Saturday, December 26, 2015

That Time Shingles Made a Non-Reader Out of Me

You are so lucky that no photos accompany this post!

On the 18th of December, I woke up with heartburn, but it was peculiar heartburn. No matter how much soda I drank or mints I ate, I couldn't quell the unpleasant tingling in my right breast. As the day wore on, the heartburn moved around and lodged in my upper back. Oh, pulled muscle. Fair enough. I'd used my arm a lot the day before then topped it off that evening with a session at the bowling alley.

Moving into that weekend, I spent a lot of time begging friends and family to tell me the truth; tell me that my back was covered in bruises. No, Susan, No. Really, no. There's nothing there. Nothing but that tattoo. For God's sake, pull your damn shirt down.

Monday morning welcomed me with nerves jumping like frogs in the upper back with the occasional lightning strike of pain. The next day brought me a new symptom like some kind of sadistic riff on the twelve days of Christmas: my abovementioned right breast swelled up twice the size of the left one. I felt -- still feel, actually -- like the love child of Quasimodo and Dolly Parton.

Wednesday brought the tag-team of Jack in the Beanstalk's giant vowing to "grind [my] bones to make [his] bread" and Norman Bates getting busy with the knife.

Christmas Eve, I took my mom out to Denny's for a late supper, then we went to church and out to look at Christmas lights that flashed to the rhythm of the pain in my back, which seemed to have somehow gotten sunburned during this first week of winter. Or perhaps I unknowingly rolled in an anthill?

  Back home, getting out of my torturous prison of a bra, I saw a funny red patch on my back, (which has gone on to create an extended family).  It didn't take Dr. House to figure out that Santa or Baby Jesus or the three wise men had brought me gold frankincense myrrh shingles.

Yesterday, the whole symptom family gathered for Christmas and brought chills.

Today I'm nauseated and my mother told me that I smell a bit like roadkill. I'm stoically waiting around for Monday and a visit to my doctor. Well, not entirely stoic. I had a weepy interlude from 8:00-8:30 a.m.

All of the above is uncomfortable and annoying, but the thing that grates most of all is that this has been coming on for some time, and I should have figured it out because the very VERY first symptom was  a sort of malaise that manifested itself as a reading slump, which was discussed in the previous two posts. That's how I roll: Even before I know I'm sick, I develop an aversion to reading.

 I rallied briefly and read The SantaLand Diaries by David Sedaris (AKA Holidays on Ice), but it was hard work.

Since then? Nothing.  I received a much-desired copy of Carly Simon's memoir, Boys in the Trees for Christmas, but all I've done is thumb through dutifully looking at the photos. Just the idea of sitting down and reading brings on a feeling of strong distaste, akin to nausea.  This is how non-readers feel! It's unsettling. My indignation at being attacked at this level knows no bounds.

I want my back back, and I want my breast back, and my relatively sweet-smelling body back, but most importantly, I want my bookworm self back.


raidergirl3 said...

Oh, that's terrible! Wishing you to feel better soon. Shingles are terrible!

Sam said...

Susan, I don't know how you have kept your sense of humor through all of this...but that's a good sign.

Do get to the doctor ASAP because shingles is not an easy thing to shake. The good news is that you can be made more comfortable in the meantime. I'm pulling for you. Oh...and get the shingles vaccine when your doctor clears you for that. From what understand it is not a 100% guarantee that you will not get shingles ever again, but it does pretty much guarantee that you won't get a really bad case of them ever again.

Good luck.

A Library Girl said...

I hope you feel better soon. My mom got shingles last year, and she was miserable. I wish I could have been close enough to help her out. When the symptoms first started, she mistook it for the beginnings of a heart attack and went to the ER. Then she thought it was a badly pulled muscle.

I'm with Sam, definitely go to that doctor appointment.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Poor youuuu! Shingles are the worst! I hope you feel much much better soon and are also able to leap back into reading!

Unruly Reader said...

Oh, not good... Hope you're back to 100%!