Shingles Poster Child · 12 September 2020
I recently felt like I should be poster child for the shingles vaccination. One look at me and you would want to stand in line to get yours. But do not worry. It hurts much worse than it looks.
I never understood what the big thing about shingles was. I never gave it a second thought when I heard that I should get a shingles vaccination. Even after I saw the pain my mom went through when she had the shingles. I knew it was obviously not a fun virus to get, but I figured the same thing we all figure. It is not going to happen to me. Now I realize, it could definitely happen to me. Because it did.
Apparently, the shingles virus lays dormant in your body after you have had chicken pox. It is a nefarious little virus that nestles in your nerve cells just waiting for the right moment. I am not sure what that right moment is (a time of stress perhaps), but I am sure that it is exactly the right timing. Which means the most inopportune moment. The worst time of all. Bam! You have shingles.
Shingles is not at all like chicken pox. Well, maybe a little. There are those pesky little pocks (pox). But they are not all over your body like when you were a kid and had them. Or at least my pox from shingles were not all over my body like the chicken pox were all over my body when I was a kid.
Oh having chicken pox was great fun! All four of us kids got it at the same time. Or at least whoever got it first shared it with the rest of us. It was baking soda baths and calamine lotion every night for weeks. Or at least one week anyway. I think my parents had an assembly line system system. Throw all the kids in the tub. Wash one at a time with baking soda. (After letting them all splash around and release all their energy they had been saving through the day because they could not do anything but sit around the house getting in Mom’s way as she tried to do things as normally as possible.) Rinse the one, then hand him or her off to the other parent, while you fished for the next one. The other parent would then dry the already washed and rinsed kid, who would dash off as soon as he or she was patted dry (so that none of the pox were broken). But there was no time to grab the kid because a new one was rinsed and in the queue already.
When all the kids were dried and running around the house naked, our parents would have to round three of us up again (one was still in clutches of the parent who was drying). We surely came back ready for our treatment of calamine lotion. Oh that soothing calamine lotion. The pox did not itch right after the bath, but the calamine lotion still felt cool and soothing on our skin. Then, off again to air dry naked as jaybirds. Only to finally be corralled, then clothed in our pajamas.
Okay. It was probably not quite like that. But something similar. I know that my parents were partners in the washing and drying and calamining and dressing. At the very least, Dad was the enforcer. Or the catcher of wayward naked children. Mom was the washer and rinser. Ever soaked by the splashing of her little angels. Then again. They probably switched roles a few times during the days of pox.
Shingles is not like that at all. No running around naked after a bath of baking soda. No calamine lotion for the itch. That is because there is no itch. At least not for me. All there is is pain. And a little rash. The pox are minor with shingles. And it would not really matter if they were itchy. For all you can feel is the pain.
I had my shingles on my face. And when I thought I was done with the major pain, all I could think of was the old kid joke. Normally it goes like this:
“Does your face hurt you?”
“Well, it is killing me.”
If you try that same joke on somebody who has shingles on his or her face, you would be sorely disappointed.
“Does your face hurt you?”
“YES! It is excruciatingly painful! It is much worse than it looks!”
“Oh. Sorry. My bad.”
“You bet it is your bad! Now go get a shingles vaccination!”
Which is why I feel like the poster child for shingles vaccinations. Shingles do not hurt anybody but the one who has shingles. And boy do they hurt. I would not wish shingles on anybody. Not even as a joke. So go get your shingles vaccination. Just tell them that the shingles poster child sent you.
© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi
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