A Pain in the Butt. Literally!

August 8, 2010
What happens when shingles breaks out on the part of the body that sits on a chair?

Marie Adelaide on sofa with turban and reading a bookI was rather proud of myself last month because I wrote two blogs a week, even though I was out of the office from the 13th to the 31st. I also managed to write a couple newsletters. Expected to come back to work refreshed and energized, with lots of good memories of an Elderhostel trip to Arizona with two grandsons and the celebration of our fiftieth with all our children and most of the grandchildren.

The memories are there, but at the end of the vacation one of those never-saw-it-coming moments dropped into my life. I developed shingles, of all things. And it broke out on my rear end, of all places. And even though the doctor said it would only last a week to ten days, we’re well past that time already. The only up side is that the pain isn’t quite as severe as I guess it could be, according to reports I’ve read.

The downside is that I have to limit the time I spend sitting in front of this computer doing what I need to do. Nevertheless, I thought those of you who have been coming here to check on the latest should know why nothing new has appeared for awhile. Instead, you can imagine me lounging on the sofa reading a book, almost like Marie Adalaide of France, the charming woman in this picture by Jean-Etienne Liotard.

Incidentally, in the past I’ve had a fantasy that if I ever get sick and need to get off my feet, I will do serious reading. Too many books I “should” read and never get around to it. But what happens when I am forced to get off my feet and on my back? Then I don’t want those “should” books. I want something fun. So I’ve been able to finish Stieg Larsson’s trilogy of Lisbeth Salander and several of Lindsey Davis’ wonderful series of Marcus Didius Falco set in ancient Rome with great humor, mystery and fascinating characters.

If things don’t turn around soon, I’ll be able to read even more. And of course, I will continue to practice acceptance of life’s vicissitudes. But why couldn’t I have been given something with a little less discomfort with which to practice?

In any case, hope the rest of your summer ends well for all my readers.

Photo from Wikimedia


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6 thoughts on “A Pain in the Butt. Literally!

    1. Thanks. I like it too.

      When I first searched “sitting,” on Google images, I saw a picture I liked of someone sitting on a balance ball and would have used that with the caption of “No way.” But it wasn’t royalty-free, so I turned to Wikimedia, one of my favorite sources of pictures for illustrations. I would love to actually be catered to like this aristocratic lady, but the truth is that my husband is a first class caretaker and he’s been great as I’ve gradually gotten better at sitting and moving.



  1. Arlene,

    I love the illustration you’ve chosen! It’s just so perfect. And I’m very impressed with your great attitude and coping skills.

    I haven’t been able to finish Stieg Larsson’s trilogy either. So many books, so little time.



    1. As I said in my response to the comment above, I also like the illustration and wish I could be catered to in that fashion. (Though I must admit my husband does a great job of pampering me when I’m sick.)

      As to the Stieg Larsson books, I discovered they are a great distraction from the pressure of daily life. Maybe that’s because I am thankful I don’t have Lisbeth Salander’s problems.



  2. Oh my gosh Arlene, I’m glad to hear it wasn’t as severe as it could have been. I, too, occassionally get mild outbreaks of shingles. And even THOSE are pretty darn painful! I didn’t know what they were at first, and the pain was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I can’t wait until I’m 60 and can get vaccinated because, like you described, they truly ARE a pain in the butt! Best wishes to you!!!


    1. One of the interesting things in posting about shingles is the sympathy it gets you. I don’t think mine was quite as severe as some people describe, but it did last longer than I expected. Nice to no longer have to sit on one cheek, though.


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