Thursday, August 13, 2015

shingles vaccine from hell!!

I am strongly pro-vaccine.  It's delightful that children aren't stuck in iron lungs nowadays.  I remember having the mumps and am glad my kids didn't have to suffer that way.  My grandmother died of cervical cancer, and I'm happy my daughters can get a vaccine that will dramatically decrease their chances of getting that cancer.  Etc.., etc.. But now I have met the shingles vaccine, and it has kicked my ass.

The other day I had a physical, with a new-to-me doctor.  The main takeaway was that your DH is officially an old.  I turned fifty, and I have arthritis in my knees.  It is time for me to get a colonoscopy.  And I was subjected to a shingles vaccine.

I was happy to get the shingles vaccine, as one of  my colleagues at my volunteer job had a debilitating case of the shingles and was ill for a month.  She went through hell, and that was fresh in my mind.

But the morning after the shingles vaccine, I woke up with my arm swollen, discolored, and itchy.  It was very dramatic looking, a huge, dark red circle protruding from my arm.  I went ahead and left for my volunteer shift, working in a wildlife rehab clinic.  About an hour into my shift I began to feel lightheaded and faint.  I took a break and went to the break room, where I hydrated myself and ate a bunch of peanut brittle on the excuse that raising my blood sugar might help.  Once my blood was surely fizzing with sugar, I went back to work.  I felt like I was going to faint.  My colleagues said I was flushed.  I went and sat outside in the shade, and before I knew it, an hour had passed by.  I went back inside.  Although everyone urged me to go home, I didn't want to make Iris uber Alles leave early, as it was her last weekday volunteer shift before school started.  Eventually we left, and I drove cautiously.

At home I took to my bed.  My arm worsened.  I began feeling violent stabbing pains, and flu symptoms were starting.  Dr. Google was inconclusive.  It seemed like I was having a worse reaction than normal, but since my breathing was okay, it seemed safe.  But I was miserable.  If I stood up, I felt dizzy and faint, so I avoided that.  I emailed my doctor.  I whined.

The next day I woke up with a pounding headache, but the pain had subsided in my arm.  It was still swollen, sore, and discolored, but it mainly only hurt if it were touched.  My doctor wrote back saying that the dizziness was enough of a concern that I should have gone to the E.R.

My love for vaccines has been tested.  I love all but this one.  The sad part is that this vaccine is only good for five years, so it isn't going to be that long before the time to get it again rolls around.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

hangin' on the telephone

Recently I was stuck in hellish traffic.  The Drunken Housewife of the past had determined that it would be delightful to go to an outdoor play in the East Bay on a Friday evening, requiring that the present day Drunken Housewife drive with the children, a heavy picnic basket, and lots of blankets through Friday night rush hour traffic across San Francisco and over the Bay Bridge and through Berkeley and  through the chokepoint of the Caldecott Tunnel.  Taking mass transit was not feasible, as it would have meant walking down the hill to the MUNI subway, taking the subway to a transfer point to BART, taking a long BART ride, and then waiting for a shuttle bus.  All of that would have been fine if not for the heavy picnic basket and all the blankets and the fact that you can never get a seat on BART during rush hour.

The driving was stressful.  After some shameful swearing at some nearby cars and an unforgivable snapping at poor Iris, I determined to relax and unwind.  I asked the children to tell me stories to amuse and distract me.  Iris made up a long one about a heroic little bat with opposable thumbs.  Lola's story was more abstract and abandoned.  We turned to discussing Lola's big new transition:  the time has come for Lola to carry a cellphone.  "You can call me," I said.  "I think we should take up prank phone calls.  I'm going to call you a lot."  It then occurred to me that I had never placed a prank phone call to the dignified Iris.  And Iris never calls me, unless it's to ask to be picked up somewhere.  "Hey!  Why don't you ever call me?  Just to talk.  To tell me that I'm your hero."

"Momdude, that is really weird," Iris observed critically.

"No one has ever called me to tell me that I am their hero," I mused.  "Pretty much people only call me if I missed an appointment or if I am supposed to pay them.  That's why I hate the telephone; it's never pleasant.  Hey!  I am going to call you, Lola, when you have a phone.  And I'll sing."  At this point, I sang:  "Did I ever tell you you're my heeeeero, you're the wind beneath my wings."

After this we all dissolved into laughter for some time.