I’m at a large retail store, driving through the Scar The Lion King long live the king shirt. I see an empty spot ahead, and start to turn into it, only to be greeted by another car honking it’s horn, sitting in the space across from it. The guy inside is waving his hands furiously and gesturing at me, while the woman in the passenger seat attempts to cover her face. I finished parking and got out, and gestured to the other driver with upturned palms and a “what’s wrong?” expression. I was actually concerned the guy might have been in some sort of trouble, or needed help, but I wasn’t expecting what happened.
Yes, this happened a few months ago. I have a bad shoulder which I broke and dislocated about 12 years ago. I have had three surgeries on it and eventually, I will require a replacement. My shoulder aches all the time, though I wouldn’t describe it as pain per se, just that I can feel it all the time. I have advanced post-traumatic arthritis in the shoulder which on occasion flares up and can get quite stiff and painful. Usually, if this happens I can attribute it to something, like straining it, or just overdoing it.
For about three days I had a heap of pain on my shoulder which was severe enough that regardless of how much ibuprofen I took it just wouldn’t take the edge off. It was impacting my sleep pretty significantly so I decided to go to the doc to get a long-acting prescription anti-inflammatory hoping that may be enough to get it to settle down. It was odd though as I could not for the life of me understand why it was so angry as I had not done anything to it.
The doc asks me to take my shirt off so she can get a look at my armpit. She looks at my armpit sort of quizzically not really knowing what the rash is. As she is looking a nurse walks behind me and says, “whoa, that looks like shingles”. I proceed to argue and protest, despite the fact that I am not a doctor, nor did I see the rash on my back. I argued I was too young to get shingles, though I am actually entering middle age. She disavowed me of my opinion and declared with absolute confidence, “there is nothing wrong with your shoulder, but you do have shingles”.
So I trotted off to the doctor and whilst being triaged at the clinic the nurse asked if there was anything else going on. I mentioned that I had a small, slightly annoying rash in my armpit, which I believed to be the result of some chafing from my t-shirt after cutting my grass on a, particularly hot day. She wrote it down and then took me in to see the doc. As it turns out my shoulder was inflamed because it ran along the same nerve line I had the shingles outbreak on. I was given a bucket load of drugs, sent home and laid on my couch in a fair amount of agony for the next few weeks.
He shut his car off and thrust his door open, actually hitting the SUV beside him, and screamed “You asshole!” before even getting out of the car. I started to get the picture before he even said the next words. “You did that on purpose”, he asserted, then flung some profanities I won’t type here as they’re too explicit, although one of the tamer ones was calling me a “cousin fucking redneck motherfucker”. Real class-act, this guy. During this tirade, his (presumably) girlfriend had also exited the vehicle, and now had the look of someone who wished they could physically become invisible.