This morning I filed for Unemployment Insurance, got a speeding ticket, and was diagnosed with Herpes.
So basically, it was Monday.
For about I week I've been having bizarre pain in the right side of my chest. It felt like deep muscle burn interspersed with sharp, knife-like pains and that prickly super-itch I usually associate with a bad sunburn. But nothing seemed wrong when I examined myself in the mirror, no bruising, no cuts, no burns. Then a couple of days later two bright, red, spider bite marks appeared on my back just below my right shoulder.
Now things made sense. I've had spider bites before on my neck and their venom creates all sorts of weird aches and pains and sometimes nausea.
But the next day I had these "spider bites" all over my right nipple as well. Did he come back for more and bring his friends?
Finally, today, on my last day of viable health insurance for 2009, I woke up early and logged online to apply for Unemployment Insurance. Then I hopped into my car to head down to my doctor in Arcadia, hoping he'd let me in without an appointment and prescribe some sort of Cortizone shot to counter all this "venom" that I thought was in my body.
On my way there I took a downhill corner too fast and had a motorcycle cop on my tail. Court date is set for October.
Finally, in a poor mood, I made it to the doctor. Luckily, he saw me right away. He listened to my symptoms and when I lifted up my shirt to show him the marks he blurted out, "Herpes Zoster."
I froze with my shirt half over my head, knowing damn well what I heard but hoping his Asian accent had confused my brain.
"Um," I said, hopefully. "Is that a kind of spider?"
He blinked at me.
"No. It's herpes," he said.
"Yes. Very common in young people now. You should stay away from pregnant ladies, cause problems with fetus."
It was about this point where he realized is business-like bedside manner wasn't what I needed.
"Oh," he backpeddled. "Very common. Not dangerous."
Turns out most people have this stuff inside them ever since they contracted Chicken Pox as a child. Or you can get an airborn version of someone coughs on you when they are having an outbreak. It stays dormant until you're old and your immune system weakens.
So yes, Virginia, there is Herpes. Herpes is within all of us.
Outbreaks used to be common only in folks in their 60s but in recent years it's showing up more and more in folks my age. No one knows why but it's probably an environmental change or added stress levels at a younger age. Lovely.
So I ended my Monday morning in line for Valtrex at my local CVS Drugstore.
Later, a simple Wikipedia search freaked me out further. The internet minions claim this can cause partial paralysis. HOORAY! My doctor assures me I can treat the occasional outbreak that's caused by stress. I tend to believe the guy that speaks two languages and makes more money on his coffee break than I make in a week.