shingles update

Two months later, my body feels weak and stiff. My right shoulder is still sore, sometimes to the point of waking me up at night. I get tired easily. Clearly, my nervous system is still a disputed territory.

I’ve been reading a lot about shingles since I got sick.

The incidence of shingles has been increasing. Some people think that’s because kids are getting vaccinated for chickenpox, which keeps adults from being exposed to periodic booster doses of the chickenpox virus. The CDC says that’s probably not why. I like the idea that I might have been providing a valuable public service by walking around with undiagnosed shingles and inadvertently exposing people to the chickenpox virus, so I guess I like to think the CDC may be at least partly wrong.

After an episode of shingles, there’s an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Apparently it takes about 27 weeks for the risk to return to baseline. Not great news, but it supports my observation that it takes a really long time to fully recover.

So if you’ve had shingles in the last few months, be patient and kind with yourself.

Sleep when you need to. Drink lots of water. Eat lots of vegetables. Get down on the floor and stretch five times a day like you’ve just converted to a new religion and this is how you’re supposed to pray. I am aware that this is easy to say, and not-so-easy to do. This advice is for me, as much as for anyone else.

And if you haven’t been sick, be patient and kind with yourself anyway. Because if you keep flogging yourself, you may get sick.

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