Not on the walls or roof

Shingles, by Eric Verspoor on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

J woke up with a bad rash this morning. It had started as a pimple on his lip yesterday afternoon, which got angrier as time went on and by this morning, it had crept up towards his eye, and he had a headache. He’s had bad reactions to shellfish before, and he had eaten some on Friday, so we assumed that was what was going on.

I woke up in my usual fog but soon realized this day was going to be different than what we’d planned. J was going to pick up the kids from their overnight at his parents’ house and take them to a baseball game and then for Chinese food. I was going to… well, I can’t honestly remember. Maybe a bike ride? Some reading?

Instead, there was a rush to eat breakfast and get to the urgent care place by 9, when they opened, so there wouldn’t be a long wait.

J came out with unexpected news: Shingles. He hasn’t been in a lot of nerve pain, which is usually associated with shingles, but his subsequent visit to the ER confirmed that’s what it is.

I was a little concerned about my exposure to it, and the kids’ as well. But they’ve been vaccinated, and I’ve already had chicken pox. Also, even though the general consensus on all the general consensus type health websites said that “cancer patients” should be especially careful around people with shingles, it turns out that what this really means is “chemotherapy patients,” and I am not one of those.

I had a brief conversation with the doctor on call at the cancer center, who sort of rebuked me for saying I was receiving immunotherapy drugs. Apparently the drugs I am taking now, orally, are best termed targeted therapies. OK, doc. Thanks for the correction. Oops.

And by the way – I should be totally fine around J. We’ve asked his parents if they could keep the kids for another night, and J is staying home from work tomorrow. Shingles can be triggered by stress, and I wouldn’t doubt that that is underlying what felled J. I blame myself in part for the stress, of course, so I could even go as far as to say I gave him shingles… but that’s just ridiculous. And solves nothing.

It is always instructive to have the tables turn on you, so I’m going to try to muster some strength to be supportive while J rests up. It’s astonishing how much easier that is when the kids aren’t around causing general chaos.

I’m so sorry you’re sick, J. I’ll try to take as good care of you as you have of me. (Also, I was glad to have a chance to drive today. It’s been months now. I didn’t hit anything! and had zero problems parking!)

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