As we approach the one year mark of my diagnosis, the annual “bonus” I got was an all-expense paid stay in fabulous Holy Cross Hospital for shingles.
It reminds me of a “The Price is Right” prize package: “On this luxurious journey to the heart of tropical north Fort Lauderdale, you will be staying in your own private room at the beautiful isolation wing of Holy Cross. During your weeklong trip, enjoy complimentary meals and beverages, free Internet access, and your very own adjustable bed! But that’s not all. This package comes with a 24/7 nursing concierge service, who cater to your every medical whim. You also receive unannounced check-ups from the ophthalmologist, infectious disease, and oncology doctors, daily scalp massages of antibacterial ointments, and a shuttered right eye. All of this can be yours for the low price of participating in a potentially life-saving clinical trial!” Kind of glad I didn’t guess within $100 and find out what was in the other guy’s prize package.
At first it was like, “OK, this will be a quick easy pit stop for some IV medication.” Then you remember those little things that make a hospital stay so unique from your other summer vacations. The tugging of a small tube in your vein when you stretch out the IV arm a little too far. The fun of being woken up at 4:45 a.m. for a blood test - I mean really, who DOESN’T want to be poked by a small needle around the time farmers in Carlisle are hitting the snooze button? Meal selections which are repetitive, at best. A view that never changes. Constant “hospital sounds” that remind you’re never really alone. Stays that start stretching from “a couple” days to “a few” days to “several” days. Where do I sign up?
Really, it’s not that bad. Shingles does kinda suck, but in a “Why the HELL do I have to deal with THIS now?” kind of way. We’re a week away from my second scan, and this is the first real serious side effect I have had in six doses. I probably should have called the doctor 36 hours before I did, so it’s partially my own fault. Besides, like a semi-sleep-deprived Jen said Friday night, “I wouldn’t mind a few days alone in a hospital room.” She was (mostly) kidding, although I don’t blame her. Between Jen's solo parenting responsibility, coming back and forth to see me, and having to look at this stuff on my head (often while eating), seeing out of one eye for the week suddenly doesn't seems that bad, even if I look like a nerve gas casualty. At one point, my brother in law told me I looked like Woogie from There’s Something About Mary.