A pox upon me.

I like to make stuff. Probably too much. I can sit at my tiny desk in the corner of Jack’s old room, oblivious to the workmen ripping our kitchen apart, wiener dogs napping on my feet, frittering away hours on an edit or a paragraph until Jenny pounds on the door and tells me I absolutely have to take a break or I will be crippled by sciatica. Sitting, she yells through the door crack, is the new smoking.

I’m not always efficient. I can piss away time looking for a new plugin for an app or watching YouTube how-to videos or reading a whole book which I just wanted to consult for a quote. But I like to think that all this meandering is filling my well and making sure that the lion that brings me great ideas will eventually yawn, stretch, see me with my head down and drop some inspiration in my lap. Usually works.

ABBW cover proof Over the last month and a half though I have felt distracted. Still about 80% productive, but distracted. We got married and that took up some time. We are doing our kitchen which requite a ridiculous number of decisions and visits to Home Depot. We are just about to launch a new kourse at SBS which takes a lot more work than you probably think it does. Shut Your Monkey is out and about. And I just got the cover proof for my next book which will be coming out before you know it.

But this number of balls in the air  is pretty normal for me. The only problem is that one of those balls is on fire (which sounds like an ad for Cruex).

It all began half way through my visit to Vietnam when I began to feel a tenderness in my ribs. I thought it came from leaning too hard against the edge of my desk but it persevered. Then, on one of the last days I was there, I woke up with a Braille-like rash splayed across my chest. We were having a sketchcrawl that morning and one of the sketchers was the school nurse. She looked at the rash and diagnosed it immediately: shingles. She got me some ointment at the pharmacy, and we went off to draw.

The next day the rash was worse and the ointment didn’t seem to being helping. To make things more interesting, I had to spend 24 hours at the back of a plane flying home to New York. I saw my NY doctor first thing the next day but he said it was too late to do much about it. The antiviral pill I should have taken when I got the first symptoms wouldn’t help at this point and I’d just have to ride it out.

It’s been a long ride. Tomorrow it’ll be five weeks since that day in Hanoi. I spent a few days in bed because if I am run down the symptoms are worse. My rash turned into blisters that eventually drained and left me without a few layers of skin and my nerves in a jangle. On my wedding day, my heart was full but my chest was sizzling. Each day it gets better but there have been a lot of days and there are probably a few score to go.

Shingles do lots of things. Sometimes they feel like someone has belted a bunch of Brillo pads to my chest. Other times they ache or tickle or go numb. I can have sensation in one place that moves to another. It’s totally unpredictable.  Basically they get on my nerves which are like a bunch of rogue electrical cables flailing and sending sparks through my rib cage. Oddly, when I just lay my hand on my skin, it reorients them and they simmer down, at least for a while.

I’ve had acupuncture, taken Vitamin B complex, rubbed on tubs of cocoa butter — but it seems that time is the best medicine. And I have to use my time wisely, not overdoing things, and being patient.  Of course, taking it easy isn’t me, but Jenny’s at the door. I gotta take a break.

I have refrained from sharing this with you for a while because I think there’s nothing more boring than talking about your health. But I did want you to know that I have lots of ideas for what I want to write about here, more than just ads for books and kourses — but for now, they’ll have to just keep simmering in the old brain pan.


P.S. Happy BD, PL!

 

66 thoughts on “A pox upon me.”

  1. very sorry to hear that you’ve been living with shingles – they can be pretty awful – though some lucky people get fairly mild cases. I’d been thinking about getting the vaccine for a couple of years after my husband had them – and then when a younger friend got them last fall, I went for the shot.
    hope your recovery goes quickly with no residual after effects!

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    1. Good idea. I shall probably get the vaccine when I am cured so as to avoid reliving this. It’s usually recommended for those over 65 — but I have always been precocious.

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      1. If they let you get the vaccine. I got shingles this year and the doctor said it was due to stress. Luckily I did catch it pretty much right away but it was so painful all I could do for almost two weeks was stay in bed and take painkillers. My doctor says I am too young to get the vaccine, but I have been doing a lot to reduce stress. I hope you remember to get some rest in, too, and heal quickly!

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        1. Will look at the comments, and will be following the story. I want the vaccine as soon as I am allowed. It was awful, and some people have it worse. Writer Anne Rice is getting over it, and she had it near her eye which can be really bad.

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  2. Sorry to hear that you’ve been unwell. I know how frustrating it is to have to make yourself rest when you’d much rather be getting on with other stuff. I hope Jenny keeps reminding you to take care of yourself and that you feel better soon. Looking forward to hearing about your ideas once they’ve finished simmering.

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  3. You’re actually doing all of us a service, and you write so well anyway. This was a pleasure to read! Both my parents had shingles at the same time. I had a blood test to see if I’d had chicken pox. Had. So I got the shingles vaccine. Can’t get my husband to do that. Will not be happy wife if he gets it. Thanks for the post.

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  4. OMG I had that on my face in my early 40s – it is miserable. It takes time and more rest and being calmer and less busy than I liked (or knew how to do). I am so sorry! Health stuff is scary shit and it is good to share….especially since we all have stuff – or we will in the future. View it as role-modelling…:)
    Merci!
    I love the “sitting is the new smoking”!!

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  5. A few years ago my athletic and healthy young son, about 23, caught shingles after a flight to China. So I guess the immune system takes a real hit with overseas flights. He had caught chicken pox as a baby and I guess it just sits in hibernation waiting to ambush the victim. Take care!

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  6. Oh no! Muy simpatico, Danny! My husband had them last year, as did a close friend and they are clearly a new kind of fresh hell for the sufferer. I’m glad to read that you’re resting and being well cared for by your sweet bride. May they clear up soon, and may your ideas wait patiently for renewed energy & health. Thank you for ALL you do to encourage and bless others. You are in our family’s prayers!

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  7. Hope getting better comes soon for you. Your posts are always welcome at my place. Having ideas and nurturing them and yourself is the way to go. Looking forwards to Polishing. Oh and 80% productive is really good. And a wedding has nothing to do with productivity (at least not in the thing on my list to check off way). Keep enjoying your journey even if you traveled through shingles. You have me thinking about asking for the vaccine something I do not like to do.

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  8. I had the shot about a year before I broke out with shingles, so I had a “mild” case. Hurt like heck! Hope you improve quickly now.

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  9. You are the 7th adult that I know that has shingles. Apparently there is a vaccine that you can get when you are 50. I highly recommend it to everyone because it is so painful to experience them. I’m sorry to hear that you were nabbed buy the virus!

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  10. Ooh ouch, listen to Jenny, rest up and get well very soon. It can be hard to be patient with your body but sometimes your body doesn’t give you a choice. If it’s making you take time out then maybe time out is what you need – and who knows what amazing ideas all that extra simmering time will produce…

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  11. Be careful and pay attention to Jenny! 30 years ago I would have benefited from knowing the importance of learning from what your body is trying to tell you. If I’d slowed down and been gentler with myself perhaps I wouldn’t have ended up with ME/CFS for the rest of my life. Perhaps. (One never knows. And I hate talking about my health too but there are times when it can help others.) Give yourself plenty of rest and you’ll get better. (My husband has had shingles so I know what it’s like). And many, many congratulations on getting married and on all your exciting creative projects!

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  12. So sorry, Danny! Been there and done that. It’s awful. I made a mixture of Aloe Vera and vitamin E oil, which soothed the fire some. Hope you are well soon!

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  13. My Mom got it in a nerve on her head running down into her eye. The pain was intense and her head so swollen I didn’t recognize her in the doctor’s office. Since she was in her late 70’s it just seemed so bad. The vaccines are $250 so I don’t get one but everyone that says they had it has said borrow the money and get the vaccine. So sorry for you and hope time goes quickly.

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    1. I think Medicare covers it. I don’t believe I paid anything. A perk for getting older. Check it out.

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  14. Shingles is no joke…glad to read you’re finally on the mend. Take care, and I’m looking forward to “Polishing”. P.S. I’ve often wondered about your work space 🙂

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  15. Karen’s story of her 23 year old son getting shingles CAN be topped. My grandson got it at 7 years old.
    He contracted chicken pox as a tiny infant (most unusual of course) and his shingles attacked his face, neck and scalp. The poor kid! Of course his mother had no idea what was happening at first as this is SO unusual. But doctors finally nailed it down and of course by then, like you, he had to ride it out. I had my shingles shot the DAY I turned 65 but I have heard that doesn’t completing protect me. Hopefully it would be a much lighter case. One would hope. I am so sorry you had this on your wedding day. Bummer! I am so glad you shared. I agree one does not want to whine too much on a blog but this was right to share! Get better soon.

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  16. An integrative doc rx’d sub q vitamin b 12 shots to me a couple years ago, cleared up fast. They were easy to do, didn’t hurt with the insulin needles and was cheap. Just a fyi for anyone else.

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  17. Shingles is a real Bugger! And your drawing depicts the rash perfectly, which I suspect is of no consolation at all 😉

    I didn’t even know there was a vaccine, although I think once you’ve had it, it stays in your system f’rever. Sorry. I had it when I was 20 and it recurs now and then when I’m stressed out, often as cold sores. My body telling me I’ve overdone it.

    So look after you Danny, and listen to Jenny! All your friends out here on the other side of the screen care about YOU first and foremost; more of your wonderful work we’re happy to wait for.

    Sending love and a virtual tub of something soothing. xx

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  18. My mother has had shingles pain for over 10 years now. Her doctor has told her it is not going away. I got the vaccine as soon as I turned 60. The research was done on older patients which is why they supposedly won’t give it to you until you are 60. I had already had a mild case of shingles in my 50’s which only lasted a few weeks. But the pain is intense and who wants to go through it again? Hope you are one of the “normal” cases that don’t last for too long.

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  19. Been there, don’t that. Not interested in a repeat. Had quit my job, moved, gotten a new job, and my Mom passed away, all in the course of 13 months. All I wanted to do was SLEEP. And have somebody tell me when food was ready to eat. Once this passes, Danny, get the shot. Once is bad enough. Twice is tragic. And we don’t need no more drama. Let the monkeys have the shingles the next time. And rest!

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  20. Hi Danny,…Glad you shared this. Its awful to deal with shingles. Ive had it and the best solution is to put a paste of bentonite clay on it and wrap saran wrap around it so the clay stays moist to pull out the toxins.. vit e oil also helps. However putting colloidal silver on it (1-2x/day) will kill the root of it. All advice from an MD that won’t prescribe prescription drugs or the vaccine. The vaccine is not a good thing and doesn’t help much. People who have had the vaccine can get it just as bad as without it and who needs the toxins from it.

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  21. So sorry to hear you have shingles. I too know what you are going through. You will feel better. It just takes a while. Please look after yourself. Pass them on to your monkey and see how he likes it!

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  22. Oooooo! Bad news!! Sending wishes for healing and hope you are soon well! Do take care and tell Jenny to be firm with you and make you take those breaks! Sending love to you both!!! Hope the kitchen project goes well!

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  23. I feel for you. I’ve had Ross River Virus for 14 months now and it’s quite a process working around an illness which essentially you can nothing about. It’s also gets really boring talking about it, which then makes people forget about it. Then you want to remind them because you feel sick and sad, then you feel like a whinger… I just keep reminding myself there are plenty of people way worse off. And on the whole it is improving so I just need to be patient. And on the positive, it has reminded me of the bliss of a couch weekend (thank god for Netflix). I really hope you feel better soon 🙂

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  24. Believe me – I know from personal experience what you are going through. Shingles is not fun. Hope you get relief soon.

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  25. You’re right – talking about health can be very boring…just hang out with a group of women of a certain age! But I feel for you; shingles is awful…and can recur. So take care Danny. BTW looking forward to the new course.

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  26. Thank you for puns. Who can resist reading a post that starts “a pox upon me” and proceeds with illustration of poultrygeist.? Not us. Thank you, Nancy & Annabel Greene

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  27. I’m so sorry you got hit with this. Sounds way to invasive and painful. Be gentle with yourself. No to vaccines. Yes, to healthy eating, movement and regular good hours of SLEEP. I imagine the traveling is the biggest culprit. (I mean how does someone do 24 hours on a plane? EEK!) My best to you for a speedy recovery. Cheerios

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  28. I had shingles around my neck- looked like I’d survived a hanging…. Misery and pain! Talk about a pain in the neck!!! However, I did recover and got the shingle vaccine to prevent / lessen another episode. Vaccines save peoples’ lives. Get well Danny, we need you and your creative muse.

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  29. Almost all of us have to go through something or other as we age. Your description of shingles (I had a mild case once) sounds much of what I endure daily–I have chronic severe psoriasis. So you can be thankful that your condition will eventually clear up. But it is a misery while it’s there–take care of yourself! Love to you.

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  30. Acyclovir (or valcyclovir)should be started within 72 hours of onset of the rash and can be helpful for preventing post herpetic neuralgia. Post herpetic neuralgia is painful & lasts for a long time. Gabapentin also helps with nerve pain.
    Ask your doctor about these medications even if you missed the first 72 hours.

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  31. Oooh, I feel for you! I got shingles when I was traveling, too. Thought I had gotten into poison ivy at first. By the time I got home, it was almost too late to take the anti-virals, but the doc gave them to me anyway. I felt crummy and run down for almost a month. After the blisters healed, I would still feel some pain, though not as bad, especially when I was tired or run down for years afterward. That weird pain on my ribs became a cue to myself that I was overdoing it again. Eventually even that reminder pain slowly has faded away. Good luck, and keep resting when you need to! Your body is telling you something.

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  32. Best and fast healing to you, Danny. It has to be annoying as hell to feel even one feather on a wing has been clipped. You have been a glaring reminder of the shot my hubby keeps reminding me to get . . . thank you!

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  33. By the number of comments, it seems everybody has had it, is about to have it or knows somebody who does have it. When a number of people in my immediate or extended family got shingles I was medically paranoid enough to go to my doctor for the vaccine. I know it can be a misery – hope that it’s on the wane soon.

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  34. This can be serious misery! Hope you recover quickly.

    For the rest of us over a certain age, perhaps the shingles vaccine should be considered…

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