Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I have unnatural phobias and I rock back and forth when I panic. I need psychiatric assistance and chemical intervention. This is old news. Live in the now!

So, one of my neurotic triggers is the conjunction of the words “bed” and “bug.” Recently, I was listening to talk radio as I drove home from dropping Darby off at school. It is weird for me to listen to talk radio because I am acutely aware of the negative impact it has on my mental state, but for whatever reason I turned on the station of doom and gloom. In His infinite wisdom, God had me hear the following as I passed the public library that Darby and I visit weekly. “Mesa’s main public library has been closed due to a bedbug infestation.”

You have got to be freaking kidding me right now.

Upon my arrival home, I ripped the sheets off of each of the beds and fought the urge to rock back and forth as I searched for signs of the intruders. Nothing. Thank you, Heavenly Father.

The following day, my back began to itch. Now, multiple sclerosis is just brimming with sweet little surprises, including phantom itchy spots which, for me, always manifest on my back. I had Frankie look me over to make sure that there were no red marks or anything that might otherwise explain the phenomenon, but there was nothing. I was grateful that it was just the ms itch and I went about my day. When I woke up the next morning with 9 red spots on my back, I was less calm.

After much research, Frank was sure that there was nothing to indicate that we had brought home the plague of the public library. You know, except for the 9 bug bites on my back. I, however, was less convinced. I searched Darby over and she was clean. Frankie was not itching. I bounce back and forth between Darby’s bed and Frankie’s bed all night (notice that I have no bed that I claim as my own), so it didn’t make sense that they were fine and I was wrecked. Anyway, the spots were getting worse and Frankie suggested that I go to the doctor.

Poor Frank. It was his birthday and we were sitting in the doctor’s office together. I, of course, was rocking back and forth on the exam table as we awaited the verdict. The medical assistant asked why I was in that day as she readied the blood pressure cuff. I told her I had bug bites or a rash and we weren’t sure what it was. I then asked her, “Do you sort of want to wash your hands right now?” She laughed and said, “Well, it’s not on your arm.” I’m sure she washed her hands upon leaving the room. I mean, you say the word “rash” and you want to wash your hands. And she was touching rash-girl, so I can’t blame her.

It was taking a long time for the doctor to enter the room and Frankie said that they were probably all outside playing rock/paper/scissors to see who had to look at the girl with the rash. That made me laugh so hard! That Frankie can always diffuse a situation.

When the doc entered the exam room, he said, “You know, I have to say that when I walked in here, you were both smiling. That almost never happens when I walk into an exam room, so thank you.” When I told him about the itch and the mysterious bites, he said, “You have shingles.” He then looked at my back for half a second and said, “Yeah, you have shingles.”

Freaking shingles? Are you for real?

I promptly asserted that Frankie was my only sexual partner so there was no way I could have an STD :). Luckily, the doctor knew I was kidding. Shingles is adult chicken pox. If you had chicken pox as a child, the virus lives dormant (usually) in you for the rest of your life. It can manifest again in adulthood as shingles if you are elderly or have a compromised immune system. My injection is an immune suppressor, so bingo. Mystery solved.

Frankie said, “Hillary, of course you have a disease that causes another disease!” He sure has to put up with a lot.

Luckily, you cannot pass shingles to anyone who has had chicken pox or the vaccination. Frankie had the pox and Darby has had the vaccination. Phew because you know I would have had a break-down right then.

I had to cancel the birthday babysitter because it would just be irresponsible to expose her and her children to the possibility of chicken pox, especially not knowing their vaccination history. Frank was a trooper, though. What a good man.

But, I must say that because I was sure we had acquired a pestilence of Biblical proportions, i was even extra happy and relieved to find out it was just shingles. My dad said, “That doctor was probably really curious about how happy you were that you just had shingles!”

True story.

I think Heavenly Father orchestrated that series of events just for a good laugh. I mean, I’m pretty comical when I get anxious and I like the thought of giving my Heavenly Father a good belly laugh. I believe that humor is a gift.

So, do you have anything gross and contagious?