It wasn't just any raking job; it was dethatching to get all the old, dead grass out. That's hard work. You have to dig in and put some real muscle into it.
The pain in my rib cage started the day after the dead grass was bagged and bound for the landfill. The next day I had considerably more discomfort on my side and, much to my neighbor's relief, I skipped my Saturday morning ritual of hard rock and heavy lifting, a session in which I blast my pecs and blare tunes in equal measure. The following day I was even more messed up. My entire right side was on fire from hip to armpit. I kept imagining going a few rounds in a boxing ring and taking a hard hook to the ribs. Things felt broken. And hot.
But it still felt like musculoskeletal pain, and it didn't make any sense that it would continue to get worse day after day. That night I barely slept. My wife, a family physician, asked, "Do you have
"No. I don't have shingles. What's a shingle?"
Shingles is chickenpox two-point-oh. The
My wife checked me over. No rash, just pain. I lamented that it didn't make sense that someone who exercises as much I do could be laid low by raking.
Well, the next day my side was covered in a rash that felt as if I had been punched in the side with a bucket of black flies. I got on anti-virals and felt slightly better about not being a raking wimp.
Shingles is more common in the elderly, with half of the cases involving those older than 60. And there is a
People with compromised immune systems from HIV/AIDS or
While shingles may be on the rise, eventually it should become less common because of the
After two weeks the pain was still horrific, so I was placed on a nerve-calming drug called
My advice? Talk to your doctor about the vaccine.
About 20% of adults who had chicken pox are expected to get shingles, but the numbers may be growing because we don't get the immunity boost from repeated later exposure to kids with chicken pox the way our ancestors did.