. And then that crazy rash on my face, the one that made co-workers speculate whether I had come into contact with poison ivy, or was reacting to a medication. The original mis-diagnosis on a Monday, three days into the rash, was aggravating enough, since I didn’t feel the doctor heard a word I said, aside from “tooth,” at which he promptly sent me to my dentist. But when I spoke with MY doctor’s receptionist on Wednesday morning and explained my symptoms, she said, “Oh, girl, it sounds like you got shingles!”

Oh, noooo. Nooooo, nooo, noo. Perhaps I didn’t explain myself. See, I just have this little blistery part up in my hairline, and well my nose is all rashy, but no, shingles are caused by stress, right? And I mean, I’m not stressed…not me.

“Gurrrrrl, you got the shingles, I bet!! You come on in around 1:45 and we’ll work you in today.”

And so began my three-week battle with shingles, the residual effect of those 5 blooming chicken pox blisters I had at age 8. You mean to tell me this has been laying dormant in my facial nerve for 30 years and chose NOW to resurface?!! I truly do not feel “stressed.” Certainly not like, I need medication, stressed. If ever there was a time in my life when I feel illness should take advantage of me, this is not it. What about those two weeks in 1996 when I got married, moved, changed jobs and lost my grandmother all at the same time? THAT was stress!! Or what about celebrating my son’s first birthday knowing I’m pregnant with a second child, and not sure I’ll be able to handle it? THAT was stress. I have friends who hit life twelve times harder than I do, so how is it that I am suddenly the poster child for overworked-freak-stress-anxiety-disorder? (Not that that’s a bad thing…)

So this has caused me to pause (and completely pass out given the right meds) and take stock of what my life comprises, in an effort to understand how, when I thought I was at the top of my game, I was actually weak enough to be overtaken by a devilishly painful virus.

1.  The dog has an ear hematoma. (I hear Arnold Swarzenegger’s voice every time I say that word – hemaTOHma. I don’t know why.) Basically, this means Mason shook his cute little head so hard that he busted a blood vessel in his cute little ear. It is repairable only with surgery… a very expensive surgery with no guarantees that it won’t happen again. And here, only a day after getting the stitches removed, I fear it has happened…again.

2.  We are having some necessary repair done to the ENTIRE exterior of our home, a project which has taken longer than I expected, but we are pleased with the work as it progresses, even though I am not completely sure what the final tab will be. My dermatologist pins the shingles on this one, hands down.

3.  I do worry about Victoria as she experiences 2nd grade. She is sooooo extroverted, and I am sooooo not. It’s hard for me to relate to someone who talks when the teacher says not to. I was the quiet, nerdy girl in the front row of every class I ever took. So the thought of my daughter “not listening,” “not practicing self control,” and “not using time and materials effectively” admittedly sends me into orbit. And yet I want to allow her to be who she is…

So this act of taking stock of my situation leaves me with little answers. I love my job, am happy at home, have the best husband on earth, and am greeted every day by two joyful children and two waggly-tailed dogs. Am I really freaking out over what color to paint the entry hall and how long my tires will last? Are junk mail and rush-hour traffic starting to affect my biorhythms? I would not have thought so…

But I also didn’t think I’d get shingles.

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