According to my husband, I plan to be fascinated at 9:30 a.m. this morning. I’m going to be vaccinated, but since he heard “fascinated,” I’m sticking with that. So, in a few hours, a shiny, sharp needle will be sticking in my arm transferring some of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) into my system.
It won’t be the first time I’ve had VZV in my body, although I have no recollection of that first encounter. Sometime before age eight, the crazy chicken that carries the virus got inside my house, pecked me all over my body, made me itch like crazy, and forced my mother to cover me in pink dots. It also left a small scar on my forehead as a memento. That’s what my mother told me. (Not exactly the part about the crazy chicken, but the part about the itchy sores, dotting me with pink Calamine lotion, and the scar.)
Almost everyone my age (calculate 114.71 Fijian dollars into U.S.) had the chicken pox as a child, due to the fact that we all breathed. Those that didn’t never got the disease. The rest of us inhaled and exhaled everywhere we went and then hung out with friends who not only snorted milk through their noses but also coughed and sneezed at will without covering their mouths or noses.
Now all of us (yes, we put the “us” in “virus”) are at risk of reactivating the VZV that has been lurking in our bodies all these years. The virus is like a tiny egg that the crazy chicken laid in our bodies all those years ago, just waiting to hatch and peck us again, only this new crazy chicken can cause extreme pain and nerve damage.
The CDC reports that the vaccine can cause redness, itchiness, soreness, and headache – much like watching reality TV. But I will not chicken out or scratch my plans. (Forgive the puns; I’ve been cooped up all week due to the 50-degree weather in Wisconsin.)
Once I’m fascinated, I have a 50-50 chance of avoiding shingles and/or reducing nerve pain and damage. I think it’s worth a shot.