Have you seen the commercial about shingles? You know the one that says that if you had chicken pox as a child the shingles virus may already be inside you? I know this commercial well because my son has that line memorized. He makes it a point to go up to people he knows and ask if they had chicken pox just so he can educate them on the finer points of shingles.
A couple of days after the famous overnight business trip my husband called me over and raised his shirt. “What does this look like to you?” My husband is one that rarely takes painkillers, constantly tells my children that “It’s a long way from your heart” when they are injured, and must remind people that he once had a motorcycle peg stuck through his knee and that it was cool. So when he asks for my opinion on something that is bodily related, something is wrong.
There’s something weird on his chest. It looks like a zillion bugs bit him under his, um, breast.
“Do they itch?” I ask. He nods. “Could be bug bites.”
“I don’t know” he replies, “I was thinking it was from a seatbelt that rubbed me the wrong way”. Well he WAS in a car for 26 hours in a 48 hour period.
“Would that itch though?” I think for a minute. I remember that he said he was in a very seedy part of town for this business trip. Apparently in this particular part of the country they went to, they REALLY like strip clubs. One on every corner. The hotel was surrounded by them.
“I don’t suppose it’s… bed bugs?” I shudder at this very thought. I think about how much money people spend eradicating the little dickens. How they must get rid of every soft thing in their house and put them out on the curb.
He responded with an emphatic NO.
So then we do what any person in the 21st century would do: we get on Google. I type in “itchy red raised bumps on chest”. The results? Lots of really gross pictures.
As we start trying to isolate the condition, we start coming up with every thing we can think of that would cause bumps and type it in to Google along with the word “image”. Bed bug bites, allergic reaction, rash, scabies, flea bites, shingles, chicken pox. When I got to spider bites I quit, because the pictures were just sick, and I don’t mean in a cool way.
In the coming days the rash didn’t really get any better, and the ideas about what it was just became more absurd. Rare flesh eating viruses were mentioned. At one point I even asked him if he had leprosy. Surprisingly, not once did we quote “Kindergarten Cop” during these few days (“Maybe it’s a tumor”. “It’s not a TOO-MAH!”)
Last night he remarked that it may be time to go see a doctor, since he felt that showering may have “angered it”. So far it hadn’t started talking to him, so it wasn’t an emergency. Nevertheless I promised to make an appointment for him the next day.
Late morning I got a text from him telling me he was seeing the doctor at 4. Wow, it really must be serious. So serious I forgot about it. But then again it wasn’t my skin burning and bubbling. At 4:10 I got another text “I have shingles”.
Wow, the shingles virus must really be in inside of him after all…
And the cream to treat it? With insurance a Barbie sized tube costs $33. And this guy rarely takes painkillers. Hope it’s a miracle cure.
Shockingly my son has yet to bring it up at all. Perhaps he has moved on to another commercial. If he starts talking to people about Erectile Dysfunction then I’ll start worrying.
The dog didn’t get shingles, my husband did.