Once more, with feeling!

This night feels like is was months ago, but it was two weeks. We got all fancied up and went to Severance Hall to see the Cleveland Orchestra perform Mozart’s Requiem. It was a fantastic night.

But everything after that was overshadowed a great big ol’ stupid problem with my health. When Covid left in February, it left behind such a mess in my immune system that we got a squatter moved in! At the golden age of 43, I got my first case of Shingles. I was in so much pain leaving the orchestra that I was hobbling as I walked. Thankfully, it just looked like I couldn’t walk in my heels, but it felt like I had a pinched nerve in my hip. So classy.

You know how you sit on your foot too long and get pins and needles? Not that. But when you go “Aw, heck, my foot’s asleep,” and then move so the blood can flow properly, but then the cat comes up and rubs up against your leg because he thinks you’re about to get up and feed him and it hurts like someone smashed your leg between a skyscraper and a planet? Yep. It hurt like that. All the time.

It wasn’t until the rash started that I actually knew what I was dealing with. It was upon discovery of said rash that I flew down the stairs screaming “I have the GODDAMN SHINGLES!” and Kyle worried briefly for my mental health before remembering I was already batshit crazy so this was totally on brand.

At the ER an hour later, the doctor came in all smug-like and says “Oh, so you think you have Shingles? How do you know? Did you google it?” I looked in his smug eyes (because he was wearing a mask, quite responsibly) and said “I don’t know, you tell me.” And then dropped my pants and mooned him.

Because the rash was on my butt. But also, because his smuggy smugness can kiss my ass.

He dropped that smug tenor as soon as he got an eye-full of that rash because–LO, AND BEHOLD–I actually know what Shingles look like and I DID INDEED have a Shingles rash…regardless of whether or not Dr. Google was involved.

I fully expected his next question because it was a point of disbelief for me, too. “How old are you again?”

So, I’m 43. I have no shame about my age. I’m proud of every gray hair I grow. But it’s so rare for someone my age to get Shingles that you don’t even qualify for the vaccine until you turn 50. Add onto that that I don’t look 43, that I could easily pass for 35ish, and all the way around, no one wants to believe I have Shingles.

But I did, and I do. I got the high-five from my doctor that I’m no longer at risk for spreading Chicken Pox to…people born before 1995 who didn’t get it before, or anyone whose parents didn’t give them the varicella vaccine because…whatever reason…I guess polio and measles are just fake news. Pfft.

With Shingles in the rear view (That’s a pun, kids, because it’s on my butt cheek!) it’s time to get a move on our spring plans. We are currently in the middle of a big windstorm that has already knocked down roughly 10 trees in our woods. We knew we’d have to clean up one, but now it looks like a full week of work, with 8 hours of wind still to go. I’m sure Kyle’s happy now I learned how to use a chainsaw.

There’s also a Dumpster taking up space in my driveway as we are doing a No Mercy Blitz through the basement, garage, and workshop. To have those areas clean is going to free up a lot of mental bandwidth for us both. We’ve just accumulated a bunch of other people’s junk over the years, with the intention to repurpose it into…something. After a decade, if we haven’t built it yet, we’re likely not going to. So, we let it go.

And then ALL EVERYTHING ELSE now takes a backseat to the Quill Cottage Chainsaw Extravaganza that is about to take place.

I wonder if there’s a “frequent flyer” discount for the ER. Oof. I’ll be back?

2 responses to “Once more, with feeling!”

  1. My mother had shingles and my son got it when he was 5 years old, because he didn’t have a severe enough case of chicken pox. When they offered me the shingles vaccine, I didn’t even hesitate but took it immediately. Fingers crossed that it works. I’m very sorry for your pain.


    1. I was 14 when I got Chicken Pox so my case was…awful. I think I’d almost rather have Shingles again than have to go through what I did with Chicken Pox. Oof. Thankfully, it has passed now so we’re back to business as usual!


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About Nicole

A writer since she was old enough to hold a crayon, Nicole spends a large portion of her day communing with the voices in her head. When she’s not writing, she’s likely engaging in some other creative outlet, such as gardening, cooking, painting, or screaming into the void. She lives at Quill Cottage with her husband and more animals than the city would probably like.


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