SWEP. I remembered it as soon as I hit Publish on a post I wrote Friday but never hit Publish. I've been using my phone as a computer for so long that I forgot the intricacies of a real computer. No autocorrect. No swype typing. No hitting return to send. Or publish, as it were.
SWEP stood for School Wide Enrichment Program. Lest we be stigmatized as being Talented or Gifted. I used to say that I have no talent and my adults would tell me I was a good writer. Then ask me to proofread a letter to the gas company or draft a letter to a grown up for something. Totally normal fourth grade responsibilities.
I wanted a talent like singing or dancing or conjuring unicorns. I thought writing was just something that everyone should be able to do. Little did I know that writing is the trump talent to have in America's Workplaces. So, I guess I was gifted with the talent of writing.
And so brings us here today.
Friday was a pretty crazy day. A couple months ago, while I was still pregnant I noticed this weird tweringulatory feeling in my back. There's not a word in the English language for what I felt. It was like a thread breaking, or a polyester shirt snagging on a pimple. But it wasn't. I figured it was something related to pregnancy and ignored it. Despite my mom telling me to go see a doctor.
Then it didn't stop after I delivered. And I kept ignoring it.
Then I thought I had some bed bug bites and I FREAKED THE EFF OUT because here I was, home all day and even though no one who lives here had anything, two people who were at my house all of a sudden had some possible bed bug bites and told me about their bites on the same day and so I looked at the marks again and saw that there was no way they were bedbug bites because there were like a million bite spots in each welt so I was sure I had spider bites from sleeping in the basement one night.
Then it got bigger and grosser and I was sure it was ringworm.
So I put Lotrimin on it.
Then I had bouts of sweats and chills, but I figured it to be hormones.
So I did that one leg in one leg out thing with the blankets.
Then it got bigger and grosser and I thought it was scabies.
Then my joints felt 90 years old, but I assumed it was my rheumatism flaring up. Pregnancy protects you from rheumatic flares and I figured my grace period with that was up.
Then it hurt really bad, like I was in a car crash and I figured it was something related to my body putting itself back together after pregnancy and delivery so I took it easy for a few weeks.
And took some Motrin.
Then it hurt really really bad from my knee to my shoulder. A bruisey sort of feeling. With pulled muscles.
So I went to the doctors and found out it was shingles. Which are highly contagious and dangerous to babies because they aren't vaccinated for chicken pox.
My doctor is also my friend, and he talked to a contact at the CDC to see if I really had to be separated from the baby and stop nursing and burn my possessions and all the extreme stuff that is normally recommended in this situation. The CDC person said no, especially since I was nursing and beyond the point of being contagious. I just have to watch for signs of behavior change and rash on the baby. So far so good. He's eating and alert when he is usually eating and alert and though he is sleeping a bit more, I don't think it's excessive. He went a couple weeks with no more than two 20 minute naps and 4 or 5 hours of sleep at night (nonconsecutive hours, btw) so I think he's just catching up and being a normal baby.
So yeah. Shingles. Me.
I am not one for modern medicines, so I have these things I do to treat bodily lesions and other nasties that are perfectly normal to me but sound really odd when said aloud to medical professionals. I self medicated with Listerine. I believe that Listerine will treat and cure just about anything. I applied it to the grossness with cottonballs. I think that's why it never got really weepy and disgusting. If it was weepy and disgusting I would have sought medical attention sooner, but it never did. Now I have some sort of antiherpectic ointment that cost $50 and I may sell it on the black market because it supposedly clears coldsores and I don't get coldsores. And first time genital herpes outbreaks. I don't get those either. First time or recurrent. Thankfully. Who needs genital herpes when you have a belt of shingles on your right hip?
The moral of the story is that if you feel any sort of tweringulatory thwanging in your body, get to the doctor fast before you get scabby.