There is a TV ad that drives me nuts!
The message is clear. The Shingles virus doesn’t care…
It doesn’t care what shape you’re in. It doesn’t care how well you eat. Or, whether you exercise regularly. It’s a virus, incapable of conscious thought. Unaware of anything beyond the need to spread. Yet, still capable of incredible mischief.
The numbers suggest that one out of every three people is already acting as a host for the virus. The same virus that is responsible for Chicken Pox. With a strong immune system and the normal, childhood vaccinations, Shingles isn’t a problem until you get older and your immune system wanes. That’s when vaccination is recommended for those who have never had Chicken Pox or whose immune system is compromised.
It’s hard to describe what Shingles pain is like to someone who has never experienced it beyond a genuine hope they never will. There is another ad that comes close, describing the pain as cutting, burning, jagged, et al. Close, but not close enough.
The Trigeminal Nerve
My Shingles episode manifested itself on the upper left upper quadrant of my scalp. It attacked a branch of the trigeminal nerve. From my left eyebrow across the top of my head. From my nose to my left ear. For me, the pain has become a houseguest who has outstayed his welcome! A permanent obstacle in the middle of your family room. You can walk around it. You may even be able to climb over it. But regardless of what you do, it will still be there tomorrow morning when you wake up. Something I’m reminded of every time I furrow my brow, close my eye, or trigger any of the facial muscles that engage the nerve.
I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m just suggesting that if you haven’t gotten vaccinated you make the effort to get vaccinated as soon as you can!
I didn’t have the luxury of choice. I’m suffering as a direct result of one of the immunosuppressants I have to take for Graft versus Host Disease. The choice was simple and still is. GvHD can be lethal. Post-Herpatic Neuralgia is painful. So, I’m not complaining.
But there is something you should know, and that is Shingles pain doesn’t care either. It doesn’t care whether you exercise daily. It doesn’t care if you eat right or take really good care of yourself. It’s there regardless. Omnipresent. Distracting. Debilitating.
I’m not going to suggest that you deserve whatever comes next if you fail to get vaccinated. Unless you are an unspeakable ass, no one deserves the kind of pain Shingles has in store for you. What you will deserve, however, is something presumably worse. A pretty loud and emphatic “I told you so!”