What really matters

Published 11:00 am Saturday, July 22, 2023

As a contractor sales representative for a national retail and materials supply chain, I have sold my fair share of shingles.

I’ve sold fiberglass, asphalt, wood, composite, and slate shingles. I’ve sold the common 3-tab shingles and the more expensive architectural styles. I have also sold roll roofing, which I guess technically counts as shingles, though just a long roll of ’em.

I have sold them by the bundle, by the pallet, and by the 18-wheeler load — enough to patch a square or to roof a 48-home subdivision. I’ve sold every color of shingle available, including some snow white ones that are not technically available in the South.

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I’ve done my own roofing, as well, on both new construction and replacement projects. I’m rather familiar with the materials and how to install them properly.

What I was not familiar with was a different kind of shingles.

No, I’m not talking about cedar planks or real slate. I’m talking about the kind that flare up on and below your skin and make you feel like you’re going nuts from the pain, burning and itching.

I was off work for several days recently, first under the notion that I had suffered an allergic reaction to one of my regular medications. The clinic fixed me up and had me on my way.

When it wasn’t better a few days later, they took another look and said it could be shingles. Shingles is basically a flare up from a virus that lies dormant in your system if you’ve ever had chicken pox. I have.

So they shot me with something that made me feel noticeably better very quickly, and gave me lots of meds, because there was no way to be sure yet that it was shingles, either. Not until the lab reports came back, at least.

So they doctored me up for both viral and bacterial infections and said they’d call me with the lab results.

I gradually improved and was finally able to return to work Wednesday, having been homebound a full week. I’m not at my best yet, but was I ever?

I’m grateful to everyone who prayed for me, asked about me, doctored me and gave me meds, and homemade soup (thanks to my wonderful wife for that one, especially). Medicine is a learned skill and a practice — you figure out what the problem is and how it needs to be treated, with adjustments for the severity and the patient at hand. That’s all good. I’m just glad it got treated well.

Prayer is a learned skill and practice, too, and I think we all need to practice regularly. Learn it by doing it (I’m not saying there’s a “wrong” way for you to talk to God). One day, we’ll get both things right.

Am I actually allergic to the medicine they first thought I was allergic to? Who knows, but I’m not taking any chances. Do I ever want to have shingles again? Well …

Wednesday morning on my way to work, they called with the lab results. Turns out it was a staph infection all along. Not my first time, but hopefully my last. So I guess I never had shingles at all, but no — I don’t want them “again.” What ultimately matters to me is the end result, as the nurse practitioner said to me, “What really matters is that you’re doing much better now.”


News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.