I’ve been feeling like vintage crap for more than a week, but put it down to the weather and whatever. I thought I got bitten by something while sitting on somebody’s garden steps in San Francisco on Friday, and just shrugged and slathered cortisone cream on the 2-to-3-inch-square rash on my left lower back. It didn’t go away, but I figured it needed more Tincture of Time, one of my favorite cure-alls. Then I noticed a few more spots a few inches higher, and then some more a few inches left of my navel, and that the skin around those was slightly numb. The rash went from being itchy to being way painful. Everything hurt. All I wanted to do was sleep.
Last night, the penny dropped. I called my doc this morning and she squeezed me into the schedule and said I was right: I have shingles.
What the fuck? What the fuckin’ fuck? Shingles??
Well, at least all those annoyances were from one thing and I’m not actually turning to sludge. Yet. I got a ‘scrip for Valcyclovir and hope I caught the clue early enough. Knowledge is a funny thing, though. Somehow when I had a name for it I expected it all to hurt less (No.) and simultaneously I went for the Vicodin and did, in fact, feel better after taking some. Oh yeah, it’s real pain and therefore should respond to a real painkiller. I have to space doses of that out some, because I still have to drive now and then. And, you know, sit up in a chair and try not to drool in polite company.
By way of consolation: Someone in the Lapsed Catholics Flickr group has scanned and posted some of those awful illustrations from the Baltimore Catechism and they’re a special sort of hilarious. Like snorting nitrous oxide with a liberal splash of mustard gas.
Posted by: Ron Sullivan