Shingles and Shenanigans

The other day my mom calls me up and says:

My Mom: I think I have a tick bite on my chin.
Toni: I seriously doubt that.
My Mom: Well I seriously think a tick bit my chin.
Toni: Mom, you look in the mirror all the time. You would have seen a giant tick hanging off your face sucking your blood.
My Mom: You’re probably right.

She calls again the next day.

My Mom: I think I have shingles on my chin.
Toni: Why would you think that?
My Mom: Because my head is all tingly, and my face hurts.
Toni: Shit.
My Mom: Can you come over and look at my chin?

I went over to her house, and looked at her chin. Sure enough, I thought they were shingles too.

Toni: I think you’re right.

Now here’s the thing. My mom usually lives in Boston, so she doesn’t have a primary care physician in New Hampsha. The longer you let shingles shingle, they more shingly they get. And let me tell, shingles fucking suck so hard. For me, they were worse than childbirth.

So OF COURSE I wanted to help my mom and take her to the emergency room so she could get the medication ASAP. But it was also 10pm, and I hadn’t eaten dinner yet.

Toni: Do you want me to take you to the emergency room?
My Mom: That would be really nice, yes!
Toni: Ummm but we could go in the morning right? Like, you’re already all cozy in your jammas?
My Mom: Oh sure, we can go in the morning.
Toni: I will go get you some of my hippy shingles medication for tonight.

As I left her house to grab my new age bark paste –  I felt guilty as fuck. I knew the right thing to do was to bring her to the emergency room that night and not wait until the next day….

Toni: Here is some dragon eggshell mixed with Echinacea that I used on my shingles… but maybe we should just go tonight?
My Mom: You don’t mind?
Toni: OF COURSE NOT! Let me just go eat my hamburger for dinner and then I’ll take you.
I ate one hamburger, and left my second hamburger behind because I didn’t want my mom and her shingles to wait too long.  For me, this is a lot more tragic than you would think.  But you guys, ever since I was pregnant, I got into the habit of eating TWO hamburgers.  Eating just ONE feels wrong!

My mom and get to the hospital, she checks in, and I am still super hungry.  We get called back into the room, and the nurse starts checking her vitals.

Nurse: Now why are you here this evening?
My Mom: Well my neck has been feeling weird, and I thought it was because I got too enthusiastic in Yoga or something. Like maybe I did a shoulder stand for too long. But then I realized no I didn’t do any such thing. It’s not the yoga. I have shingles.
Nurse: I see. Do you have any allergies?
My Mom: No. Well I sneeze all the time, but I’m not allergic to any medications or anything.
Nurse: Do you take medication for your sneezing?
My Mom: I take Benadryl every night.
My Mom: Yeah, it helps me sleep.
Toni: Seriously, I think there are better ways.
Nurse: Are you two sisters?
My Mom: I AM HER MOTHER!! BUT THANK YOU!! Everyone always thinks that.

The nurse left, and the Doctor entered. Now this doctor was not exactly the most jovial character on planet earth. He is an ER doctor in rural New Hampsha and exactly how you would expect him to be. There was no kidding around for him.

My mom however is a personality and a half. She likes to say things to get a rise out of people, and entertain herself. If you are wondering where I get it from… well there’s your answer.

Doctor: What brings you here today?
My Mom: I have shingles.
Doctor: And why would you think that?
My Mom: Well at first I thought it was the yoga but… then I realized I didn’t hurt myself in yoga. It’s shingles. See look.
Doctor: Usually shingles happen with our older patients.
My Mom: Well I am 63.

The doctor looks again.

Doctor: Yeah, it does look like shingles.
My Mom: Aren’t I clever?
Doctor: What do you mean?
My Mom: Aren’t I cleaver to diagnose myself with shingles.
Doctor: Not really. A lot of people diagnose themselves with shingles. And they’re usually right.
My Mom: Don’t you still think I’m clever?
Doctor: I don’t know about that.
My Mom: I knew if I came in quick, the shingles would go away faster, and hurt less.
Doctor: There are only half-truths in that statement. That isn’t exactly the case.
My Mom: Isn’t it better to come in within the first 72 hours? That’s why we rushed over.
Doctor: When did they start bothering you?
My Mom: This afternoon. So that’s why we came tonight. Aren’t we clever to get here on time?
Doctor: Well, you had about 68 more hours you could have waited.
My Mom: But we are clever.
Doctor: I will be right back.

The doctor left and I just sat there with my head in my hands not knowing whether to laugh or try and drown myself. He then returned.

Doctor: Okay well…
My Mom: Are you going to prescribe me Valtrex or something?
Doctor: What I was trying to say is…. I am going to give you something tonight that you can take immediately, then you can fill your prescription tomorrow morning…
My Mom: Do you think CVS is open right now?
Doctor: No. Which is why I said I was going to give you something tonight.
My Mom: Okay well the less drugs the better.
Doctor: What do you mean?
My Mom: I’m just not the type of person who takes drugs.


Doctor: Well I can prescribe you something for the pain, and you don’t have to fill it if you don’t want to.
Toni: Mom, shingles are seriously painful.  They may not hurt yet because you just got them, but they will.
Doctor: What did you take for your shingles?
Toni: I was given the Valacyclovir.
Doctor: Yes, we could also prescribe steroids, but it is not given to patients under 55.
My Mom: Well I’m 63. Even though we look like sisters.
Doctor: I was just saying that’s why they weren’t given to her.
My Mom: Should I take steroids if I am sad?
Doctor: What do you mean sad?
My Mom: Just if I get sad from my shingles.
Doctor: We can prescribe them. And the painkillers.
My Mom: How will I get the drugs? Do I just call the hospital and mention your name and they will give them to me?
Doctor: No. Not at all.
My Mom: Well how do I get the drugs?
Doctor: I will write you a prescription tonight that you can take with you.
My Mom: So I shouldn’t just come in here and drop your name.
Doctor: Definitely not.

As you can see, this doctor was just NOT getting my mom at all. Here she was dropping comedy gold, and he was taking her so seriously!! I thought they were going to kick us out of the hospital. There was no way she was going to win this guy over.  But then… he entered with the prescriptions.

Doctor: Here are your prescriptions for the shingles and also for the pain.
My Mom: Am I going to turn into Rush Limbaugh if I take painkillers?
Doctor: Why would you say that?
My Mom: I just don’t want to turn into Rush Limbaugh.
Doctor: I don’t think that’s going to happen. You’re not a big fat idiot.
My Mom: Can you believe that Al Franken was able to go from Saturday Night Live, to writing a book called “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot,” to being the senator of Minnesota?

AND just like that –  they were friends!! They talked about Al Franken for the next 5 minutes!!

Doctor: Well that was quite a tangent. Good luck to you, and if you have any problems come back and I’ll take care of it.
My Mom: Great. I’ll just drop your name.
Doctor: It’s a good thing that you came in early and took care of this.
My Mom: I don’t fuck around.
Doctor: I can see that.

The doctor then shook our hands and left as the nurse came in to give my mom her pills.

My Mom: Nurse, would you mind looking in my ears? They have been really itchy and I just want to make sure there are no ticks in my ears.
Nurse: Have you been outside?
My Mom: Just in my screened in porch.

And sure enough, there were no ticks in her ears.