Thursday, December 15, 2016

Happy Anniversary

Straight out of the Smithsonian.

We spent the day quietly relaxing in the RV and taking a couple strolls around the campground.  After 53 years of marriage, we’re a bit too old to get real crazy.  We spent the evening with our daughter and son-in-law and the grandkids.  Then we talked about the issue that was going to end our trip for sure.
Since just before leaving home, Jean had been suffering with an agonizing, blistering rash on her right side that both itched and burned.  Laura’s husband, Carl, is a nurse that specializes in nursing home care.  As soon as Jean brought the issue up, he looked at her and told her she had shingles.  He suggested that we go as soon as possible to the area clinic, ABC Care.
As soon as we finished breakfast the next morning, we went to the clinic where they confirmed her shingles.  They sent her to the pharmacy, and since it is contagious by contact, they also recommended that I get the vaccine.  The shot is not cheap at $120, but with our insurance, the co-pay was $28, so I was inoculated.  That is not a guarantee of immunity, but is expected to minimize the chances of contracting the shingles, as well as minimizing the severity of the outbreak if I do get them. 
I usually discount anything that some personality comes on TV promoting, but in retrospect, everything Terry Bradshaw said about shingles is true about the rash, the discomfort, and the advisability of getting the shot if you had chickenpox and are over age 60.  They said that shingles is an autoimmune problem, so illness, stress, or anything that compromises the immune system can be the catalyst that starts the shingles outbreak.  Besides the prescription she got, Jean seemed to get the greatest relief from “Anti-Monkey Butt Powder.”  It is a skin moisture and friction preventer.  So, in retrospect, I was glad that I had not taken off on the trip and left her to deal with this on her own, and certainly wasn’t going to leave her now in such discomfort.  Once started, shingles can take from a couple months to a year to clear up.
I thought of maybe getting some time on the lake, but the afternoon brought intense, severe thunderstorms, so even little Lake Opossum was not going to be a possibility this day.

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