I was drying off after a long hot shower when I discovered a small red welt on my calf.
Must’ve come from Colt whacking me with his baseball bat, I thought.
But an hour later, the welt was three times its original size. It was tingly and hot. I made Todd examine it.
(Gone are the days when I would’ve hidden it from him out of fear he’d be grossed out and turned off. Six years of marriage and anything goes.)
We watched the wound fester before our eyes. I grabbed my laptop and Googled flesh-eating bacteria.
I have a bad habit of regularly Googling symptoms like stomach aches, toothaches, headaches, hemorrhoids…
I know what I’m going to find is an exaggerated version of the truth, but I can’t help it.
I indulge myself in explicit photos of protruding guts, brain tumors, abscessed molars.
Flesh-eating bacteria. Necrotizing Fasciitis. Furiously, I read through articles on zip lining, amputations. Death. I became more and more certain of my affliction.
The next morning the wound was larger and blistering over.
The girls at work thought it was Poison Ivy, but I didn’t recall any recent walks in the wilderness. We live in an apartment complex. There’s barely any trees. Maybe when I parked near that bush the other day, there was some wild ivy growing around it that I didn’t notice?
Since I work close to a supermarket, I decided to hobble over and ask the pharmacist about my leg. I hoisted it up on to the counter. “Is this Poison Ivy or Necrotizing Fasciitis?” I asked.
She said she’d never seen anything like it.
Convinced my undiagnosable sickness was contagious, my coworker nervously drove me to the doctor.
I had Shingles.
I had heard of Shingles, but thought it only happened to old people. Turns out a head cold and a new job is also a recipe for leg herpes.
But I was so relieved to know I wasn’t going to need a double amputation, I called my parents.
“I have Shingles!” I said. “I don’t have flesh-eating bacteria!”
My dad was dumbfounded.
It’s not that Shingles don’t suck. They do. They burn and itch and make wearing a skirt impossible.
But I was going to get to keep all my parts. Hooray!
Word to the wise…don’t google anything but restaurants and road maps. Ignorance is bliss.