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Where I ruminate on being sick

by John on June 17th, 2015

Those of you who know me know that I push myself pretty hard — when I’m at work, I work hard. When work out, I workout hard. When I’m not working out or at work, I rehearse/perform hard. I am my own toughest critic, and I demand a LOT of out myself.

With the latest Jurassic Park movie being released (I haven’t seen it yet, but I want to), I’m reminded of the line “life, uh, finds a way.” I’ve been pushing myself a bit harder than normal, recently. And life, uh, found a way to slow me down.

Sunday was a glorious day. I woke up early, got a small workout in, visited with a band member in order to pick up some equipment so that a community theatre friend of mine might have a keyboard to use for a musical he’s responsible for, played my last Sunday at church for the summer, dropped off the keyboard with my director friend, and went to have a 5th birthday Linner1 for Leila (all you can eat sushi, and I ensured that I got my money’s worth). Duffy had rehearsal until late at night, and with no school the next day, I kind-of let the kids dictate bedtime . . . which meant that bathtime included far more play than normal and two five year olds’ eyes closed, perhaps, a bit later than normal, but there weren’t any tantrums. It was a good day/evening.

Monday morning, my alarm went off at 4:50am, because I’m a masochist. It was raining. Hard. I looked at Benji and informed him “sorry, bud, but I’m not about to walk you in this.” My pup was not happy. However, by simply getting out of bed, my children absconded my share of the bed, so I laid myself back down in Leila’s unused bed. Benji tried, for the next 10-15 minutes, to remind me that he hadn’t been walked (he has a dog door, so he can get outside to relieve himself . . . but he’s an exuberant dog who likes his exercise) before lying down next to me. Duffy went off to the gym. She came back to find me still asleep & asked what the rash was, on my back.

I had no clue that there was a rash on my back . . . though I had a painful area, I figured that I’d done something stupid while working out, so I was dealing with some muscle pain. Upon her asking me about it, I wondered if I had bumped into something that I didn’t remember & well, this was the result2. Then she asked if I was feeling all right, and I had to answer that no, I wasn’t.

Now, I had eaten far more sushi, the previous day, than any one person has a right to eat. And I did drink a little bit of wine, but far from drinking to excess. So I wanted to blame my feeling crappy on that combination . . . but, then I found that I had a fever. So I called off of work. Then I started having some stomach issues, and decided to make a doctor’s appointment.

I sat down with my doctor3 . . . the rash/scrape on my back was the least of my worries, but was at the forefront of his. He looked at it, and had a diagnosis immediately. “Sorry, my friend, but you’ve got shingles.”

Apparently, the chickenpox virus hits a child — you get over it and it lies dormant, just chilling behind the scenes. For most everyone who had chickenpox as a child, that’s the end of the story – Valar Morghulis: All Men Must Die . . . and, when most who had chickenpox die, they never hear from the virus a second time. But, sometimes, the virus chooses to revisit.

I’m past the initial suck. My stomach has calmed down. My fever has, mostly, broken (every now & then, I check & find that I’m running a low grade fever). I’m no longer feeling the need to lie down as soon as I stand up. The rash has spread from the right side of my back to my right elbow (which is, basically, a collection of bubblegum and wire) and wrist (which the doctor speculated might happen – it would either move up my back or spread to my hand, but keep on one side of the body, as the virus attaches itself to one side of the spinal column, which is a neat bit of biology — and I’d be fascinated by how that’s even possible were it not for the stabbing pains with which I’m frequently greeted).

In short (too late, I know – hey, I’m wordy), I’ve been sidelined. This morning, I walked the dog, and that was about all the exercise I could handle. I’m going to bed early. The past two days have seen me napping a significant amount of time (I’m pretty sure I spent most of Monday asleep). Post-work activities have been put on hold. I’ve been more focused on video games than pull-ups. Honestly, going with the video game analogy, I feel like I’ve just pressed a reset button. I’ll be back to my old habits, I know that much (heck, today, I’m even back to my typical diet plan, though I’m still fighting a general lack of appetite, which *could* be related to the lack of exercise, and my body just trying to figure out what the heck is going on). I’m just hoping, when all has returned to normal my regularly scheduled life, I can remember what happens when I press myself too hard for too long.

1 Lunch/dinner
2 This is the cause of most bruises/scrapes/bumps that I get . . . something that looks nasty as a result but I have no recollection of how I might have attained said bruise/scrape/bump.
3 My vitals were all in good shape, aside from my fever . . . after years of having “borderline” high blood pressure, and talk from my doctor about possibly putting me on medication, my combination of physical fitness, diet, and meditation have lowered my average BP from 135/80 to 110/70, so that’s something, at least.
  1. Mend yourself. I’m pretty confident you’ll find your stride again – but maybe you should pin a copy of this to your desk, musical instruments, and your pullup bar…

    Life, uh, finds a way. Indeed.

    • I shall be printing it and carrying it with me. Then I shall pull it out at appropriate moments.

  2. Hope You’re feeling better soon. I have known many people that have gotten this diagnosis this past year and I know it hurts and sucks energy, that the best thing to do is rest and take good care of yourself.

    Feel better.

    • I’m starting to really get angry at how slowly I’m getting better . . . but I am getting better, little by little (stabbing pains happen less frequently, though back spasms are regular & it feels like I have a bad sunburn on parts of my back which haven’t seen sunlight in quite some time), and I’m taking it as easy as life allows.

  3. mom permalink

    It will take some time but this too shall pass. Love you. Well written.

  4. Shingles is no joke. I’m sorry you have to deal with that. Here’s hoping it doesn’t rear its ugly head too frequently. Having it adhere to one side of your spinal column is a somewhat terrifying notion. I hope you’re mentally doing okay with it all.

    • The mental aspect is what’s bothering me the most because, well, I’m *not* used to not being able to will myself to do more — typically, when I get tired, I just line up everything that has to be done, and I start going through that list. Now? There have been times that I need to lie down, let my back rest, and, this past weekend, even, take a nap — I just couldn’t go on (though that could have been copious amounts of wine influencing the next day’s activities just as much — while the shingles sucks, so does getting older, especially with a hangover)

  5. Oh, no!

    That does suck- it sucks rocks!

    Take your time allowing your body to heal…you’ll be back stronger than ever.

    Never knew that about the one side attachment thingy…wow.

    • The one side is, truly a fascinating bit of biology — again, I’d be all into being more actively fascinated by it, were it not for the suck of HAVING the illness in the first place.

      When I’m better, though (and I’m getting a little better every day . . . well, mostly, there are days that I overdo it & end up taking a step backward), I really plan to figure out how this virus works.

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