Why?- you ask, am I thankful to have shingles? I am really not happy to have shingles, but let me start at the beginning. A couple of weeks ago I awoke with what looked like mosquito bites on my stomach, an area on my back and some hiding under a flab of fat on my side We do not have mosquitos this time of year so my immediate reaction was “Oh no, we have bed bugs”. My husband didn’t have any rash but I thought that might be because my blood tastes better than his. When I googled bed bugs it said to look for little black flecks on the sheets. I found a couple of little black flecks on the sheets. A few days later I realized that these little black specks were actually bits of fluff from warm wooly black socks that I sometimes wear to bed. I know, I know -wearing black wooly socks to bed isn’t very feminine–but to be truthful, at my stage in life, warm feet take precedence over looking feminine.
Despite hubby’s protests I dragged him to Canadian Tire where we spent a small fortune on a portable steamer, bed bug spray, and bed bug powder. I washed bedding and clothes in scalding hot water, shrinking some clothes in the process. Rationally I know there shouldn’t be a stigma in having bed bugs. It can happen to anyone. It can arrive at a household via a library book, on a piece of clothing that brushed against someone or something where the little critters were waiting to hitch a ride to some place that inhabited a warm body. They can’t fly. As I said I rationally know one shouldn’t be stigmatized for bed bugs, but I stigmatized myself. Oh, I was so ashamed. To make matters worse we live in a condominium complex. I knew ethically I had to inform the property manager. Would my neighbours most whom I consider friends ostracize me? If the whole building and all units had to be professionally de bugged , would we be financially responsible?
Over the next day or two there were no more bumpy rashes but it felt like knitting needles were being shoved into me. It was painful. Most of this took place on the weekend. I decided not to go to a walk-in clinic but rather to wait until Monday to see my doctor. My luck. -My doctor took off for the month and I ended up at a walk-In clinic on Monday. However the doctor on duty was excellent and highly qualified. She diagnosed me as having shingles. I wasn’t too surprised because I realized that the symptoms I was having were not consistent with bed bug bites. I was injected with the shingles vaccine just two years ago. This is probably why I have a relatively mild case. The pain has mostly subsided. The rash is still there but it is fading. But the itching is driving me crazy. I am on medication and use a cortisone anti itch cream. I also find that applying a cold compress really helps. If anybody suspects that they have shingles seek medical advice immediately because if it is diagnosed within 48 hours it can be treated with an anti viral medication that greatly alleviates and shortens the shingles experience.
I googled shingles on the internet and learned that you can not catch shingles. If a person has had chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in the body and if triggered by something like stress it emerges as shingles. This usually happens to older persons. There is a very remote possibility that chicken pox can be caught from someone who has shingles. The criteria for this is that the person has never had chicken pox and must have direct contact with an open lesion from the one with shingles. From google I also earned the pros and cons of different types of roof shingles.
A benefit from this experience is: If bed bugs come for a visit I am ready for the little buggers– so bed bugs beware.