By Greg Price
These last few weeks I’ve felt like I’ve been attacked by that monkey off of Outbreak.
Perhaps there is some hyperbole there. No, I’m not at the stage of Jimbo Scott, played by Patrick Dempsey where his organs are being liquefied after being scratched by a smuggled monkey from Africa who had the Motaba virus.
But it has not exactly been a walk in the park either as I’ve felt an overall level of craptacularness to my very core. Feeling like someone was sneaking into my room late at night and stabbing me around the thigh area with a knife, making for a couple of sleepless nights was followed by blotchy, almost spider-bite-like marks all along my right leg.
While some panic began to set in, a quick trip to the doctor helped alleviate any worries I was reenacting that scene off of Outbreak, with a quick diagnosis of shingles given the marks were only affecting one side of my body.
Still hobbling along with tenderness and periodic pain still shooting through the area as I write this, I am at least thankful it had not progressed to the point of some horror stories I’ve heard with people afflicted with it.
Getting shingles around the eyes can be particularly hurtful with constant pain even blinking, sensitivity to light and constant headaches. My mother recounted stories of my bed-ridden great grandfather, who had it around his chest.
I have a case of your more ‘favourable’ shingles, if there is even such a thing, as I’ve learned it is not as uncommon as one may think. If you had chicken pox as a kid, that basically means you can be prone to shingles in your adult life at some point, as the varicella-zoster virus lays dormant in your body until it is triggered. Given I had very mild chicken pox when I was a child according to my mother, the doctor said I’d be more prone to shingles as an adult. Yippee!!!
But in getting it, I learned to dispel some notions about it. I always thought it was an ‘older person’s’ ailment, afflicting the 60-to-80 year old range, but in talking to other people in the community, almost everyone I have come across has said they or someone they are related to or know have got shingles in the past — some who were still in their teens.
Reading up on how it suppresses your immune system, this past weekend gave me a feeling of dread as with every single photo assignment I had, with it being my work weekend, it seems someone was fighting the flu, cold or some other bug in the people I came across.
I had a slight tickle in the throat before which has now progressed to full-blown chest cold and erratic cough.
It has all made for personal reflection that I am not getting any younger and I may need to slow down a bit with my work demands. Stress, poor diet and weight gain can all be factors that don’t exactly help in the fight against shingles or nasty colds.
Perhaps simply saying one less evening assignment a week after a full day of work, fighting the urge to go through the McDonald’s drive-thru after a late evening assignment and becoming more active overall is in order.
I also know that is easier said than done. I’m not exactly a gourmet chef in the kitchen (I might burn water), and typing away at a computer makes for a more sedentary way to earn a living.
I’ve found myself to be a more extrinsically motivated person when it comes to exercise.
Go for a walk around the golf course with a friend? Sure. Play a match of tennis? Sure. Pick-up game of basketball? Why not. I’ll go grab the glove and knock a few balls around in slo-pitch. Let’s get some fresh air knocking a little white ball around in a foursome of golf.
But hit that alarm clock at 5 a.m. and go for a jog? Nope. Pop that latest DVD in of the latest fitness guru to get a sweat on? Highly doubtful.
Pump iron to get those washboard abs and lessen the beer belly…sounds nice in theory.
I’ve tried working out at Pro Performance Athletic Centre with limited results. It has nothing to do with the excellent motivation by the man at the helm in Joel Mills, but rather within the excuses for myself. A couple of weeks worth of working out, which I’ve enjoyed, is interrupted by a string of work assignments where getting off work so late, the motivation wanes to get that late evening/night workout in.
But I guess it all comes down to the choices one makes. Perhaps little steps on the way to bigger strides.
Grab some fruits to store at home and reach for an apple instead of a Big Mac late at night.
Wean yourself off the pop and opt for water or unsweetened juices. If something is within reasonable walking distance, do it instead of opting to jump into your car. Get back into some tennis like years past.
Don’t worry about how exercise will make my body look but rather the extra energy it can give me.
Put down that pint of beer….OK there are only so many miracles that can be done in a day.
But there is no huge secret here, getting more active in any way shape or form will help combat stress.
Maybe this past month my body is telling me this….or at least that’s what I’m hearing through these plugged-up ears.