Ouch. I woke up with a stiff neck. Sort like a Charlie Horse between my shoulders. Or like the pinched nerve I had during lacrosse season my junior year in high school. My chest hurt as well. Felt like I had been punched in it. I gobbled down some ibuprofen and went to work. My youngest had a fever. Tropical Storm Nicole had dumped a shit ton of rain on the state of North Carolina, which was much needed, causing soccer practice to be cancelled. Friday I stayed home with my feverish son. Soreness in chest still present. Back still hurt. Gobbled down more ibuprofen to calm the cramping. By 3pm he said his ear hurt. And then his throat. I made it to walk-in before it closed at 6pm. Doctor confirmed he had a raging ear infection. My skin started to tingle. “Fucking flu is coming on,” I thought. We watched movies then all went to bed early. Got up at sunrise for soccer games on Saturday. The dawn chill gave way to a beautiful sunny morning very quickly. Was that a fever coming on? Or just the simple fact that I had dressed in jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt and now I was on the verge of getting sunburn on my nose. Body tingled. Back and neck muscle pain had now merged, making it feel like a stake had been stuck through me. My right nipple was sensitive. At dusk we skated behind the shopping center old school style. I bailed hard on an ollie up a curb landing on my elbow and palm. Still felt icky. Still wondered when this flu bug was going to rear its head and kick my ass. Noticed a small rash on the right side of my chest after I showered. Sunday morning we went to the skatepark but the muscle cramps were not conducive to shredding. Then some shaved head lumberjack who had no business being on a skateboard much less at a skatepark took a spill. His head hit the cement and rang out like a church bell. He got knocked out. The few of us there tended to him (as did his girlfriend/wife). I don’t think my sons will ever question why they should wear a helmet again. Later in the day me and the boys joined together to make chili and watch football. I felt gross. Noticed rash had spread after I got out of shower. That night my head turned into a boiling caldron, my muscles clenched themselves, I sweated through several shirts. I laid as still as possible. I had the chills even though I was burning up. My limbs couldn’t retract close enough to me. “Is this the beginning of rigor mortis?” I thought. Have I’ve died? Is my spirit in limbo watching me shiver and shake. I looked up malaise in the dictionary and saw a picture of myself. I emailed work, “Must have flu. Off to the doctor’s…” Not that the doctor could do anything about the flu except confirm it. “I’ve got this rash too,” I told him. “Well take off your shirt and let’s see… Oh my! You’ve got shingles,” he said. Shingles? Shingles! What. The. Fuck. “Does it hurt?” he asked. “It’s stings. It’s unpleasant,” I said. “Well it is going to get more painful,” he said. He explained the scenario. I was sent home to rest. I got a prescription for the rash and the pain. For three days now I’ve fought fevers, pain and blistered skin. Netflix is my best friend. Work is an afterthought. Survival is my main concern. If you don’t have your health, what do you have?

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