I had fairly mild cases of Shingles twice before, but this stronger bout of Shingles is teaching me a few things about Shingles:
- It can cover a lot of the chest and back (not just a spot or two, but quite a few spots).
- It can spread to the face.
- It hurts to wear clothes over the Shingles area – like wearing winter clothing on a severe sunburn.
- The infected areas feel like I pulled muscles in those areas, so in addition to having a sunburn it feels like I pulled something in my back, chest and arm.
- It hurts to style my hair (literally, running my hand through my hair hurts my head).
- There are random shooting pains (like someone is stabbing a knife) at random spots in my body that last for a few minutes or more, move to another spot, then return again. The worst of these is in my ear, which makes me wince involuntarily.
- I am sweating profusely. I literally had sweat dripping from my ear just from standing for 15 minutes.
- I want to sleep.
- After 8 days, it is still going strong (the blisters have stopped growing and spreading but otherwise 8 days in I still feel the same I did on Day 1).
On the plus side, I always have aches and pains and fatigue, so in some ways Shingles impacts me less that way than it otherwise would.
It has been a little challenging to be around friends and family this week, as everyone is up in arms about Donald Trump being elected. Emotions are running very high, and people are posting all kinds of stuff and going to the protests and professing strong emotions/crying. We are a funny breed – people are in near hysterics about our President, but with a few exceptions I heard little more than chitchat when I went through my serious lung disease five years ago (i.e. some family was there (especially my sister), my wife and kids were there of course, and a few friends reached out, but I definitely didn’t see an outcry 🙂 ). Again, we are a funny breed – someone we know goes through a serious illness and we send a few “let me know if I can do anything” notes, but Donald Trump is elected and there is an outpouring of emotion. It is hard not to feel something about that, in essence that my life is less important to most people than the presidential election. Kind of strange to think about, and again gives me a sense of perspective as to how much to invest of myself in those people around me. And that I have to be my own best ally and best friend, and can’t invest my sense of self-worth in the emotions or care of the broader base of people in my life.
From my perspective, Donald Trump is less real and less scary to me as a person than the disease that lurks in my lungs and which can erupt at any time. Donald Trump might be crazy, but he is far less likely to kill or maim me than the lung. Thus, I feel a little less emotionally invested than the devestated people around me.