Shingles, the senior citizen’s version of chicken pox, is a painful malady that can pop out on the body at any time because people who have had chicken pox still carry the self-inflicting virus. We learned that when we discovered Roger’s latent virus had chosen to emerge at a time that made him contagious just as we were supposed to be getting on a plane and going to Miami to board a cruise ship for two weeks. It started as what his primary care doctor thought was a bacterial infection in his left eye. Treatment didn’t work. Over the following week it took trips to InstaCare, ER, and a specialist to finally diagnose it.
We had been planning this trip for months, looking forward to spending time with family members on an adventure we’d always remember. We are mighty disappointed to be here cooling our heels and assessing hour by hour Roger’s progress toward recovery. Don’t misunderstand—I’m also mighty glad he’s recovering, mighty glad there’s a specialist willing to see us on Easter Sunday afternoon, and a pharmacy open so we can get medication going right away, and mighty glad his vision has improved in that eye from 20/50 on Sunday to 20/30 on Wednesday. But we were both looking forward to a trip through the Panama Canal.
However, with the lesions still visible on his face, he is still considered contagious, although our doctor said in 20 years he had never seen anyone get chicken pox from someone with shingles. Since the cruise line believes it’s possible, and they make the rules, we would be barred from boarding the ship, or else Roger would be quarantined to the stateroom until the lesions were no longer visible, in about a week. Most vulnerable would be newborns and people with compromised auto-immune systems—not a lot of those people on cruise ships, but you never know.
Having purchased trip insurance, we will get a refund, and we’ll have some airline travel vouchers to use before the end of the year. So we have been consoling ourselves with an ongoing discussion of how to use this “windfall.” (And with chocolate; nothing consoles like chocolate.) We’ve decided to remodel a bathroom and take a leaf tour in upstate NY this fall. And I’ve registered for a day at the LDStorymakers conference next week.
Instead of sailing, I’m doing what I always do—writing and reading and reading and writing, and struggling with the ever-present challenges of clearing off my desk and generating some interest in cooking. Roger is puttering and medicating and sleeping and sleeping and medicating and puttering. We are both dealing with the disappointment and looking hopefully, expectantly toward compensations.