Seriously?

I could literally give birth any day now. It’s so hard to believe the time is finally here. During what should be quite the exciting time, though, I have managed to get the unthinkable. Nay, the unimaginable. The never-thought-this-would-ever-possibly-happen-to-me.

Shingles.

What in the world?

I’m not over 50. I don’t have “a weak immune system.” I mean, I’m not great, but I’m not deathly ill and/or not taking care of myself. I haven’t been overly stressed – the stress I did have was like in August. There is just no reason for this.

It happened, wow, almost two weeks ago now. The week of the 6th, I started having like an irritation under my bra line on the right side. I just figured it was the bra, no big deal. But every day, I was like, “Man, that really hurts,” but there was never anything there. Then, off and on during the week, one single spot in my upper back, on the right as well, would hurt like crazy. Thursday night, my back was really hurting and I had a tough time sleeping. Friday, my back was throbbing – I could literally count to 3 in between the pulses of pain. And I had a nice red mark (finally) under my bra line. My back was hurting so horribly bad, Brian made me cancel school for the afternoon. I spent the afternoon in bed, trying to get comfortable. But by evening, the pain was bringing me to my knees when it would hit and I just cried and cried for at least an hour because there was no relief from the sharp, jabbing, shooting pain. It was mind-numbing. And there was seemingly nothing I could do about it.

Saturday, the back pain was just constant, no more throbbing, which somehow made it… better? But, the red had grown and by Saturday night, was covered in blisters. Sunday, the area of blisters had at least doubled and some of the blisters were the size you’d get on your heel from a small pair of shoes. Needless to say, I was in a crazy amount of pain and was just baffled. The pain was making me nauseous and honestly, over all, I just felt sick. We had no clue what was going on.

My mom has been sick for awhile now and so she was awake at night over the weekend, praying for me amidst her own illness. Sunday, she didn’t go to church and she said she was trying so hard to think of the name of what she thought I might have. And then it came to her Sunday night in her sleep. Definitely from the Lord. She emailed us with some websites and suggested we look into shingles – of all things. Never in a million years would we have thought of shingles! Brian looked it up online and he was shocked – it was so exactly what I had it wasn’t even funny. But, the issue then was that it’s inconclusive if it will hurt an unborn baby or not. Plus, if not treated, it can get into your spine and turn into meningitis. Just what I need.

Monday afternoon, a friend of mine called the doctor. Why didn’t we call? Well, phone calls in Spanish are still difficult for Brian and the pain was making me unable to think clearly – there was no way I could explain it over the phone to my doctor. So, a friend called and explained and our doctor lovingly said, “I don’t work Mondays. She’ll have to wait until Tuesday night.” Wow. This from the doctor who said, “Please call for anything – no matter how big or small!” I had some choice words for her, but I won’t use them here.

So, my friend offered to call HER doctor (she just gave birth to boy #2 in August and raves about her doctor). Brian said absolutely, so she called and her doctor, who is hard to get into, said, “Bring her in! I’ll see her today. It’s very important that I see her.” Praise the LORD! We went in right away and she even bumped the patient that was in the waiting room to see us. She was such a God-send. She spoke and understood just enough English that I could explain the problem properly in English and not have to make up words in Spanish. She knew what she was doing. She took one look at it and confirmed it was shingles. She gave me an ultrasound – in her office – to make sure the baby truly is okay. She made sure I was not ready to give birth, which I wasn’t, which apparently is a good thing. Then promptly put me on 10 days of bed rest and a week of medicine. I’m not to provoke labor until I’m better from the shingles or the odds of my baby getting shingles are very high. Can you imagine a baby with shingles?? I would never forgive myself. It’s also contagious, especially to children, so I’m not to be around people. Not that I want to be around people, honestly. I’m hardly sociable. This is the most talkative I’ve been all week.

This doctor’s visit went well enough that we decided to switch doctors. She graciously offered to deliver my baby (as long as I have her before Oct 3 when she goes on vacation!!) – she’ll even come to our clinic and deliver the baby there. We pay our clinic fee (which is substantially lower than her clinic fee) and then pay her directly what she charges. Still a better deal than using our doctor who “doesn’t work on Mondays.” We’ll see this new doctor again on Wednesday and discuss the details then. I’m 95% sure my baby has really, honestly dropped (not faux-dropped like she did a few weeks ago) and I just have this *feeling* we don’t have much longer. The doctor thought for sure I’d have her in two weeks… that’s the end of this coming week. I can definitely see that happening. I just feel like my body is getting ready… I can’t explain why or how and there’s nothing concrete so I could so be wrong, but I just feel like it’s getting close to time.

So. Of all things to end this pregnancy with! The only plus side I can see is the switch of doctors. I haven’t been comfortable with my doctor for the last three months, but we didn’t feel like switching was a good idea nor did we have a legitimate reason except that we weren’t satisfied with her. Then, of course, this morning Brian says to me (after I apologized again for feeling like I’m expensive to take care of), “Oh no, I hated our doctor. But, you told me you needed me to be strong and supportive so I figured if I said anything I’d just set you off more since I knew you already didn’t like her. But honestly, I couldn’t stand her. I have no problem going to a new doctor!” Men. Why couldn’t he have said that months ago, I ask you? Oh well. He’s right – if I’d known he didn’t like her, too, then I REALLY would’ve hated going to appointments.

Hopefully this is my last post before baby. Everything is ready. One of these days I should really pack my bag. I have a nice little list made up… but nothing’s actually IN the bag. I should really do that. The room is ready except Brian hasn’t hung up the wooden butterflies and flowers he made. Laundry is done. The crib is all set. Just missing my little hiccupy child. Maybe soon! Just not too soon… I’d really like to be all healed up first.

**For those of you wondering – shingles is NOT chicken pox (that’s what everyone here is saying I have). It’s NOT the same. It’s the same VIRUS, but not the same thing. If you’ve had chicken pox, you have shingles living in you, but very rarely does it actually become an active virus and there’s no medical reason for it reappearing. It basically latches onto a nerve, on one side of your body, normally either on your head, by your eye, or around your chest. It starts off as just pain (my back pain and the pain under my bra line), then turns into a rash and then some people get what I got – all the blisters. I won’t give you gory details, but the blisters have to heal and you can use your imagination for that part. Because it’s attached to a nerve, the pain is excruciating (and never ending…..). It can make you sick – it IS a virus, like chicken pox – so you can feel just as sick (which I have) and extremely tired (especially if you’re like me and can’t sleep for more than a half hour at a time, if you’re lucky). It can take weeks to heal. For me, it’s been a full week since the blisters appeared, two weeks since the pain started, and less than a week since I’ve had any kind of medication. It could be here awhile longer yet. So, remember my post about being confused about the chicken pox vaccine? Yeah. No more. My kids are so getting that vaccine because I would never in a million years wish shingles on them at any time in their lives!**

Recipe of the Week.

I like peanut butter, but I like using it in more non-traditional ways than just on toast. My mom and my sister live on the stuff; I’d rather use it in baking and in meals. I worked at an Asian restaurant in college and one of my favorite sauces we had was a Thai peanut sauce. I put it on everything. I found a recipe for Thai peanut sauce a few years ago and have somewhat adapted it and added to it. Last night, this is what I did and it turned out SO good.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, half a red onion, 3 garlic cloves, half a red pepper, one large carrot, pound of spaghetti, chicken broth, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, ground ginger, salt, pepper

  • Cut the chicken into chunks; dice up the onion and red pepper; peel and slice the carrot into tiny chunks; mince the garlic cloves
  • Saute the chicken, adding salt, pepper, and some ground ginger. When the chicken is just turning white, add the onions (this keeps them from burning or sticking to the pan) and one clove of minced garlic. When the chicken is just about done, add the red pepper.
  • Meanwhile cook the spaghetti according to packages directions until al dente and steam the carrots until tender.
  • In a small bowl, combine about 1/4cup of peanut butter with a few Tablespoons of honey. Shake in a few Tablespoons of soy sauce and a couple teaspoons of ground ginger. Add the last 2 minced garlic cloves.
  • Drain the pasta when done, but don’t put it back in the pot right away (I leave it in the strainer in the sink). In the hot pasta pot, add the chicken broth, almost 2cups worth, and the peanut butter mixture. Keep the heat on low and whisk until smooth. Warm the mixture, but it doesn’t need to even really simmer – just be warm all the way through. I taste the sauce continually to make sure it has the right amount of peanut butter and soy and doesn’t taste just like chicken broth with a few added things. I normally end up adding a few more spoonfuls of peanut butter, which of course means a touch more honey, soy, and ginger, until the flavoring is right.
  • Once the sauce is warm, tastes right, and starting to thicken, add the pasta, the chicken mixture, and the carrots. Toss to coat – there won’t be a ton of sauce; should be just enough to coat the dish.
  • Serve warm with extra soy sauce on the side (Brian always, always, always adds more soy sauce. I have no idea why.).

I looove this dish. I like it also with pork – I do the same thing as the chicken with adding ginger to the pork while it’s sauteeing. Tender pork and other veggies, like peas, go well in this dish. I think it would also be good with peanuts and scallions on top. Enjoy!

September 2010
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