I just completed a flurry of activity in preparing for the Quaker House transition — I came off of a run of several conferences/yearly meetings where I was meeting people and learning from the current Directors Lynn and Steve Newsom and even a couple of members of the Board of Directors. I have met so many amazing people.

Sunday was the last day of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative). I noticed some right-sided back pain when I got home, which I thought was odd since I did not remember any catching or unusual movements, even with heaving a suitcase around. I also thought I must have razor burn under my right arm.

The back pain gradually intensified to the point that every breath hurt. I took some Advil. If my heart was on the right side, I would say I was having back pain radiating to my heart. That’s the corresponding location.

Tuesday night, I did not bring Advil with me while visiting someone’s home because I did not think it was helping anyway. I was just about brought to my knees. I did not sleep all night. The only reason I did not think I was having heart issues was because, if I sat with my back pressing against a small jar in just the right spot, the pain was alleviated for those moments in time. It definitely seemed nerve related. Plus, it was on my right side. Good sign, right?

In the morning, when I suddenly felt a needle pain pierce through my back, just right of my spine, I suddenly knew what was going on. I looked in the bathroom mirror. There it was. The beginning of a shingles rash, just right of my spine. Under my right arm? Not razor burn. Shingles.

I went to work yesterday (after putting in a work order for my broken air conditioner at my apartment) and was miserable. I kept up a constant flow of Advil, but my back/chest/breathing pain/catch was always there. Any time I moved my right arm, the rash under my arm screamed. I am right handed. Despite the fiery rash having spread across the right side of my upper back by this time, the intense nerve ache with every breath was so intense that I was glad to find aspirin in my medicine cabinet . . .

When I got home, the air conditioner was still broken, despite a note saying it had been fixed. In July. In North Carolina.

On one hand, I obviously do not like this one bit. I need to be packing! On the other hand, at least I was not dealing with this while traveling and sleeping in dorm rooms, one of which was without air conditioning. If I am going to be miserable, it is a blessing to be miserable in my own home. (After a second work order today, my air conditioner is fixed.)

I wonder if there is any ancient wisdom about shortening the course of shingles?


Sophie’s Well-Timed Failure

Until recently, Simba (cat), Sophie (cat), my daughter (human), and I (human) all lived together. Despite our best efforts over a couple of years, Sophie and Simba never became good friends. They tolerated each other. So when my daughter got her own apartment, Simba followed her soon afterwards.

This was a photo-worthy moment when they lived together specifically because it was
the only time we had ever seen Sophie (top) and Simba (bottom) peacefully in proximity of each other.

I am off to the GI Rights Network Conference early tomorrow morning. It will be my first event representing Quaker House.

Knowing that I would be working straight through today with both a court hearing and document review work, the original plan was for me to bring Sophie over to my daughter’s place later tonight. There were visions of a happy sleep-over type reunion. But, court ran long, and we decided that I would just bring Sophie by on my way to document review, mid-morning.

All seemed to go well. Sophie immediately ignored Simba and began exploring the new surroundings.

I got a text from my daughter later: “Sophie has been very unhappy lol.” I called her. “Maybe if you came by and said ‘hi’ to her.” So, I stopped by on the way home from document review. Things had gotten so bad between Sophie and Simba that Sophie had her own room in the bathroom, complete with litter box, food, water, and Cat TV playing on the laptop — which she refused to watch. And, she was angry at anyone who came into the (one and only) bathroom.

This obviously was not going to work for my several-day absence. So, I took her back home where my daughter would check in on her. It was obvious the second she figured out that she had won the battle to go home. Picking her up was a bit tricky because of her expressions of anger. But once she realized she was out the door, she completely relaxed, and she thoroughly enjoyed the ride home.

It was good that court ran long and we had most of a day to figure out that the situation would not work rather than a catastrophe developing later, either when I was on the way to the airport or already several states away.

Now, to packing.

105 days until Sophie and I are unpacking in Quaker House.