Thursday, 12 November 2009

Sssshhhhh....


That's not sssshhhhh as in library-speak (sorry Karen - I know that's a cliche) or sssshhhhh as in a truncated expletive - nooo, it's sssshhhhh as in shingles - because I've got 'em.

Ooooh... Now I feel really, really old - even though everyone assures me that you can get shingles at any age, it still sounds like An Old Person's Thing to me...

And I didn't even know. I assumed the flu-ish feelings and the pain I've had for the last couple of weeks in my neck, shoulder and back was a combination of a bit of a cold and a pulled muscle. Okay, I was feeling a bit woozy and the pain was a funny tingly burning sensation - but even so... Then my shoulder and neck and back started hurting a lot. And I itched - and I scratched - and that hurt even more.

Now I don't know about you, but I never really look at my back - it's a sort of no go area. I can't see it much to be truthful, even if I wanted to, even in the mirror, so I couldn't see what was going on - just feel it. Anyway, as the pain hadn't gone away I thought maybe it was Something Awful the way you do (or is that just me?). So, I made the hideous mistake of typing my symptoms into NHS Direct....

Dear God - no matter which computation of yes/no answers I put in it came up with the big screamy page telling me to dial 999 for an emergency ambulance.

As a semi-reformed hypochondriac I was in a state of terror but managed to keep a grip long enough to ring NHS Direct and speak to a real person - just to make sure -before filling the house with paramedics. After answering loads of questions I'm sorry to say that I collapsed in giggles over "are your lips blue?" - well, only when I've been eating licorice - and "can you swallow your own spit?" - yes, they said spit not saliva - and do you know, it's something I've never thought about, but once I'd started thinking about it I found I couldn't and got quite agitated... Not quite as agitated as the poor NHS Direct person who frostily suggested I should see my GP.

Actually, that's not the greatest thing to suggest to me as my last visit to the doctor's surgery (when I had Urticarial Angiodema with Vasculitus - I know! Fancy - huh?) resulted in the receptionist helpfully suggesting that I might be allergic to mangoes and the last person they'd had with a mango allergy had been dead within 20 minutes.

Anyway, I went - and yep, I've got shingles. Mild, apparently, but shingles never-the-less. And because my pustules haven't yet crusted over (sorry - possibly far too much gross information) I'm still infectious and therefore have to stay away from normal people.

This is a bit of a bugger as I'm supposed to be in London today having a lovely celebratory lunch with my editor and agent to talk about publicity for Moonshine and toast the signing of a new two book deal. (Yippeeee!) And I was SO looking forward to it. I'd bought new shoes. With sparkles on them. I am SO miffed now as I sit here, typing and wincing and scratching - and not being feted in a swish eatery.

Hopefully I'll be crusty enough to attend the launch party for the Romantic Novelists Association's Golden Anniversary short story anthology - Loves Me Loves Me Not (buy it! It's brill!)- next Wednesday. If not, then I'll really have to spit...

17 comments:

Colette McCormick said...

Poor you. Never had shingles but fom what I've heard they can be pretty nasty. Sorry but you know that already. Pity about the lunch but I'm sure you'ss still enjoy it when its rescheduled.
get well soon
x

ChrisH said...

Horrid business and such a berludy shame you can't wear your new shoes just yet (but congratulations on all the exciting news anyway). Even when you're at a low ebb 'though, you're so funny. My Himself had shingles a couple of months ago and I'm sorry to say I did tell him he was officially an Old Person - but that was just to wind him up. As you say anyone can get it. Hope you feel better soon.

Christina Jones said...

Colette - thank you. I'm honestly not that bad - I'm lucky it's only a mild attack. Will look forward to lunch whenever it happens...

ChrisH - thank you. Cruel of you to say that to Himself - but it's exactly what TTT said to me too!!!

katiebird said...

Oh, {{{Chris}}}!! I'm So Sorry!!

Is there something you can do to hasten things along?

(speaking for me, I'm going to call my doctor to see about that vaccine for shingles that I just heard about yesterday)

Debs said...

Ouch, very sore. You have my sympathies.

The first time I had shingles I'd just returned from a visit to my mother in South Africa and when I phoned to tell her about this strange blistery rash on my back, she thought it was a spider bite! I don't know if I was relieved or not to find out it was shingles, but it was damn sore.

Congratulations for your new two book deal - champagne all round - but sorry you're having to miss your celebratory news.x

alzamina said...

ooohh -itchy! And there is always that one 'orrible bit that you cannot reach on your back! Went trhough loads of calamine cream and lotion when little un had them- had forgotten how much like windowlene that stuff is! Shame you didn't have themover halloween - you could have gone trick or treating with them!

Caused by the herpes varicella zoster virus - I had great fun with that!

Fingers crossed for the meal! We need to see the pictures of the sparkly shoes - I just bought a new pair of black shoes with 5.5" heels :-)

Get well soon hunni

Olivia Ryan said...

Ooh, Chris - poor you. I've heard that Shingles can be very painful. Hope you soon recover. What a bummer missing the lunch - but fantastic news about the new 2-book deal! Well done, you, and I'm sure the celebratory drink - sorry, lunch (!) - will be rescheduled. xx

Nell Dixon said...

Hope your better by Wednesday - I'm going to the party then so I'd see your sparkly shoes.

Brand-ie said...

Hope you feel better soon. My eldest had a child version of shingles when he was 6. (he had already had chicken pox twice by then), and my youngest had a variation of it a little while ago (took 3 gp's to agree that it was that).
Suda cream can help the itching better than camomile.

Phillipa said...

Oh Chris, I hope you're feeling much better soon!

Phillipa said...

And forgot to add: congrats on the new book deal!

Jilly said...

Oh dear, poor you! I've known teenagers get shingles so it isn't an age thing even though I must say I tend to think of it as a disease of the elderly. Hope you feel better soon. x

womagwriter said...

Oh you poor thing. My hubby had shingles - went out drinking one night and woke up with the symptoms you describe - and it certainly looked very unpleasant. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Well done on the new deal. I am sure there'll be other chances to wear the sparkly shoes over the Christmas season!

alzamina said...

Hope you starting to feel better - facebook seems so much quieter!


Just to make you laugh - I was in the Doctors Waiting room (riviting place that it is!) yesterday and started to read one of the Womens Own (very up to date - 2007!) when I suddenly foudn one of your stories - shock horror, it was a 3parter about Tinkers Puddle (i think) and I only had the first part!! The huge pile of magazines went flying as I went throught them, very unsuccessfully, to find the other 2 parts - absolutely gutted :-( The other waiting patients thought it hilarious that a) sme one was actually looking at the magazines and b) they were actually cursing as they could't find a particular one!!

Christina Jones said...

katiebird - thanks, much better now though - and good luck with the vaccine.

Debs - thank you. This is a mild attack apparently - and I'd be much happier with shingles than a spider bite!!!!

alzamina - mmm, I liked the official name too!

olivia - thanks so much - I'm fine now, and hoping to reschedule the celebration drink - er - lunch as soon as poss!!!!

Christina Jones said...

Nell - yes, I met you!!!! Briefly! It was lovely... So many people, so much glamour! No shoes though, purple boots!

Brand-ie - thanks. Your poor son! I used anything I could get my hands on - had to rely on the TTT to slosh it on as I couldn't reach - and it seemed to work.... phew!

Phillipa - thank you so much for both - can't wait for Dec 5th! Soo impressed!

Christina Jones said...

Jilly - thank you - and yes, I'm still convinced it's an Old Thing!!!

womag - much better now, thanks. And the shoes WILL be out in force over the festive season IF I'm brave enough to wear a frock...

alzamina - oh, bless you - I've chuckled! Tinkers Puddle (think the first one was Trouble at The Tinkers Cuss) was a 3-parter - fancy you finding it - well, some of it... ha-ha-ha! One day I'm going to write the rest and make it into a novel - one day....