Shingles came up at one point. But we discounted it because twenty-five year olds don't get shingles.
On about the 7th or 8th day (a Monday, if you're wondering), my mom called the doctor and told them about the rash and they said they would work me in.
I texted my sister telling her that I was going to the doctor for my rash - if it was shingles, I would have to miss my nephew's baptism.
The nurse did all the normal things (weight, blood pressure, pulse, dissolved oxygen in the blood, temperature - even though I had been in for a regular check up just over a week earlier - before the rashes) before asking why I was there. She asked questions: how long had I had it; where was it; had I been exposed to poison ivy; had I been around anyone with a similar rash; had I had a fever or headache; had I changed detergents or soaps lately; did it itch, burn or sting; had I had chicken pox as a child?
Yes, twice, minor outbreaks when I was two. She took notes on where the rash was - just on the right side? Yes.
She said the doctor would be in in a minute. I knew what the questions were pointing to.
Twent-five year olds don't get shingles.
Soon the P.A. came in. He had seen me the last time I was here and he said something about how it hadn't been long. Then "Ouch." Took a step into the room. "That's shingles."
I hadn't been surprised. I had already composed the facebook status in my head "somehow 25 year old me went out and got shingles." In fact, despite my mental protestations, I had been expecting this.
He asked me why I had taken so long to come in. I told him we were convinced it was poison ivy. He said, "Doubt is the best medicine."
He prescribed an anti-viral (2 pills 5x a day) and a steroid (4 pills for 3 days, 3 pills for 3 days, so on...). He told me the steroid was for my nerves to decrease the inflammation. He told me that if my rashes didn't start to dry up and were reappearing to refill the anti-viral.
He told me if the rash was gone, but I still had pain in the area in four weeks to come back and we would put me on something for nerve pain. Some people who get shingles get a complication called post-heretic neuropathy which means they still have nerve pain after the rash has subsided.
He told me we were more worried about my nerves than the rashes. He told me to avoid pregnant women and young children. The blisters contain the active phase of the virus. He told me to keep it covered in the sun, because the photons can cause scarring. He took careful notes of the rashes's locations. He found me a coupon for the anti-viral. My mom paid (I currently don't have insurance or a job). We went to the pharmacy to fill the prescription.
When I got home, I cried. I was disappointed to miss my nephew's baptism. And even though I was mentally prepared, I really deeply hoped that I had a bad case of poison ivy that could easily be knocked out. And maybe I was a little nervous about developing complications because I had waited seven days to go in when they want you to go in within three.
Twenty-five year olds can and do get shingles.
To be continued . . .