The latest shingles shot, that is. Since no one seems to want to enjoy a bout with shingles, the new Shingrix vaccine has been in short supply.
Now, however, our neighborhood Facebook group reports that the local grocery store pharmacy has it. I went by the Walgreen’s, where supposedly my name was on a wait list, only to find they’d never heard of me. 😀 WHY am I not surprised?
Well, this stuff apparently has some moderately fierce side effects. And the coming week is going to be pretty busy.
Tomorrow I spend the afternoon down at the church on receptionist duty. This will leave just enough time to fly home, feed and wring out the dogs, and bolt down dinner before flying back down there for choir rehearsal. Friday three friends are coming over for dinner, and then we’re spending the evening gadding around downtown for the First Friday festivities. Sunday morning of course there’s singing.
Since we’re told you could be out-of-it for two to five days with fever, chills, shivering, and pain, I decided to put it off until Sunday. The pharmacist thinks they’ll still have enough to dispense shots this weekend. If not, then over to the Safeway, up to the Walmart or down to the Costco. Or all three. Apparently there’s not a huge shortage anymore.
So the plan now is, I’ll fly down there after choir on Sunday, then plan to spend the rest of the day moping around.
Monday I’m supposed to traipse across the city to the Mayo again(!), but the issue is nothing pressing, so if I’m unfortunate enough to number amongst the 1 in 60 who enjoy truly unpleasant side effects, I’ll just cancel.
And it’s almost inevitable: Doesn’t matter what the drug is. Whatever bizarre side effect it can inflict, I will absolutely get it. The rarer and the more atypical, the more likely it is to afflict me. So I’m expecting to be sick for at least two days. Hope not for five. Ugh.
BUT…five days under the weather is one hell of a lot better than a case of shingles . Holeee mackerel! Several friends and acquaintances have experienced bouts with this fine epizootic, and it is passing nasty.
The first person I met with the disease — which is a recrudescence of chicken pox — was a wildlife biologist. She and her husband had retired to the idyllic semi-wilds of Portal, in southern Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains not far from New Mexico. She had had it for two years! And it showed no sign of going away soon. The rash around her rib cage was so excruciatingly painful that it literally disabled her. She could do little more than lay on the couch and suffer. And as you can imagine, she had been an active woman before this thing hit her.
That was when I thought…uh oh! Whatever you do, don’t get old, ’cause you really DON’T want to get that stuff! In those days, there was no vaccine. And getting old was considered the main risk factor. Well, that and having had chicken pox as a kid. Which I certainly had: a particularly ferocious case of it.
But it kept me out of school for ten days or two weeks. So…I appreciated that. Nice little virus. 😉
Mercifully, by the time I finally did get old, they had developed the early shingles vaccine. As soon as they would let me take it — you had to be 60, as I recall — I darted into the Safeway pharmacy and signed up. Insurance wouldn’t cover it, of course — you expected a bear? The cost was $150. A lot of people refused to pay that, but having seen that biologist with the bug, I was happy to pony it up.
So of late, our young doctor at the Mayo says the old vaccine is not especially effective — better than nothing, but not good enough. She strongly recommended I get the two-dose Shingrex vaccine. But o’course like everyone else at that moment, the Mayo was out of the stuff.
Apparently Medicare Part D will cover it. But if it doesn’t: big deal. I’ll take out a loan against the house if I have to.
If you’ve ever had chicken pox — and you may have even if you think you haven’t, because some people get it without much rash and conclude that they’ve had a cold — you should get the Shingrex vaccination. It has a much higher likelihood of blocking a shingles episode than the earlier stuff did. And you should get it, too, if you’ve already had a case of shingles: it will protect you from a flare-up.