The first time I had Shingles, I noticed a splotchy thing on the right side of my waistline. I had no idea what it was because I’d never seen a barnacle like it on my body before, and my body has had its share of barnacles.

So, I took myself, and my new barnacle, to the doctor who told me I had Shingles, or, if you want to get technical, Herpes Zoster. Who wouldn’t want that? I went on seven days of anti-viral medication, and was fine within a few days.

My sister, Beth, had contracted Herpes Zoster at the same time, and we hadn’t seen each other for weeks. Strange, but, anything is possible when it comes to us. Look up weird in the dictionary, and you’ll find our picture.leslie&beth weird

My current bout of Shingles didn’t start out looking like the first. I had no idea what I’d sprouted this time, but it wasn’t pretty. So, to spare you the unappetizing details, I’ve supplanted any words pertaining to it with words that will hopefully evoke pleasant thoughts, and highlighted them in bold print. I don’t want to cause you nightmares, or the need to seek therapy.

puppy screen shot

I woke up on a Friday morning over a month ago with a puppy on the left side of my waist. Since I had an appointment for a re-check with my allergist* that day, who was doctor #1 (out of 4) in this entire extravaganza, I thought I’d ask her what she thought of my new adorable fluffy friend. She didn’t find it cute at all and prescribed ten days of antibiotics.

unicorn cartoon

I had a regular check-up with doctor #2, my rheumatologist, the following Monday, so I decided to wait to start the antibiotics. I wanted her opinion, but over the weekend, the puppy developed a rash that looked like a bullseye, so I was worried I had been licked by a unicorn at some point while frolicking outside with my dogs.

Doctor #2 tested me for Lemon Drop Disease, and told me to take the antibiotics. A few days later she called to tell me I did not have the disease and had probably not been licked by a unicorn.

After finishing the medicine, I still felt like hot apple pie a la mode. Mom and I were taking an overnight road trip to Indy, so I saw my Internist, doctor #3, a few days before we left, who prescribed more antibiotics. Nothing was going to stop me from going on this trip, even though I felt like birthday cake, and the cute little puppy felt like it was teething on my mid-section.

We got to spend time with Terry, and attend the preview party we’d been invited to of Mark Lee’s photo exhibit “A Visual Journey: From AIDS to Marriage Equality,”** which featured my brother, Paul Chase, as one of five people being honored for their dedication to making a difference in the LGBT community.

Barbie glam camper

A few days later, I noticed an entire litter of puppies next to the original puppy lounging by the pool of the Barbie Glam Camper parked on my left side. Plus, I was beginning to feel even worse, like I’d eaten too much chocolate-covered, cotton candy-flavored funnel cake.

Doctor #4 confirmed my suspicion that I had Shingles and put me on anti-viral and nerve-pain medications. I asked if I was contagious, and he said, “Only to people who haven’t had chicken pox or the Shingles vaccine, babies, pregnant women, and elderly people.” Was that all?

I felt like a walking Petri dish of Godiva Chocolate.

shingles 2

I had to go to Walgreens to pick up the medicine. I could have used the drive-thru, but I desperately needed supplies, such as gauze pads, Band-Aid paper tape, two bags of candy corn, and the latest copy of “Vogue” magazine.

As soon as I walked into Walgreens, I saw something better than candy corn, and, yes, even “Vogue”: Fleece-lined, stretchy, elastic-waist leggings, (2 for $12!) in “One Size Fits Most!” Due to the location of the puppies, wearing pants had been out of the question for days, except when the plumber came to fix the sink.

Otherwise, I just walked around with a blanket tied around my upper body, held in place with a stylish pin.

I knew once I got home from Walgreens, I would not be leaving the house until this best trip to Disneyland ever was over. It was going to be nice to have a wardrobe choice, though: leggings or the blanket.

The anti-viral medicine began working overnight, but made me loopier than usual. In fact, Richard found a small bottle of apple juice I must have left in the linen closet when getting a towel. I guess opening the linen closet is considered operating heavy machinery.

Today, I will take my last three doses of anti-Herpes Zoster medication and, since my contagion-o-meter should be “normal,” (I know, I had to laugh at using the word “normal” to describe myself, too,) I will be free to join life in public again tomorrow!

I’ve slept and been out of touch with the world for at least the past week. I wonder if anything crazy has happened, like the Cubs are in the playoffs, or Donald Trump might host SNL on November 7th. Oh, Leslie. Don’t be ridiculous!

*Please refer to my post ‘Bad Breath”

Article about Mark Lee’s photo exhibit:


Puppy photo courtesy:

Barbie Glam Camper photo courtesy:

Unicorn cartoon courtesy: