I appear to be elderly.
I thought I had at least a few more years before this happened. I am, after all, only 35.
But today I was diagnosed with shingles. Fun. I thought the irritation in my armpit was from the elastic around the sleeves of the cute top I wore last Thursday. Then when it appeared on my arm I assumed it was from the same thing.
I thought the aches and pains were completely unrelated. I told my husband that I kept expecting to come down with a fever because of the aching. But the fever never came.
But then the rash on my arm seemed to spread a bit. And today it was on my chest. So I called the doctor. By some miracle I was sitting face to face with him within the hour.
The doctor took one look at it and said it looked like shingles. But that I was a little young to get shingles. But after more discussion of my symptoms he declared that yes, indeed, it must be shingles.
Shingles occur when a person who has had the chicken pox before becomes stressed or immune depressed, and the virus, which has been lying dormant in the nerves ever since the pox, gets activated. Usually shingles occur in people over 50.
And although I can't give someone else shingles, I can give someone who hasn't had the chicken pox or the vaccine the pox.
Someone like my daughter. Or my husband.
Or the 80 or so kids I work with at the preschool.
Actually, the doctor said that it's unlikely to spread because I don't have the cough and such that's associated with chicken pox, plus the rash is (at least so far) easily covered with clothes.
Between the shingles and my hurt foot? Let's just get me a walker and get it over with, shall we?