This was an exciting week filled with both highs and lows. I didn’t mention it earlier because I didn’t want to take away from Adelaide’s big day, but now that the birthday weekend is over, I can sum up the week with: Shingles, car accident and a birthday party.
The weekend before last I had a lot of pain on my right side. At first it was a surface-level burn, like a rug burn or as if I had a too tight elastic waist band. However by Sunday, while the burning was still there, it was deeper and more achy. The pain was familiar to me; it felt a lot like when I had Shingles back in 2001. I didn’t have much of a rash, just two bumps that looked like mosquito bites, but it too was consistent with the Shingles I had previously. Early Monday morning I called to see if the doctor could get me in for one of their urgent appointments that day. Sure enough, I was given a Shingles diagnosis.
For those who aren’t familiar with Shingles, you can only get Shingles if you’ve already had the chicken pox. After you’ve had the chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in your nervous system. They don’t really know why it flares and appears as Shingles. It usually happens to people who have compromised immune systems, and that’s why it often strikes older people. I don’t recommend Googling it for images. The photos are awful and apparently not representative of most cases. I had a mild case in 2001, and it was even more mild this time since I knew what it was and caught it so early. I was given an anti-viral medication to keep it from getting worse and handled the pain with ibuprophen. For some it can be completely debilitating.
I took a sick day on Tuesday to rest, and I had already planned to take Thursday, Friday and Monday as vacation days since my parents were driving in from Illinois for Adelaide’s birthday. They arrived Thursday afternoon. Friday afternoon my parents, Adelaide and I loaded in the car and headed to the Please Touch Museum (Philadelphia’s Children’s Museum). We never made it.
On our way, we ran into some traffic. The car in front of me braked suddenly, and I slammed on the brakes. I came to a complete stop on the highway and breathed a short one-second sigh of relief before–BANG–I was slammed from behind. My hood was crunched, my trunk was smashed. Everyone seemed okay. Still, my mom, Adelaide and I all went to the hospital to get checked out. Mom had some pain across her chest where the seatbelt had hit her. Since she had lung surgery in November and has other health problems, we wanted to play it safe. Since Adelaide can’t talk and tell us what hurts, we wanted to get her looked at as well. I had some pain in my neck and shoulders, so they put a neck brace on me. They taped me to a board, even tape across my forehead, and then rolled me to the ambulance on a gurney.
It was surreal. Positioned flat on my back, I looked to the sky as I was rolled down the interstate. They had completely shut down the west-bound lanes of I-76.
The ambulance ride was heartbreaking. I could hear Adelaide fussing and wanting to be held and comforted by me. She’s become quite the mamma’s girl the last couple weeks. All I wanted to do was cry – to go home and curl up in my bed and cry. While I was so thankful that everyone was okay, I couldn’t help but see flashes of dollar signs. A new car? Our car was paid off–we can’t afford a car payment right now. A new car seat? (any time a car seat is in an accident it needs to be replaced because its safety could be compromised). We just got that car seat. Plus, our stroller was in the trunk, and now it won’t fold up. More dollar signs.
It was Adelaide’s first ambulance ride – not a “first” I wanted any time soon. All three of us were released from the hospital that afternoon. Adelaide had some marks on her shoulders where the car seat straps had pulled her in, but that was it. Both her car seat and my car did their jobs and kept us safe. Unfortunately for my car (and for us!), the car is totaled. Now, we’re waiting to see what happens with our insurance claim. My car was old and not worth much, but already I’m having a hard time adjusting to the mindset that we don’t have a car.
“We should go to the pool on Sunday,” I told Tim last night.
“How will we get there?” he asked.
“Oh yeah.” I said deflated.
We live in an urban environment. Public transportation is good, and neither Tim nor I drive to work. There are a couple of car share options in Philly. Still, I loved the flexibility of just jumping in the car for a spur-of-the-moment run to Target. I totally took that for granted.
Although I was stiff and a little bruised on Saturday, we had a great time celebrating Adelaide’s first birthday. I’ll post more photos from the party soon.