Sunday, June 11, 2006


Shingles. You heard me - SHINGLES. Well, Amy has shingles, which, fact-finders, is a re-activation of an existing virus. When a person has chickenpox, the virus lies dormant for the rest of their lives in nerve roots. However, at times of stress, or due to illness, or any other factor that lowers the body's defences (tiredness due to work+pregnancy included) the virus can be reactivated, often by exposure to people carrying the chickenpox virus (chickenpox-y kids at Amy's daycare, for example) and - provided the adult has had chickenpox before - the virus presents itself as shingles. Early symptoms are a prickly/painful rash in localised areas, fever, and headaches. Then, if the illness gets more severe, nerve pain and neuralgia occurs, but we're hoping it doesn't come to that. Still, the not-easiest pregnancy is not-easiester, but Amy is doing really well, though she is pretty uncomfortable and running a constant low-grade fever. There is also no evidence that shingles is of harm to a developing baby however, which was a huge relief to find out.


I also have had my health problems. It began when I awoke early the other day after a fitful night's sleep with the sweats, shaking hands, inability to concentrate on normal tasks, and a weird tic that made me whoop and punch my fist in the air. More worryingly, I had a loss of identity - specifically national identity - that bordered on schizophrenia. This manifested itself in the strange practice of pledging allegiance to one country one moment, then allying myself with Mexico, or the Ivory Coast the next. Often this occured within the space of an hour. I was so concerned that I dragged myself, on foot, the fourteen miles to our doctor in Tremont, whooping all the way, and after a brief examination during which I dived on the floor and appealed for a penalty, the doctor gravely confirmed to me what I had feared:

I have World Cup Fever.

Symptoms vary in type and severity, but perhaps the most classic - and severe - is making a date in your diary to watch Iran vs. Angola. Drooling upon hearing certain "trigger" words or phrases is also common. See below:

If you or anyone you know begins to display such symptoms, please treat them kindly. Buy them some cheese puffs, tell them not to shower for a while, and allow them to loudly curse the referee in Swedish. Just remember, inside the sufferer still cares about you, his world, and his life. Just not as much as the linesman's eyesight.

Anyway, hope you are all healthy, and wish us luck for our delayed appointment on Wednesday.

Take care,

Jim and Amy x x x

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