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.


About epsnider

E.P SNIDER is the pen name that I used to publish "WHY ME- a memoir". I used a pen name so as not to embarrass my spouse, my offspring, their offspring, my grand dogs and my friends. A dream came true when I had my first book published at the age of sixty-nine. "WHY ME? "is a collection of memoirs recounted from various stages of my life and the lives of those that I love or like at least some of the time. Most of the incidences are humorous-some are not. I am a senior but I feel more like a junior except for the aches and pains. When I look in the mirror I often see my mother or some other aging lady with wrinkles and sun spots. The amount and depth of wrinkling depends on which mirror I am looking into, the degree of lighting and how well my skin absorbed the moisturizing cream that day. Although I am mature in years, maturity is definitely not one of my virtues. If something strikes me as funny I get the giggles. Most of my family and many of our friends have a rather warped sense of humour-so I giggle a lot. Laughter plays an important role in our lives. My friends were a significant inspiration for me to begin my writing career. For the past number of years hubby and I have been spending part of the winter season in Florida to escape the sometimes bitter cold climate in Toronto Canada. Every year I send emails to those left behind. To my delight they find my emails to be hysterical and a cure for their winter doldrums. They compare my style of writing to that of the late Erma Bombeck. For those of you not familiar with the author-- she was a beloved American humorist in the 1970's and 1980's. I have loved literature and creative writing from an early age. I spent some of my growing up years in Alberta and won a prize for a best poem commemorating Alberta's bicentennial year. My grade seven teacher was a large and forceful woman, with white hair and course bristly white chin hairs to match. We were all intimidated by her and thus listened intently as she drilled us about parsing sentences and adverbs and adjectives. She provided me with a good basis of the English language. In addition to "Why Me" I have had a short essay published in a book of assorted memoirs by Canadian woman. I currently write for our Toronto Condominium newspaper. I hope to do more writing, although I am not sure if my family can cope with any more of my meltdowns when blocks of written material mysteriously disappear off of my computor. I admit I am computor and electronically challenged, but I will persevere. - - - - - - - - - - - Writing has been a passion of mine through out my life. Ever since I took a step forward and entered into the world of computers, a new world of opened up for me. I found myself engrossed in writing emails with lengthy updates about my life's recent highlights. To my delight, people found me...funny! I then offered to write for my condo newsletter, and I recently had a short memoir published. For the last several years I became glued to my computer, transferring my hand-written life adventure notes to an actual story of my life's defining moments. Finally, at the age of 69, I was done... I wrote a book! AND it's actually published. People are reading it. People are enjoying it. I am thrilled! Plus, it's one of the greatest gifts I could ever give my family. Talk about a dream come true. My advice to you: Think positive, keep your eye on the prize, and you too can enjoy as your dreams and desires come to fruition.
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  1. LOL. Enjoyed your story of the battle with the bugs that weren’t there. I’ve had many bouts of shingles beginning in my early teens, but the worst case was in my eyes. It was extraordinarily painful and can destroy your corneas. Bad stuff, but I’ve certainly had worse illnesses. As for the bed bugs, I’ll take the shingles any day over that. Thanks for sharing. Good information for those unfamiliar with this illness.


    • epsnider says:

      Hi Elizabeth

      Sorry you had shingles in your eyes. My friend’s husband had a horrific case in his eyes, and my son who is an optometrist warned me that if I ever get it in my eyes to seek medical help immediately.My shingles are nearly gone, but I spent a few hours in the emergency room of our nearest hospital on the weekend to check out classic symptoms of a heart attack. Fortunately it wasn’t my heart. They suspect it was probably muscular.
      I continue to enjoy your posts.


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