Shingles

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The symptoms started Monday. They were hard to quantify, but the gist was a tingling, burning sensation in the skin on my left shoulder, up my trapezius muscle, toward my neck. It wasn’t constant and it wasn’t even that bad. Mostly just an uncomfortable sensation.

I ignored my symptoms until Thursday morning. On Thursday morning, I noticed a small rash starting to appear across my left shoulder, from back to front, with a smattering of red on my left pectoral muscle. Ashley urged me to see a doctor and I relented.

Fortunately, I was able to see a physician that afternoon. He asked me two questions before informing me I had Shingles. I quick and easy diagnosis. I had classified Shingles as an ailment for the elderly. It almost seems appropriate for me since Ashley regularly jests that I am an old man trapped in a younger man’s body.

The good news: there were treatments to help with the symptoms. The bad news: you just have to let it run its course.

I worked Thursday without much incident. By Friday afternoon, the rash’s progress had accelerated. It had spread a bit more and had started to blister. This was expected, but it’s still uncomfortable. The pain has increased a bit and it has become increasingly more itchy.

As of Saturday, it seems like it’s past the blistering phase. Now it’s just very itchy and the burning pain still comes and goes in waves. Only a few more days to go… or possible a few weeks. Apparently the timeline for recovering from Shingles varies wildly from case to case and person to person. I’m hoping for a more mild case, especially since I started treatment early on.

U.M.B.C. Makes History With Upset of No. 1 Virginia

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Since 1985, No. 1 seeds had advanced at least to the second round 135 consecutive times.

We were putting Max down for bed whenever I received the alert. I always figured that eventually this would happen. Despite how impossible it always felt, it always seemed to me that this would have to happen. Now that it has happened, I am truly stunned. This is the first year I have not filled out a bracket since seventh grade. However, every year that I have filled out a bracket always started the same: I immediately penciled in the one seeds into the second round. It was a given. Sure, you’d watch the games and you would root for the unlikeliest of upsets, but you always knew those picks were safe. I have seen a two seed get upset. Your threes and fours are uncommon as well, but there have been a few of those. Most followers will insist that there is always a twelve over a five in every tournament. But a sixteen over a one? Sure

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry resigns from office as part of guilty plea to felony theft charge

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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry resigned on Tuesday amid a sex scandal involving her former head of security, a stunning fall from power for a leader who was once among Tennessee’s brightest political stars.

Before we left Nashville, Ashley and I both voted for Megan Barry twice (general election and the runoff). To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. During the mayoral election of 2015, I felt Barry was an honest and sincere person. The misappropriation of funds and the violation of the people’s trust in her is what hurts the most. At the time of her election, I felt that her being elected meant a strong progressive policy for Nashville. I only hope that the newly sworn in mayor and the soon to be elected mayor will continue that trend.

Declutter

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Ashley and I have been slowly going through our things, attempting to purge things we no longer need or just don’t want. It’s tough. What can be sold? What should be donated? What can be recycled? What should be thrown out? Much of our furniture has been accumulated since our marriage. Some pieces of furniture predate our first apartment together. A few pieces of furniture are cheap relics of college. Some of our stuff was slightly damaged during our move. Some of it has outlived its usefulness.

One of the items that I came across were a few pairs of eclipse sunglasses. I considered throwing them away, but felt terribly guilty about discarding something that was still useful. Instead, I found a NASA article that gave me a few options. I decided to ship them to the Astronomers without Borders collection. It cause me the postage to ship them, but I feel a bit better about not wasting something that could still be used by someone.

It has always been difficult for me to part with my belongings. I feel guilt for giving away things that may have been a gift to me. However, I want to simplify our lives. We still have boxes of things that have not been unpacked since our move to California. I think it’s time that those things, if possible, find new homes. I may have items that other people would be thankful to have. So I’ll donate things that still have life in them, discard or recycle those that have been too well loved.

Exhilaration

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While at work the other day, I needed to make a quick trip to the post office. I was without a car (I usually take the bus to work) and the closest post office was about a 30-40 minute walk from my office. Luckily, we have a bike program at work and one of the bikes was available. I looked at the route and realized that there were bike lanes the entire route. I grabbed a helmet and decided to give it a try.

It had been years since I had last ridden a bike. I had never ridden a bike in bike lanes along busy roads. At first, I was worried about looking like a dork with the helmet. However, I threw it on because I, as an adult, understand the necessity of safety gear (I’m very lucky that my lack of safety gear as a youth did not result in any long term injuries). The next hurdle for me to overcome was the apprehensiveness I felt riding a bike along busy streets. The first time a car drives past you doing at least 35 mph is an eerie feeling. I was able to adapt to this situation and this feeling. After a few minutes, I found something unexpected: I was enjoying myself. I could feel the wind and a smile slowly crossing my face. It was a joy to just be riding, to be doing something I haven’t done in years, something that harkens back to childhood. I would ride my bike all over my hometown as a kid, literally from one side of town to the other, and I could feel traces of that freedom, of that exhilaration.

I’m now considering the purchase of a used bike, probably off of craigslist, just something to get me back on the road, to get me into it.