Shingles: They’re not just for old people anymore!
How did I coin this catchy new tagline for shingles marketing? As of Sunday morning, I came down with a raging case of this grown-up version of chickenpox. Known to doctors as herpes zoster, shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash due to the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox.
Chickenpox? Remember that delightfully itchy, scar-causing disease that every kid used to go through as a rite of passage? I vaguely recall the oatmeal baths, not being allowed outside to play, and my Aunt Bonnie bringing me and my cousin Ali a chickenpox cake (frosted white with red dots of icing) while we slugged it out together.
Anywho, nowadays most kids get vaccinated so they don’t have to suffer through chickenpox. On a related note, if you haven’t had chickenpox or been fully vaccinated or you are pregnant, you can get chickenpox from me — at least until these disgusting blister sore thingies heal.
So, I must suffer apart from the world, under self-imposed quarantine, while my meds do their thing and my body slowly gets better. Here’s what this means:
- I can’t go to the office. (I’m fortunate enough to have a flexible job that allows me to work remotely.)
- I can’t be around my kids — or any kids. (The doctor warned me that even if a child has been vaccinated, it’s best not to take chances while I’m contagious.)
- I can’t really go anywhere there are other people. (I did make an exception for voting yesterday, because I take that pretty seriously. I did keep a respectable distance from my fellow voters.)
- I’m totally relying on my husband and others to do everything for my kids — including school dropoffs/pickups, meals, getting dressed, baths* and all those parental duties I’m used to managing.
Currently, I’m staying nearby with my parents, who both had chickenpox as children and were recently vaccinated against shingles. Thank God I have this option. Otherwise, I think I’d have to temporarily move into a Holiday Inn or something.
I have to admit, it’s kind of nice to be free from my daily onslaught of working mom responsibilities. I can just sit and drink coffee, watch Netflix and check email. No one is demanding anything from me.
I do get distracted by these dang shingles (they hurt and itch something fierce!) but otherwise, my parents’ house is so quiet and calm. I get to witness my parents’ leisurely retired lifestyle in its full, endless-stretches-of-time-to-do-whatever glory. I’m also trying to help them with some technical issues (hello, wifi?!) They make me soup. It’s nice.
But oh my Lord, how I miss hugging and kissing my kids and Hubs. I mean, I’ve never had to go this long without physical contact with the people I love so dearly. Facetime is great, but not the same.
And to a lesser extent, I miss being around my coworkers and just, ya know, people. I’m a people person by nature, and this quarantine business is getting old FAST.
So if you need me, I’ll just be here, sitting like an old person with an afghan on my lap (and like a young person with a laptop and iPhone on hand), waiting for shingles to not be contagious anymore. Comments are welcome, encouraged and anxiously awaited!