THE BLOG
02/21/2014 11:29 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Bing-ing Shingles

What a mundane affliction. Don't get it. Here's what happened:

I have a few mild skin issues. My back started itching, I felt a rash or something back there, didn't peek in a mirror, simply slapped on prescription cream, tried to forget about it.

And there were weird not-that-bad pains around the side of my gut and lower back. I ignored them.

The more cream I slapped on, the worse it got. Not that there was a connection. It would've gotten worse with or without the cream.

Then the rash started spreading across my side and felt like it was heading for my stomach. More useless cream.

Finally, I exposed myself to my more-significant-than-I-am other. She practically screamed. "Have you looked at this?"

"No. That's why I'm showing it to you. So you'll faint dead away, not me."

"Let's get a mirror."

"Why be so low-tech? Take a picture with your smartphone. Use the panoramic lens."

"...Come into the kitchen where there's more light."

I bent a bit over the table, pulled up my sweatshirt, pulled down my pants a bit.

"You don't have to pull your pants down, it's not on your butt."

At my age it's hard to tell where anything is, where body parts begin or end. Everything is just one big blob. I pulled up my pants.

"Not that high," she said. "Now you're covering part of it."

She adjusted things back there. Then clicks and flashes. We scrolled through fifty pics of my blotched and reddened torso.

2014-02-20-shingles2.jpg

"Something tells me something's wrong with me," I said.

"Where's your cream?"

She slopped on more cream.

The next day it was worse. She texted me from work: You have shingles.

Apparently, she'd been showing the pictures to everybody in the office and someone said it was shingles, they had it once.

Shingles was not on my radar. Old people get shingles. Then I remembered I was old.

I Googled shingles. I Bing-ed shingles. I Yahooed! shingles. It all fit, except it didn't hurt that much. Maybe it wasn't shingles.

Five hours later, it was shingles. Multiple shooting pains. It was like having a half-dozen kidney stones.

I went to the doctor. "You have shingles," she said, and gave me a prescription for an antiviral.

"What about the pain?"

"Take an aspirin."

That wasn't going to happen. Like a good child of the sixties, I'd squirreled away some meds -- saving them for having fun someday. It horrified me when I realized that I was going to end up wasting them on pain.

And I had a slight fever. I didn't feel well at all. No energy. Being lazy anyway, at least it wasn't interrupting my life style.

On the phone with my S/O's daughter:

"You should write about shingles."

"Why? It's boring and there's nothing funny about it."

"But nobody writes about having it."

"That's because it's boring. I'm bored even thinking about writing about it."

It's been three weeks and I still have it. Trust me, it's boring. So boring that I have nothing better to do than to write about it.