Life Lessons · My Thoughts

Shingles: The Result of Procrastination!

Asleep on the couch - shingles

I have shingles, diagnosed seven weeks ago and the pain, itching and burning continues. I meant to get the vaccine many times, but kept procrastinating. So now I suffer!

On Friday afternoon, April 1, Lin and I colored my hair, getting ready for our first square and round dance festival in two and a half years. I wanted to look good, and I hadn’t colored my hair in several months.

After Lin rinsed the color off, I jumped into the shower to rinse more thoroughly and take my shower before the evening dance. In drying off, I noticed some red bumps on my forehead, but I didn’t notice they were only on the right side. I wondered if I had gotten allergic to the hair color!

We had a delightful time at that festival (I wrote about it on April 3 for my blog), but I didn’t feel right—just off. We danced Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday morning. After the festival on Sunday afternoon, I attended the funeral of the wife of a dear friend and met another friend from out-of-town there, then we spent the rest of the afternoon together. As time went on, I felt sicker.

When I got home, I slept for two hours. After that nap, I looked in the mirror and the rash on my forehead had worsened. Deep in my heart, I feared it was shingles because my dad had them in 1988 when he turned 70 years old, and it looked similar. Now I noticed it appeared only on the right side.

Back then, the medical world thought Dad needed to be in isolation because shingles were highly contagious. So, we had to don medical clothes, and it was horrible. He looked like someone had painted half of his bald head red! He suffered with his eyebrow hurting until he died.

You would think that experience would have convinced me to get the shingles vaccine, but no, I kept thinking, “Next month, next year!”

The other reason I didn’t rush to get the vaccine is I thought I had not had the chickenpox, and I had read you had to have chickenpox to get shingles. I had never broken out with chickenpox; however, when my mom’s best friend’s baby got chickenpox, Mom put my brother and I in her crib so we’d get them as children. They did that back then as preventive measures—children suffered less with the childhood diseases than adults did.

I never broke out! However, during my teaching career, we had a chickenpox epidemic at one school I taught at, and I never got them. I always thought that curious! So, I probably had the chickenpox as a baby and was asymptomatic (I’ve learned the meaning of that word since the pandemic).

On Monday, April 4, I went to Urgent Care, and the doctor confirmed what I feared—I had shingles on the right side of my face: my scalp, forehead, eyelid and under my eye. He prescribed ValAcylcovir, an antiviral medication. When I got home, I messaged my primary care physician about the location of the shingles and he immediately responded, “Get to your eye doctor this week!”

So, I saw my eye doctor on Wednesday to make sure my eye was okay and it was, but he prescribed another week of the ValAcylcovir. Lin got his first shingles vaccination that day because he didn’t want to go through what I was!

For the first few weeks, I used calamine lotion on the rash—it helped so much with the itching and burning. Then a friend on Facebook suggested using CBD oil because her husband had been relieved when he used it when he had shingles. I had so many suggestions on Facebook, but I couldn’t try them all.

During the first four weeks, I had a leisure morning, tried to work on the computer for a couple hours in the afternoon, then I had rested for a couple hours—so unlike me!

Last week, I saw my primary care physician for a checkup for the shingles. He prescribed Gabapentin for my pain. The Tylenol didn’t help with the pain anymore. As I faced the fifth week, my doctor said I had postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of pain, burning, and itching that can last an indefinite amount of time.

Then I faced chairing a square and round dance festival the second weekend in May, so I did it last weekend, but it took its toll on me. I tried to catch up this whole last week. Then I helped minimally at another festival this weekend. I just didn’t have the energy to take part the way I’m used to.

Last night, I suffered with severe stomach cramps when I got home from the dance. I slept with a heating pad and went to sleep, but the severe stomach pain woke me at 4:00 am and continued relentlessly until 6:00 am.

I’m afraid my pain medication is clashing with my stomach medication and that may cause the stomach cramps! What to do???

Shingles are horrible, and I didn’t break out as severely as many people, primarily because I got the antiviral medicine so quickly.

This is my personal PSA (Public Service Announcement): if you are 50 or older, get the vaccine even if you don’t think you had the chickenpox! After seven weeks and facing my eighth, I do not know when this will end. I had many plans canceled (an audiobook put on hold, my seventh book put on hold, life put on hold!). Don’t take a chance!

~NEWEST PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”:

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks:

Coronavirus · My Thoughts

Vaccinated: Short, Sweet & to the Point

Asleep after being vaccinated

Finally, I got vaccinated on Friday morning for my second Covid-19 shot. I got the Moderna, and I’ve heard more people have reactions to it. My husband received the Pfizer vaccine and had no reaction at all. I wasn’t so lucky. The rest of Friday I felt okay, but my arm hurt where I was vaccinated. Yesterday and today have been a different story. I’ve slept the days away.

Yesterday I had a slight fever, chills, aches like the flu but nothing too bad. I just slept! Today’s the same. The endless sleeping has been strange—lots of images, not dreams and noise in my ears! During my sleep, I felt inundated with images, and when I wake up, I’m tired and exhausted, ready to go back to bed. My brain feels fuzzy.

For this A-type personality I am, this has been hard on me! I’m usually going ninety miles an hour! I have things to do, people to see, life to live!

Jesse, my cat
Jesse, my seventeen-year-old cat

My seventeen-year-old cat, Jesse, didn’t like me being inaccessible to him, so he made it upstairs twice yesterday to sleep outside our bedroom door. He doesn’t easily make it upstairs anymore because of his arthritic back legs—you can’t tell me cats don’t love!

This evening has been better—I’m not sound asleep. Today my brain is still fuzzy, and it’s hard to concentrate, but I’ve been able to do this blog so that’s progress. Hopefully tomorrow will be better! The good news is I’m vaccinated! After a couple weeks, I can return to some normalcy—a trip to our family ranch in southeastern Colorado. I haven’t been there since February because of my cataract surgeries.

And soon, I hope to be dancing!

What I learned these two strange days from being vaccinated is that you have to listen to your body! I went to bed; I slept, and that was probably the best medicine for me.

Did you get vaccinated? Did you have a reaction to the vaccine? If so, what? (Scroll down below the information below for the Comments section!)

Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Cover of Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there:

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-June.

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”:


~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books:

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page:

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces:

Coronavirus · Life Lessons · My Thoughts

Waiting for the Vaccine?

Photo by destiawan nur agustra from Pexels

Are you waiting for the coronavirus vaccine? I am but not very gracefully! I want it NOW! My nerves feel frayed. I vacillate between understanding the delay and wanting mine now, no matter what!

Because of a suggestion of an older friend, I registered at the New Mexico website and received my number several weeks ago. My husband drug his feet, thinking he’d wait for the Johnson & Johnson one shot treatment.

Then he had a phone call with his primary care physician on another issue, and the doctor quizzed him, “Have you gotten the vaccine yet?” He questioned him because Lin has been reluctant to take any of the vaccines until this doctor convinced him of the importance of the flu shot, specifically.

In response, Lin said, “No, I’m going to wait for the Johnson & Johnson shot.”

Our doctor responded sharply, “New Mexico has bought the two vaccines. There’s no guarantee they’ll buy the third one. Sign up!”

When he got off the phone, I signed him up. He’s eighty years old and within a few weeks he received a text to set up a time. He did and has taken the first shot at the Pit, the basketball court for the University of New Mexico.

When he went to get vaccinated, I rode with him, just in case he had any reaction. He didn’t and was really impressed with the efficiency of the operation there. They set up his second shot for mid-March, so he sees a light at the end of the tunnel!

As always, I turned to poetry to express my exasperated feelings:

Waiting for the vaccine
Photo by Serkan Göktay from Pexels

I Hate Waiting!

February 28, 2021

 Here I sit
                                                 For the coronavirus vaccination!
 I’m 67 years old
             Old enough you’d think
                                     In a nebulous zone
 Caught between
             Not old enough
                         For the first priority group
             Not young enough
                         Not to worry
Shortly, we face a year’s anniversary 
             Since this pandemic started.
Quickly the talk of the vaccine began
             Questions arose
                         Too soon?
                                     Too quick?
                                                 Too everything?
 Tests held
             Thousands of willing guinea pigs
 More questions
             More waiting
 Then the day came!
 The vaccine roll-out started
             In the UK
                         December 14, 2020
             In the USA
                         January 14, 2021
             Yet I had some misgivings
                         At first
             Total acceptance
 And I keep waiting!

 I’ve been obedient
             Watched my P's and Q's!
                         Social distance
                         Wash hands religiously
                                     After trips to Colorado
                                                 To safeguard Lin 
At first,
                         Against my gregarious nature
             Tired and exhausted
 I see the vaccine
             As the pathway
                         To normalcy
             As the pathway
                         To perhaps
Instead I sit here
                         Is it tomorrow
                                     I get the long-awaited text?
                         Is it this week?
                                     Or the next?
 Waiting to go back
             To go forward
                         To do something proactive
                                     To undo what’s been
                                                 Ongoing a year!
 I realize
             The vaccine is not a panacea!
 We still have to be cautious,
             But when we both are vaccinated
                         We can think
                                     Of possibilities
                         We can dream
                         We can stretch
                                     Our shrunken imaginations
                                                 To venture forth.
 Will the new world
             Demand I show
                         My vaccine card
                                     At dances?                 
                         For sure on airplanes
                         For sure to travel
                                     To foreign countries
 Is this new sought-after card
             My entry
                         Back into life?
 I’m waiting
 A possible silver lining
             For my wait!
                                     Johnson & Johnson
                                                 Will be available
                                                 When my time comes—
 That means one shot
             Instead of two!
 So, the waiting
             Once again,
                         As is so often,
                                     Maybe the reward!
 I’ll wait and see! 

Right now, in New Mexico, I have to wait for Phase 1A and 1B, because I’m in Phase 1C—60 years old and older. When I look at the list of people in the two phases above me, I shudder, because there’s many crucial people who should receive it before me. See the document:

So I will wait!

In closing, my turn will come. My life will change when it happens. Will yours? Are you getting the vaccine? Have you got it? Are you impatiently waiting like me right now? I’d love to hear from you.

Did you miss one of my blogs in February? Here’s a chance to see them:

Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there:

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”:


~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me & my books:

~My Amazon Author’s Page:

~ Visit my Etsy Shop for all my books:


~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: