Daggers in My Back and Side




As I write this, knives poke me in the side and one twists in my back with sadistic intent. Not just ordinary knives, but daggers actually. I feel them slashing my insides. EEEEEEEEEEEE!! Excuse that outburst but the… EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…pain causes me to screech unexpectedly.

You might be wondering how I can even write this blog with the stabbing pain piercing my body. Well, it isn’t easy. All I can say is, writing takes my mind off my painful circumstance. A coma would also do that, but writing seems preferable.

All of us have painful circumstances sometime in our lives, and some of us more than others.  Some have chronic pain, and keep on living their life without complaint. What brave people.

Often, pain happens when we least expect it. Like the ant that crawled on my hand the other day and bit me with the viciousness of a Rottweiler. It hurt, but then the pain and the ant (with a little help) conveniently faded away.

But the unexpected pain I’m experiencing now registers 22 on a scale of 1 to 10.  It has been with me for almost a week and what’s even worse, suffering came along with it. Don’t think I’m avoiding the suffering by writing this post. I’m only slightly distracted.

My pain began with sore back muscles. I guess I shouldn’t have been showing off my powerful strength of hoisting 5-pound barbells at the gym, I thought.

The next day, my sore muscles hurt with a tingling sensation and I noticed a red rash. As soon as I saw the rash, I knew I had shingles.


Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus “sleeps” in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus “wakes up” when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system.

In high school, I suffered a shingles outbreak. My doctor back then prescribed morphine (such a nice doctor in El Cajon, CA). The morphine gave me a warm, relaxed feeling. Not a whole lot of pain with that case of shingles. The suffering came from my P.E. teacher who resented the “doctor note” that I be excused from P.E. for 2 weeks. “You can fold towels,” she said to me, as she felt I had to be doing something that involved exercise. I didn’t mind. I took morphine. Give me all the towels you’ve got. I shall dance and fling the towels with joy. I recall feeling no pain while folding. The pain came when Ms. P.E. teacher lowered my grade due to non-participation.

Times have changed since my high school days.  Dr. Speedy (not his real name) didn’t want to prescribe painkillers. He feared I might end up like music icon Prince and would be sued.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: A view of the Prince mural on April 28, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. The mural stands 7m high and 5m wide by Penrith local Graham Hoete on Sunday. Rock legend Prince died at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota on Thursday 21 April aged 57. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

A view of the Prince mural on April 28, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. Rock legend Prince died of an overdose of painkillers at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota, aged 57. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

The rash expanded to red blotches the size of grapefruits and the penetrating knife-pain worked its torture. I developed headaches, tiredness, and aching muscles. I told Dr. Speedy’s friendly receptionist I had shingles and wanted to make an appointment. I added, “I’d like a prescription so I can sleep at night. The pain keeps me awake.”

At the doctor’s office, Dr. Speedy said, “I sent a prescription for Acyclovir (anti-viral medication) to your pharmacy. That should take care of the shingles. Come back for a follow-up next Monday, and if the pain persists, we can talk painkillers.” His visit lasted two-seconds, and he roller skated out the door. Time is money for doctors. The faster doctors get in and out, the better. Yachts aren’t cheap. Especially in Arizona.

Before skating off to his next victim in the adjoining room, my doctor felt I needed a good eye-opening lecture and said, “Shingles are caused by stress.”

Back at home, I took the Acyclovir. The pain grew worse and many daggers, plus a large Bowie knife,  pierced me like a voodoo doll.

I downed an Advil and laid very still on the couch. If I didn’t move, I could feel almost no pain. I contemplated suffering. Whoever said suffering is optional must have never had shingles. But suffering, even with all its miserable aspects, has its upside.

For one, suffering  makes me appreciate the days I felt good, not to mention a desire to be more appreciative whenever I feel good again. Why do I sometimes let this appreciation lapse?


The headaches feel like someone clanging cymbals in my brain, while nausea and other symptoms-better left unsaid-have joined in. I called Dr. Speedy’s receptionist to report the latest of events. I missed his return call but he left me a voice message. “Don’t take the Acyclovir. Have a good one.” I had hoped he would have some alternative thought on how to cope with shingles. Instead, he wished me a “good one.” A good–what? A good time smashing walls with one of Jerry’s hammers? Because that’s what you feel like doing when you’re in pain and daggers are poking your insides. What happened to a doctor’s understanding concern for a patient’s misery?

I woke up in the middle of the night because I knew the nausea had immediate plans. I curled up on the floor next the toilet with a towel for a pillow. When nothing happened I stumbled back to bed and tripped over the blanket that had fallen on the floor in my haste to get to the bathroom. I tumbled backward and my derriere landed on the hard tile floor. My shoulder hit the bed post. Ahh yes, I needed more pain and this did the trick. Add bruises to my red blotches.

As I was saying, pain and suffering have a way of turning your focus to what’s important in life. Friends, family, faith. And a wake-up call to do more fun things instead of trying to cross off all the tasks on the to-do list. Maybe these shingles are a way my body is telling me to enjoy life more, and to have a good one like my doctor suggested.

A friend sent me a text. “Look out on your bench, Bronwyn.”

Outside, I found a gorgeous autumn flower arrangement of sunflowers and maple leaves adorning the bench on my front porch. “Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future,” the attached card stated.

For a friend to go out of her way, to get flowers and a card and leave them on the bench beside my front door, just to help brighten my day—and for another friend who drove across town just to give me something she hoped would help–and for Jerry to tell me that he’s available if I need anything–and for all of the people who asked if I needed anything and sent me well-wishes and prayers–THAT is something that makes the daggers in the side much less painful.

I would have never asked for shingles. Who would? But the pain has given me a new outlook to appreciate even more the wonderful friends and family and you, my readers–all who are important in my life. And as my very wise son wrote in his e-mail to me:

“Try to relax and not worry about the rotten doctor.”


That all said, I say: have a good one. And I mean smashing walls with a hammer, of course.




The flowers left on the bench by our front door.



8 thoughts on “Daggers in My Back and Side

  1. Julie


    So glad you could talk about your experience and the dreaded pain. You are so strong. I am honored to be your friend.
    I hope your “other” friend gave you something to help some. 🙂

    Love ( I accidentally wrote “Live” at first) – maybe that’s a sign… Love, Julie

    1. Bronwyn Wilson Post author

      Julie, I’m honored to be your friend also! I will never forget the kindness you have shown me, not just during this trial but all the times, including the time you paid $5 so I could feed the giraffes!

  2. Janet Tracy-Beesinger

    Bronwyn, I have my secret stash of ‘something that will help.’ If we only weren’t three states away from each other! Continuing to pray for you every day. XOXO

    1. Bronwyn Wilson Post author

      Janet, Thank you for your prayers, and the offer of your secret stash. I’m so glad I got to see you before the shingles popped out. I wished I could have stayed at your beautiful house forever, but then again, maybe Alvin would want me to move out after awhile! 🙂

  3. Kathy Wilson

    You are so right, Bronwyn. It’s when we’re feeling pain that we’re reminded to appreciate more the good days of no pain – and appreciate all the beautiful people in our lives. And I count you as one. Praying you get some relief soon so we can appreciate the good days together 🙂 Love ya Bronwynrita

    1. Bronwyn Wilson Post author

      Kathy, Your bright spirit is always good for my soul. I’m sad I wasn’t up to meeting for breakfast but I look forward to seeing you when the shingles leave me. Hopefully, they will leave. I miss you.

  4. Carol Bailey

    Hi Kid, not sure you know I am back but I am and when you are up to it we must go out for lunch. I have missed all of you this summer. So sorry you are having all that pain as I understand it is somthing that gives you a real wakeup call. Take care and if you need anything let me know as I am close and it would be good therapy for me too.

    1. Bronwyn Wilson Post author

      Welcome back Carol. I hope you’re here permanently. As soon as I feel like a human being again, I will contact you. I always heard the pain of shingles is the worst, but I thought it was exaggeration. Glad you’re back!


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