I hope you all enjoyed last week’s post, because this week’s one is an ugly ‘un!
Never have I ever been so disappointed in the capabilities of my own body, and never before have I had to come to terms with just how fragile the human body actually is. I’ve always been so fascinated about how far one can push themselves to their own limits, and worked so hard to keep on top of everything, fearing that the worst part of my own nature was my mental health, but this week, my body decided to tell me enough is enough.
Working in a gym is like working in a hotbed of continuous germ crossovers and contamination. It’s not nice. Imagine the most disgusting locker room you’ve ever been in, and multiply that by a hundred, and then imagine you have to experience it every single day.
That’s what working inside a commercial gym is like.
I touch weights that have been touched by a hundred people before me on that same day but haven’t been wiped down; I wipe down treadmills that have been sweated on by Perspiration Percy not half an hour ago; I carry mats that have been dripped on by people in my own Circuits class, and I breathe in the air of every single one of the 4000 members of the gym- no matter if they have the cold, flu, measles, TB, or chicken pox.
At the end of last year, I caught the stomach flu from someone, and, given that I spend up to 14 hours a day in that basement gym, I am convinced someone in there passed it on to me. And nothing you say will ever persuade me otherwise.
Last weekend, after a night out celebrating Mr OneBigStressball’s exam results, I woke up on Saturday morning feeling like shit. Obviously. My head was banging, and I struggled to even finish my McDonald’s breakfast. Unheard of. The left hand side of my torso felt tender, and I saw some red spots on the skin. However, there are photos of me on that night out with a total of 3 drinks in my hand at any given time, so I was happy enough to chalk it down to a horrid hangover that comes with being the grand old age of 24.
The next day, though, the red spots got larger and started round the left hand side of my torso and round to my back. Again, I didn’t think anything of it… just assumed I might have had the beginnings of the flu and it wouldn’t be anything a lil bit of Lemsip couldn’t cure.
Say what you want about Lemsip but I really like the lemon flavoured one.
Monday morning hit and I didn’t need to be in work until later on in the day, but, true to my hypochondriac form, I started googling my symptoms, as the spots had gotten bigger and the whole thing had turned into a rash on the left hand side of my body. My muscles felt incredibly achy, and my face went blotchy red, as if I had been struck with rosacea.
WebMD said shingles. I told Mr OneBigStressball, but he didn’t believe me, because, as he said, looking at me in the eye all concerned and stuff ‘remember last month when you thought you had cancer of the anus?’
Yes. Yes I do remember when I thought I had something wrong with my bum, and, to be honest even now no-one has told me otherwise, so who even knows if something is actually wrong there? ANYWAY, as I didnt have to go into work till later on, I went to the GP and asked if it could be shingles, and they said yes. (HA! WebMD was RIGHT) The doctor said it was okay for me to work if I felt up to it, which at the time I did. I went in, and didn’t think anything of it… until my colleagues started making a big hoo-ha. One called me selfish for not thinking about everyone else and the fact they’d have to run their businesses and if they caught the shingles from me they’d have to take sick leave etc… another one said I could infect other gym members. So I got scared!
I cancelled the remaining clients of the day, which really upset me, because obviously, being self employed, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. It is as simple as that. Cancelling clients at any point makes me feel horrid, and I feel as if I’ve let them down as well as seeing the little ££ signs literally flying out of my purse.
Goodbye, money-that-I-could’ve-earned. See you never.
So, I told the clients I had scheduled for the rest of that night that I had to go home because I was sick, with the promise that I’d be back the next day. No such luck. I woke up the following day with excruciating pain down my entire left side. It was difficult enough to roll over in bed and get semi-comfortable, let alone actually get myself out of bed and into work, where I’d be lifting heavy weights and have to have enough energy to power a small house for a week.
Nope. It wasn’t happening.
I went to the open access service at the doctor again* and waited to be seen. I was then escorted into a SEPARATE ROOM because there was a pregnant lady in the waiting area and they’re highly susceptible to getting chicken pox from someone with shingles if they haven’t had it.
When I got seen to, this new doctor was shocked I hadn’t been prescribed medicine already, and gave me a sick note to stay off work, as well as being told to stock up on painkillers. At this point, I still hadn’t read up too much on the shingles virus, so thought everyone was making a big deal out of nothing serious.
But, I wasn’t going to sniff at getting a sick note, so took it and went to get the medicine I had been prescribed.
5 GIANT pills, every single day, for at least 2 weeks. I read up on the internet pages the doctor had written down for me to educate myself from this virus that had taken over my body, and was absolutely horrified. If left untreated, shingles can, in its worst form, lead to blindness.
It’s caused by a weakened immune system, which is frustrating, because I live a relatively healthy lifestyle. Being in the gym, the exact place where I’m trying to help OTHERS be healthy, is what’s making my immune system weaken, because I’m exposed to everyone else’s ailments, so it’s a little bit of a catch-22. Ugh.
However, I was able to throw the information I found back into the face of the people at work who had made me feel bad. You CANNOT catch shingles from shingles. You can only get chicken pox from shingles, so in the worst case scenario, my colleagues who haven’t had chicken pox before would have just gotten that and been a bit itchy for a while.
The next two and a half days consisted of me napping, waking up in pain, taking medication and then going straight back to sleep. One morning I woke up and genuinely thought that Mr OneBigStressball had punched me in the gut in his sleep and for a split second was furious, before I realised it was my virus causing me the pain and he would never ever hit me, whether he was conscious or not.
I had to inform all my clients I wouldn’t be at work for at least 3 days, doctor’s orders, and it meant having to reschedule half of them to this Saturday. I don’t normally work on a Saturday, but my logic here was that I’d rather work an extra day and still make back the money that I should have made in the last couple of days than have another day off and not be paid at all.
Today, I had to try and get up at my normal time again, in a bid to train myself to not lie in after the 3 days of not working. I woke up, and was yet again in a lot of pain, but managed to control it by forcing myself to take yet more painkillers and grinning and bearing it. If that’s what I have to do tomorrow to get through a 14 and a half hour day, then so be it.
I don’t do well with being told to rest, so three days of forced bed rest at this moment in my life just felt like punishment to be honest. I hated having to text clients – existing and potential – that I wasn’t at work because I was too weak to go and make myself a cup of tea let alone efficiently coach someone how to squat properly, and I hated relying on Mr OneBigStressball for everything. Call me obnoxious or whatever, I firmly believe in doing things for myself, and having 3 days where my boyfriend had to physically put pills in my hands and watch me cry from pain was not my idea of a week well spent.
Just now I am on the mend though, I think. My rash isn’t as painful to the touch anymore, and I spent the day with my mum without feeling too much pain in my side. Hopefully after writing this I’ll have enough of a good night’s sleep to get me through tomorrow.
Have any of you guys had the shingles? What was your experience like?