If I do something I do it BIG. That includes the bad things.
It began as intense pain the size of a 1/2 dollar over my eyebrow. But when I looked there was nothing there. It felt like it was blistering from the inside out but there wasn’t even a red mark. I ignored it. Or tried to. The pain shooing in my ear and down my neck was a little harder to ignore. The headaches-those were to be expected. When my hair started hurting (seriously) I thought hmmmmmm-something may be wrong. I washed it just in case I had the dirty hair ache. When I tried to dry in and my knees buckled because it hurt so bad. Yeah. Something might not be wrong-something IS wrong. I am quick like that.
Of course it’s 9pm by the time the itching,burning and pain hit really hard. There is nothing Benadryl can’t solve so I took 2 and prepared for bed.
Turns out there is something Benadryl can’t fix-shingles. So after a miserable night I decide medical advice is necessary. I get up (cause I was certainly awake) and throw on some clothes. 8:35 and I am in the car. 8:36 I am restarting the car because why should my car stay cranked when I am trying to frantically get somewhere? Mentally move to car dilemma up in status on my “to do” list. I has asked for a sign about what to do about my car situation and by golly I guess I has just gotten one. Loud and clear I say to the heavens.
A few minutes before 9a I pull into the parking lot of the urgent care center. 2 other cars are already there. We eye one another like Indy car racers at the starting line. If I thought my car would have stayed cranked I would have revved the engine.
2 more cars pull in. One is a soccer mom all decked out in her coordinating yoga pants and new balance shoes. She has a water bottle. Who busts up into a clinic at 9am on a Saturday morning g with a chilled water bottle?!? Bet she’s a jogger. These moms usually intimidate me. ‘Not today lady, not today’.
I wasn’t the only one who spied her. In unison we all put away our phones and try to hurry out is the car to line up at the door. Note to self: if you are going to hustle out of the car take your seat belt off first.
So there are now 12 of us crowding the door like we are brides-to-be at a wedding gown clearance sale. We shift to get better positions to be first in the door. I look and try to triage the group. I want to be first but I am not going to jump in front of anyone critical. I have standards.
Luckily no one has glaring medical issues. There is a small child but he’s smiling so how sick can he be? He’s hit Cheerios and a sippy cup-he’s FINE! I pivot and bounce up in the balls of my feet like a track star at the Olympics ready to make my move. Cars continue rolling in.
Eventually the doors open and we spill in. I haven’t been here in more than a year so I get the long form. Before and after me get short forms. Dang. I sit down in the first seat available and frantically scribble my required information. I skip the previous surgery question ’cause ain’t nobody got time to try and spell appendectomy right now.
One last flourish and viola! I am done. I secure the 4th spot. Whaoo. The svelte, fully hydrates soccer mom beats me-of course. She doesn’t even look sick!
Luckily I don’t have to wait long. I am twitching and trying not to itch. I am flinching when the ear pain occurs and am holding my head in my hands. I had to be scaring the crowd that has now assembled. That might have helped get me back a little faster.
Mere minutes later I have a diagnosis- shingles. The doctor says straight up, “shingles sucks”. No, duh dude. I mention my ear pain. His eyes light up. Evidently that little tidbit of information makes my shingles ‘special.’ That’s me-I don’t do anything normal-I go straight to the oddest version of normal in everything I do. No torso rash for me-no sires bob-let’s go ahead and put it right there on my face for the world to see.
I hear the glories of what to expect-oozing blisters, weeks of pain and a warning that it would get worse before it gets better. Oh and if the top of my nose starts hurting seek immediate attention. It’s a sign it’s gotten to my eye. Ahhh-shingles-the gift that keeps on giving.
My doctor tells me the treatment plan as he backs out of the room. He pops his head back and says,”Don’t go home and get on the internet to look this up.” Which, of course, is exactly what I planned to do. “You’ll think you are dying.” Yeah- because your warnings about blindness and oozing sores certainly didn’t make me feel apprehensive at all.
I get my scripts and get excused by my 10 year old looking male nurse. I step out and there, at the computer, stands the doctor who just saw me. “Impressive,” he says turning the monitor toward me.
“You told me NOT to get on the computer!” I say. He answered that he meant it for me but not for HIM. Turns out I sparked his curiosity. That’s never a good thing-to make physician curious enough to go on WEBMD! (It wasn’t really WebMd)
My shingles have a name: (hear the Oscar Meyer theme song In your head). R-a-m-s-e-y H-u-n-t syndrome. The doctor points out to a string of symptoms. I have every single one: tongue pain (I thought I but my tongue), extreme dry mouth, ear pain and severe pain around my eye. I mumble,”Erica was right. I have entered the 9th layer of hell.” The doctor nods in agreement,”Yeah, but I gave you drugs,” he points to the screen,”and with all this you might need more!” Oh great.
“Stay off the internet,” he calls after me as I twitch my way to the check out stand. I had seen enough. No looking this up for me. I had already seen Seizure, blindness, pain
Lasting for months and on and on and on.
Go big or go home. That’s me!