Shingles, Lyme, and Tapeitis
Several years ago I went to the doctor for my regular checkup and he gently suggested that I would need some tests within the next year to form a baseline. I put it off. Each year the suggestions were a bit stronger until I finally gave in and scheduled the first test. A colonoscopy.
In preparation, I drank gallons of water, gulped laxatives, and choked down an evil citrusy cocktail. I survived the liquid diet and took no more than a sip of water for the last 15 hours. I went in. I went out. It was over. Nothing to it. I survived.
I hopped out of bed the next morning full of confidence until I noticed a small reddish rash on my stomach in the form of a ring. I looked harder and called to my husband. As he entered the bathroom, he saw it at once.
“Yikes! That could be lyme disease. It forms a bulls-eye. You better go to the doctor today.” I was stretching my neck downwards and pulling my stomach upwards trying to get a good look at the spot. It did not itch but I could plainly see it. He got a permanent marker and made dots around the rashy area. “That way we can see if it grows.” I nod.
Now, I was just a little worried. If I remembered correctly lyme disease could kill. I was scheduled to read to the 4th grade class at school that morning and attend the volunteer breakfast. I decided to remain on schedule and call my physician in between to get an appointment. Surely I wouldn’t die before noon.
When I got to the school, I quickly showed the spot to my friend, the school secretary. She gasped, “Oh, that looks like shingles. What are the little blue dots around it?”
I pulled my shirt down and explained the permanent ink dots. I thought about shingles through breakfast.
After the breakfast, I rushed home to research on the Internet. I read about symptoms and treatments of Lyme and Shingles. I looked at google images. Side note here: One should never look at Google images of rashes. I called my sister and we discussed my stressful life in relation to shingles. I researched some more. I hopped up and ran to the mirror to look at my own circular rash. I went back and looked up “circular red rash” on the google search. I decided that I had lived through a colonoscopy, I would live until some further tests were run.
At the appointment, I explained how I had had the colonoscopy the previous day so they could add it to their charts. I then explained how I found the rash and I pulled up my shirt to show the rashy ring.
“Hmmm…what are these blue dots?”
I explained. He nodded and gently felt the area. “Well, this is not lyme disease because you only have one ring.” I let out a sigh of relief. I was not going to die! He asked me to turn around and he felt all over my side and back. “Does this hurt?”
“No.” My brain started ticking. As I stood there with my shirt pulled up, I knew instantly what was wrong with me.
“Well, if you had shingles it would hurt in these other areas…”
Before he could finish the sentence, I pulled my shirt down and started laughing.
“I know what the rash is.”
He raised an eyebrow at me.
“Yesterday, when I had the colonoscopy, they put an electrode sticker right there on my stomach.”
He looked surprised.
I was relieved! I was not going to die!
All I had was a simple case of tapeitis and a blue ring of permanent dots on my stomach.
Thank you God!