Many years ago I had a brow waxing debacle that started with half of my face swelling up and ended with antibiotics. I will always remember the party we attended that night and the stories I concocted to avoid explaining that I would apparently rather look like a beaten pumpkin than Leonid Brezhnev.
Anyway, when I woke up yesterday and discovered that I had a warm, red spot on my neck I assumed that I had somehow gotten another skin infection although I could not for the life of me figure out how. The redness spread throughout the day and by this morning even Steve (who is always so brave in the face of my afflictions) was willing to admit that I might need more medical attention than google was able to provide.
I made an appointment with the first person who had time at our primary clinic and wound up seeing a guy who put the B in Breezy. He walked into the room, glanced at my neck, said, "Oh! So you have shingles! Let me print out some information for you. Where do you want me to send the prescriptions?"
I said, "Wait. What? Shingles? Nonsense."
He said, "Definitely shingles. Caused by the same virus that gave you chickenpox. Lies dormant for years and then... there you go."
"But I never had the chickenpox."
"Probably had such a mild case that you or your parents didn't even realized it."
I said, "No. Never."
He said, "Ah, well, did you ever get the vaccine?"
And I said, "Yes, actually, several times but... ."
He cut me off. "They don't do it several times. Just the once plus maybe a booster. Where do you want your prescriptions?"
I told him our pharmacy and then asked, "Prescriptions? Plural?" and he said, "You'll want to start an anti-viral right away and most people find that they require prescription pain relief. We use either k;jhhdf*^% or ueyruhf7fy [don't remember] although you'll want to be careful as they are both powerful sedatives."
I told him I was only mildly uncomfortable and would pass on the narcotics and he said, "Hmmmm wellllll just call if you change your mind."
Then he left and I was never able to tell him about my chickenpox saga but you'll listen to me, right?
I never got the chickenpox as a child, even when that entire slumber party was felled by them in the fifth grade. We assumed that I must've had a subclinical case at some point and left it at that until twenty'ish years later when we started trying to, you know, conceive. I went to see a doctor (because that is what the internet tells you to do) and he stared at me blankly when I said I was there because we wanted to start a family. I think he was afraid that I was going to ask where babies come from and when I explained that I knew that part I just wanted to make sure I was all optimal and whatnot he said, "Huh. Well. Start taking vitamins, eat well, exercise, drink plenty of water and how about a chickenpox vaccine?" I said, sure.
Several years later I went to do IVF in Maryland and they required either a chickenpox vaccine or proof via a blood test that one possessed some immunity. I opted for the titer and was surprised to learn that I did not have any immunity to chickenpox. So I got the vaccine. Again. OK? OK. Well! Mark this.
A scant two years or so later I did IVF in Minnesota and went through the whole vaccine/titer thing again. Since my vaccination records were in Maryland and it seemed like a hassle to have them sent I asked that they check my blood. Lo and behold, I was again negative for whatever it was they look for and at that point I said this is weird and I am not getting vaccinated again, what do I have to sign to waive it?
So! When I say I have never had chickenpox I mean that I have never had chickenpox and when I say that I have been vaccinated for it more than once I mean that I have been vaccinated for it more than once.
There. Thank you for not walking out the door before I was able to share that fascinating piece of trivia.
And yet now I have shingles so obviously somehow, some time I have had the virus. Damn it.
PS I just remembered Monthy Python and their sketch about Death and the dinner party. I'm the lady who trails out the door to the afterworld, saying, "But... I didn't eat the salmon."