May 6, 2008

My Arm, Revisited

Yesterday morning, armed with the memories of horrific Google searches and a searing pain in my left arm, I did the unthinkable. I made an appointment with my doctor. I know - like reading instruction manuals or asking for directions, this is something virtually unheard of but I was, after all, afraid of losing my arm. I was motivated. I scored an afternoon appointment and marched myself in there at the appointed time.

Then I whipped it out - my arm, that is - and became Ross Geller for a few minutes.

Remember that old episode of Friends where Ross has an odd thing on his ass he claims is a third nipple? Then the doctor gets about two dozen of his colleagues to come in and stare at it for a while? Yeah, that was so me yesterday except it was my arm, not my ass. The throng of medical personnel finally rendered a verdict. And contrary to many of your opinions and my original diagnosis it was not a bite of any kind, ringworm, the onset of lyme disease or lupus or even leprosy. It was, instead, shingles.

Fucking shingles.

If I may go Doogie Houser on your asses, basically the chickenpox virus is like a one night stand gone horribly wrong after a long night of drunk dialing. It just lingers and won't go away. Sometimes it just wears you down and leaves you achy while other times it causes excruciating pain. This is shingles.

I sucked it up, walked out of the doctor's office and headed to pick up the inevitable prescription. I picked it up and headed home. On my way, stopped at a light, I opened up the bag and started surfing through the medical advisories and side effects. It was then that I noticed something odd - a request from the manufacturer that I please wear a condom while having sex. Odd. My anti-depressants have never made that request. Antibiotics could care less about my sexual habits. The occasional decongestant never gave a rat's ass if I wrapped up 'Lil Cactus. But apparently my shingles medication is really concerned about the state of my wang.

That's because its Valtrex. Fucking herpes meds.

This should come as no great surprise, I guess, because all these immune system-related infections are pretty much the same thing. But still. I could have done without even a hint of The Herp. My wife, though, thinks it's hilarious. She's already taught Mia how to tell everyone that her dad has herpes.

I'm so hot. I have a nasty rash on my arm (and I'm still not ruling out the possibility that it will fall off by the end of the week), chronic pain, mild exhaustion and, if you listen to my daughter and read my prescription bottles, a rampant case of herpes. I can just call this a week and skip the rest, right? Surely my work here is done.

Posted by Chris at May 6, 2008 6:17 AM

Ha haha thanks Chris, for lightening up my stupid insomnia.

Posted by: Amy at May 6, 2008 6:43 AM

It is like a double whammie - Shingles AND you had to go get herpes medication.

Oh wait - triple - now do the kids get Chicken Pox?

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at May 6, 2008 6:50 AM

You were struck by the Monday Curse. It struck me too, I was sitting still at a stop light and got rear ended! Stupid Mondays.

Posted by: Josh at May 6, 2008 7:06 AM

I can't remember, but I don't think Mia and Owen are at risk to get the pox, right? If my memory serves me correctly, if they had the pox then they could give you shingles, but not the other way around.

Sidebar: because I am a dork and cannot stand being incorrect, I googled. Apparently, as long as they keep away from you "when blisters have erupted but have not formed dry crusts" - lucky you - ( they should be fine.

Can you afford to take the time off work? From what I recall when my MIL had them, it's a pretty rough few days... and it's not like Beth has to go to work or anything... she could take care of you. ;)

(Sshh... did you hear that? It was the sound of all your SAHM readers lighting their blowtorches so they can flame me.)

Posted by: SciFi Dad at May 6, 2008 7:26 AM

Wow, that's really unfortunate. Your post got me to thinking which jobs you could get out of for the rest of the week when afflicted with the Herp...impressive career paths, if you need to laugh in a very Ross way I suggest thinking about this.

Posted by: Cass at May 6, 2008 7:26 AM

Oh no, arm herpes!

I've heard that shingles really are quite painful. No wonder it feels like your arm is going to fall off. I hope it goes away quickly.

Posted by: bad penguin at May 6, 2008 7:40 AM

If you read this post really fast you can go from

please wear a condom while having sex
the state of my wang
her dad has herpes
finishing with
and I'm still not ruling out the possibility that it will fall off by the end of the week

which makes it a whole 'nother post entirely. I'm sorry. I'm very tired right now.

Posted by: Missy at May 6, 2008 7:44 AM

Oh you poor, poor, baby! Seriously. I know this is a really painful thing, and no laughing matter. Sending hugs your way!

Posted by: Maribeth at May 6, 2008 7:53 AM

oooh, Shingles is no fun. I'm sorry you have to deal. Can you give Owen the chicken pox?

And, I had no clue it was treated with Valtrex. That's interesting, and, sorry to say, hilarious.

Posted by: Alissa at May 6, 2008 7:57 AM

OK.. sit back, relax, pouring you a nice cold beer... don't stress... it makes them worse...
Hope you're feeling better real soon...

Posted by: Stephanie at May 6, 2008 7:58 AM

I haven't read all the comments but you should be super careful as Shingles in adults is pretty serious. So hugs to you and make sure you get plenty of rest. Stress exacerbates them really badly so no work for you. yay? If having a severely painful arm with achy weirdness = yay.
Hugs! but from far away.

Posted by: tulip at May 6, 2008 8:06 AM

oh, ouch, so sorry! Hope they clear up quickly! My dad had shingles last fall all over his head and face. He looked like a horror movie monster!

Feel better!

Posted by: Lisa at May 6, 2008 8:08 AM should just wear a condom all the time. It prevents cooties.

That is what you have...cooties. Midget hooker goat cooties.

Posted by: william at May 6, 2008 8:08 AM

Yikes, I'm sorry to hear that - although I think shingles is probably preferable to a brown recluse bite. I don't blame you for wanting to call it a week though!

Posted by: Amy at May 6, 2008 8:09 AM

Both my mom and my best friend have recently had shingles. It's normally brought on by stress, and not to be the bearer of bad news, it will probably get worse. Good luck.

And it's very, very contagious. Be careful around the kids. especially owen who has not had his vaccine yet.

Posted by: jodifur at May 6, 2008 8:15 AM

Remember what I said yesterday about getting lots of sympathy sex? Yeah, I'm totally taking that back. I think a case of the Herp totally eliminates any pity sex you may have received.

I had shingles about 6 months ago, not badly thank the gods. Stupid chicken pox virus.

Posted by: Shelly at May 6, 2008 8:15 AM

I think you deserve the rest of the week off.

The bright side (we have to find a silver lining, right?) is that at least the shingles didn't appear on your privates which you would have had more people stare at than you ever imagined.

Feel better.

Posted by: Maria at May 6, 2008 8:21 AM

Okay that is funny that you did not realize what you were getting to treat your shingles! I am sorry, I had to laugh...

On the upside, I suppose it is good that you did not wait to see the doctor and continued to feel like crap wondering what the pain and bumps were, right?!

I hope you feel better quickly!

Posted by: Christina at May 6, 2008 8:33 AM

I had that. Chicken pox twice as a kid. Shingles in high school. Cold sores occassionally now. That virus is a bitch.

Posted by: ktjrdn at May 6, 2008 8:34 AM

I cannot believe you told the internet that you have arm herpes.

I have the strain of herpes that causes fever blisters, and I once inadvertently infected my EYE with THE HERPES. Can you believe that shit? I wear contacts and apparently didn't realize that I had herpes cooties on my hand from my current fever blister. I put in my contacts, and bang! EYE HERPES.

Posted by: Erica at May 6, 2008 8:37 AM

So i guess even if you got chicken pox as a kid you can still get shingles? For some reason, I thought it was the opposite. Good luck; that pretty much sucks.

Posted by: claire at May 6, 2008 8:37 AM

Holy hell. I had shingles in high school. I was MISERABLE. Because I? Was scared that I was dying of some rare skin disorder, so I didn't say anything until I couldn't walk. My mom seriously like, nearly killed me for it. The pain was excrutiating (?). Every so often, I'll get a sharp pain through that area (mine was around my waist, right where my pants sits, argh) and I still have scars. I wish you a speedy, speedy recovery, my friend.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at May 6, 2008 8:43 AM

At least it's not on your face. Herpes on the face. Mmph. Now THAT'S embarrassing.

Sorry, I don't mean to laugh at your pain. But, really - the odds?

Posted by: C-Rah at May 6, 2008 8:47 AM

Oh yes, close up shop and call it a week. I know the shame of which you speak...I was given some sort of herpes medication for an outbreak of hand,foot and mouth disease (coxsackie)...something adults rarely get...but I did.
Of course in my case no one taught a cute little kid to tell people I had herpes....:-)

Posted by: Diane at May 6, 2008 8:55 AM

Shingles, wow, I thought only old people had shingles. I'm glad Valtrex has you and you herpes/shingles on the road to recovery.

Posted by: Mymilabean at May 6, 2008 9:16 AM

Ouch. I hadn't even thought of shingles. Horrid, nasty things.

Posted by: Ann Adams at May 6, 2008 9:16 AM

you think thats bad?? i get shingles on my face sometimes when im stressed out to the max. talk about pain! once it affected one of my eyes. i was in agony and missed a full week of work. but the pain is too much. i hope you feel better cause i know where you're at! oh and the herpes jokes are all over my house too. that sucks.

Posted by: madmom at May 6, 2008 9:25 AM could be worse, you know. It could be The Clap.

I'm sure Beth would find a ton of things to teach Mia about that. You can't really do dance routines to herpes. Count your blessings.

Posted by: jessica at May 6, 2008 9:31 AM


Posted by: Brad at May 6, 2008 9:37 AM

ohh dude - I think you should take the time off. Feel better - I hope you just have a mild case :)

Posted by: Sue R at May 6, 2008 9:41 AM

I'm pretty sure the condom warning is just part of the generic info for Valtrex ... and probably doesn't apply to the singles since (at least as you have described) your outbreak is on your (not yet fallen off) arm. Perhaps you should wear a finger tip -> shoulder length glove as an arm condom? Or, if you happened to watch Dirty Jobs last night, a cow artificial insemination glove could be used ...

Posted by: TisDone at May 6, 2008 10:02 AM

You have my sympathies, Chris. I few years ago, I had 2 bouts of shingles within 3 months. And yes, the first bout was ON MY FACE. I looked like I had been stung by a million bees. And as embarrassing as the ol' Valtrex was, the shit worked.

Do me a favor - check with your doctor about the possibilities of giving your kids chicken pox? I was told that I could pass the pox to people who had not had it yet, when the shingles were active.

If you can manage it, take a few days off from work. You'll be better off in the long run.

Posted by: KathyK at May 6, 2008 10:05 AM

When I get tired or sick, I get cold sores :-( The prescription to get rid of them? VALTREX. Don't think that when I get the prescription filled I don't go in to the pharmacy, lean across the counter, point to my blistery lip and yell, "It's for THIS! Not the other thing!" The pharmacists just stare, but it sure makes me feel better to set the record straight.

Posted by: GreenCanary at May 6, 2008 10:12 AM

Noooo, not the pox! Get as much rest as you can. Hope you feel better soon!

Posted by: Rachel at May 6, 2008 10:27 AM

Guess it won't be falling off then, eh? Oh well...I suggest you make a t-shirt that reads:

New Shingles and New Siding

I had Coxackie way back and it was a bitch. Every joint in my body ached. At the time my kid, then one, thought it best to administer hits to my head with a book as I lay on the rug in pain.

Stay out of the sun, doode. Lest you want to look like some bumpy coral reef of sorts.

Get better. Rest as much as you can. Hugs!

Posted by: Julia at May 6, 2008 10:41 AM

*bong* Bring out your dead!

Oh. Sorry. CHICKENpox.

Haha! Now I don't feel so bad about having the "ass rot" (aka hot tub rash from the contaminated pipes in my building).

I have the same question about it as KathyK regarding giving the kids chicken pox too...

Posted by: oakley at May 6, 2008 10:48 AM

Leprosy would have made for a more interesting bloogging. :P

I thought shingles was usually along your back... odd... anyway.

Good post. I hope you feel better.

Posted by: Nat at May 6, 2008 10:49 AM

I had shingles at the age of 12... imagine my face when my doctor said it was a form of herpes!!! Traumatic!!

Posted by: ::c:: at May 6, 2008 10:59 AM

if shingles are as bad as people have told me, if i ever get them, i'd figure out a way to put the valtrex on an IV drip and call it a week. had an ex-vp who had it and, seriously, she was out sick for days, she had shingles everywhere.

Posted by: patricia at May 6, 2008 11:01 AM

Ooh, my sympathies on the shingles. Hold on because it's AFTER the rash is gone that the pain is said to be wicked. My father had it last year, and even though he's old and complains anyway, I had to explain over and over about the lingering pain.
No wonder "they" (don't know really who they are)recommend middle-age and older folks get the vaccine again.
Is it possible one of the kids picked up the virus and passed it to you?
That just sucks.

Posted by: Nancy at May 6, 2008 11:15 AM

i cannot believe you have herpes, i mean, shingles. that's insane!

but don't you at least feel slightly vindicated that you didn't go in and have it be NOTHING?!?!

Posted by: ali at May 6, 2008 11:16 AM

how in the world did you get that?
be careful, i've heard it is highly contagious!

Posted by: Steff at May 6, 2008 11:20 AM

My day doesn't seem so bad anymore. Thanks!

Posted by: Gwen at May 6, 2008 11:24 AM

I hope you feel better soon!

Does it make me a bad person to enjoy your story about the doctor? It made me laugh on a not so good morning.

Seriously........I hope things get better.

Posted by: kali at May 6, 2008 11:35 AM

Here's hoping that any lingering pre-schooler's speech impediement has Mia pronouncing 'herpes' to sound like 'hopies'. That way you won't wind up an outcast on Parent's Night.

Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen at May 6, 2008 11:39 AM

Oh my crap, I am SO SORRY! I have had shingles 3 times(and I'm only 28)- once I didn't catch it in time and had to live through the whole thing without drugs. Luckily I knew what to look for the second and third times and got the drugs fast. I always feel a little skeezy going to the pharmacy for herpes meds, but trust me- it's MUCH BETTER than going through shingles without meds. I still have scars and pain from the first time, and that was 4 years ago.

For those who don't understand shingles- it's not something you catch. Anyone who has had chickenpox OR the chickenpox vaccine can get it. The virus stays in your system your whole life. Shingles are not contagious, but you can give people chickenpox if they haven't had the vaccination. Shingles, unchecked, can hurt like a sonofabitch and leave neuralgia permanently. It's not something to fuck around with. My shingles took 2 months to clear up, and the pain was worse than childbirth. Shingles usually don't come out until people are over 60, but those of us with high-stress are good candidates for early suffering.

I hope the drugs work fast and well! If nothing else, it's a GREAT excuse to take a little time for yourself.

Posted by: heels at May 6, 2008 11:44 AM

Oh man that sucks :-( I hope you get better fast!

Posted by: Heather at May 6, 2008 11:53 AM

Yeah. I get cold sores from time to time, and I hear if I took that medicine I'd get them almost never.

But I can't bring myself to have a prescription for it. Not only because of what it is, but because of those *annoying* ass commercials for it. Where he has herpes... but she doesn't.

Posted by: caleal at May 6, 2008 11:54 AM

my mind is now gone, I have lost it laughing my arse off!!

Hope all comes out well for you - and for Lil' Cactus!

Posted by: Kris at May 6, 2008 12:01 PM

Practice safe shouldering this week sir. Glad to hear your arm will not fall off after all. Although, think of the internet legend you could have become. Now you're just a man in pain with a shoulder that gets some hoochie action. ;)

(Think of the Google hits you're going to get now. *snicker* Midgets with herpes I'm sure.)

Posted by: Teenuh at May 6, 2008 12:26 PM

Good God. Feel better, Chris. Will you always be susceptible to it now? Like the herps? Because you keep that shit forever, right?

Posted by: Pocklock at May 6, 2008 12:43 PM

Well, if it's any consolation, Christian de la Fuente is doing better in Dancing with the Stars with one arm than he ever did with two. If you can get past the excruciating pain and exhaustion, you may have a fine career in ballroom dancing...

Posted by: PirateBikeGrl at May 6, 2008 12:52 PM

I've had shingles a couple of times. It sucks; I try to keep my stress levels down because that always brings it on.(OK, I just laughed when I read that - I'm the most stressed out person I know.)
Its tough to admit that its related to the herpes virus. "Shingler's Unite"?

Posted by: Chantel at May 6, 2008 1:06 PM

HA! You think you are having a crappy week? My 3 year old daughter just came in from the garage saying, "That silly cat has babies now!" Yeah, the ally cat that sorta adopted us had kittens! In my garage! My husband is allergic to cats and now we have one big one and 4 little ones. HALP! And I'd like the week to be over too please :)

Posted by: Shannen at May 6, 2008 1:18 PM

Herps! I mean shingles!

I hear they hurt like a mother. My mom had them once on her scalp and went around going "my hair hurts" to which we all laughed our asses off.

I say you milk it for all it is worth. Remember when Letterman had shingles? He was out for like a month. Do you think you could get Regis to fill in for you?

Posted by: Anna at May 6, 2008 1:51 PM

Herps! I mean shingles!

I hear they hurt like a mother. My mom had them once on her scalp and went around going "my hair hurts" to which we all laughed our asses off.

I say you milk it for all it is worth. Remember when Letterman had shingles? He was out for like a month. Do you think you could get Regis to fill in for you?

Posted by: Anna at May 6, 2008 1:51 PM

Get well soon... And I'm sorry, but I just laughed my butt off in my office. At your expense. I am so sorry.

Posted by: RC at May 6, 2008 2:27 PM

Dude, you have herpes?


Posted by: Poppy at May 6, 2008 2:41 PM

Hope it heals fast! Glad to hear you'll be keeping your arm though!

Posted by: Lani at May 6, 2008 2:47 PM

Yeah, all those immune diseases have common links and treatments.

When I got shingles, it didn't get diagnosed in time for me to treat it with medication; I just had to suffer through it and let it run its course. The good news is that 96% of people with shingles never get another outbreak. The bad news (for me at least) is that the varicella really like me a lot (I had chicken pox twice, which is almost unheard of), so chances are it will flare up again.

Posted by: MamaKaren at May 6, 2008 3:21 PM

Oh... I hope they gave you something for the pain too. That should make you feel better about the herpes.

And also, there are like a billion herpes viruses. Cold sores are from a herpes virus. Yours is herpes zoster. The icky herpes are HSV-1 and HSV-2. So your wang is safe.

And I would totally pay money to witness Mia telling the checker, the waiter, or some other random person that her Daddy has herpes. That's just comedic gold.

Hope you feel better.

Posted by: sunshine at May 6, 2008 3:51 PM

Oh man - the shingles. I always had stay away from my grandparents when they had them because I never got the chicken pox as a kid and they're somehow related. Knowing my luck I'll get the shingles like you did. Thank god my dogs can't tell people I have herpes though. Get better soon!

Posted by: Heather at May 6, 2008 5:57 PM

Wow! I've always heard how bad shingles hurts. I feel for you. Especially knowing that your wife is laughing her ass off at you and your daughter is telling everyone you've got the herp!

Posted by: coolchick at May 6, 2008 8:31 PM

Ew, ew! Poor thing. Yucky. :(

Posted by: Zandria at May 6, 2008 9:59 PM

Man, I've heard that it's super painful. And stress makes it worse? Jaysus, you can't avoid that. 'Cause that's just life. I'd say that this totally justifies some completely out there item for stress relief. Like a six week Hawiian vacation. A motorcycle? Maybe a summer home? Work that angle. I'd totally be convinced that I deserved a month at a spa somewhere at the least. Hope you can take it easy and feel better soon.

Posted by: OS at May 6, 2008 10:51 PM

I had chicken pox at 25 and it was bad, but shingles is EVIL.

I'm so sorry! Take it easy and get well soon! We wouldn't want that arm falling off or anything. :)

Posted by: Scattered Mom at May 7, 2008 9:35 PM

But you don't have TIME for herpes! Am I right?

Posted by: Fraulein N at May 7, 2008 9:50 PM

You have HERPES?

*lowers voice* Man, that sucks! I hope your arm gets shingles-free soon.

I can't find your baby Jesus on Ebay. Bummer, I wanted to hang it right beside my crying Maria statue.

Posted by: Nadine at May 8, 2008 1:27 PM

I cannot believe you have shingles.... That's f-d up. I hope you're starting to feel better!!!

Posted by: Haley-O at May 13, 2008 10:11 PM