So, three or four years ago, I was diagnosed with gout. Yeah, that weird inflammatory condition you get if you're a 50-year old man who eats too many cream sauces and drinks too much beer. At 29, about a month after having run a half-marathon, a doctor looked me in the face and said I had gout. Turns out he mis-diagnosed me, but not after I took a regimen of pills that knocked me out for 3-4 hours each time I took one. But even after all that, I was profoundly relieved to find I'd been mis-diagnosed. How could I have gout?
Sunday, I found myself in urgent care near my parents' house because I was getting freaked out by what I thought was a spider bite. Except within four days, it had spread so it looked like a spider walked across my belly to my back, taking bites as he walked. Bites that were getting kind of...hurty. I was going to be in Chicago for two more days and it was clear my strategy of lifting my shirt and asking my sister, "hey, does this look like a bug bite to you?" wasn't helping. Turns out, I have shingles. Yep, shingles. The emergency room doc said that they're seeing cases in a lot more people these days. But I still had - and am still having - kind of the same reaction I had to the gout diagnosis. How could I get shingles? Who the hell gets shingles?
Turns out, pretty much anybody can get shingles. It just happens, it's the chicken pox virus, pretty much anyone can get it, blah blah blah. Basically the viral version of crappy luck. But still. That didn't make me feel any less weird when I had to call friends to cancel plans because of my shingles. And it's not gonna help when I have to go to work tomorrow to explain why I'm leaving early after being gone for four days (follow-up doctor's appointment! For the shingles!). Oh, right, and two weeks ago I was knocked flat with a respiratory infection and missed a full week of work then too. But now? I have shingles, so I'm gonna be MIA for a little bit again. Hey, sorry about that.
In a few months I'll think it's totally funny that I had shingles. But right now? It's uncomfortable and frustrating and I just can't find the funny in it.