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A pox on both your houses

I blame an outbreak of herpes zoster on my poor math skills.

When I was in 8th grade, we were in a pre-algebra class taught by the middles school math teacher, Sister Teresa.  (I think it was Sister Teresa. There were a few Sister Teresas in my elementary and middle school, and it was sometimes hard to remember which one was which. At any rate, she as was a nun, and she seemed to know her math stuff.)  I'd been in catholic school for pretty much my entire primary education, so nuns were old hat to me at this point. She was a good teacher, and she figured out that there were a few of us in the class that were ahead of everyone else.  After maybe a month of watching us, she pulled the four or five of us aside and created lessons deeper into algrebra for us.  We met in the same classroom as the rest of our class, but we were given different assignments further along in the textbook.  Intead of pre-algebra, we were learning algebra, and we were doing well.

At some point in the middle of the school year, Sister Teresa disappeared from the classroom.  Shingles, we were told.  It was a horrible, terrible, painful disease.  She couldn't possibly come back.

The rest of the school year was a succession of math teachers who never lasted more than a few weeks.  The group that I was learning algebra with mustered on, using the teacher's manual as a guide. We told our successive teachers what we were doing, and as these people had no idea, they just let us teach ourselves.

In the meantime, I took the placement exams, did the interview, and otherwise kicked ass to get into St. John's for high school. It was a huge achievement. I think they only let in seven or eight kids that year, and none of the kids from my school were going.  As far as I understood it, I knew algebra, but my group of advanced math students had only scratched the surface.

Fortunately, the placement exam at St. John's caught the lapses in my previous education.   The summer between eighth and ninth grade, I spent taking algebra again. And my counselors recommended that I not take too much math when I first got to St. John 's because it would overwhelm me.  So I ended up on a track that didn't include Calculus at all in my high school career.  This it turns out, went on to screw up a few things, including my physics class.  I was a straight A physics student, until we got to accelleration, where it's SOOO much easier if you know calculus. Same for a lot of price theory in microeconomics in college.

By the time I got to college, I was terrfiied of math, and I convinced myself that I wasn't very good at it. It wasn't until I totally fell in love with statistics that I got my confidence up again on things math.  I put a lot of the blame of this on that Shingles outbreak on my 8th grade math teacher.   I sort of developed a terror of shingles. I mean, it took my teacher out for the whole school year! It must be terrible.

Going back even further, in 1983, when I was ten years old, I caught the chicken pox.  It was going around that same catholic school, and I brought it home and gave it to all of my siblings. We spent a week in itchy misery and went on our merry ways.

Fast forward to sometime last week when a rash appeared on my shoulder. Given how much yoga I do and the location of the rash, I thought it was some sort of dermatitus caused by sweat, soap, and the rubbing of an ill placed bra strap.  When it didn't go away after a few days, I thought that maybe it was an allergic reaction to a suppliement that I was taking.  But it was localized to the top of my shoulder, and it was growing.  I was sick on Friday, sleeping from 9:00 p.m. until 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.  And it got to the point that anything on it hurt.

So I yesterday, I consulted Dr. Google, looking for rashes that looked like mine; the second I got the shingles hit, I knew what was up.  I called my dad for consultation, who was useless. ("It's usually on the torso, and it's usually pretty painful.")  And then I got a second opinion from my godfather, who is an infectious disease specialist. The second he saw my rash, he wrote me a prescription for the anti-virals.

It's shingles.  But I'm not out. It's a right pain in the ass (or shoulder, as the case may be), and it's definitely not something to treat lightly, but it's not worth runing a math career over.    


( 2 comments — Say something )
Jun. 2nd, 2015 10:43 pm (UTC)
Mama had it on her scalp and*very* near her right eye. The shoulder would be much easier to deal with

Swift healing and much sympathy to you!
Jun. 2nd, 2015 11:15 pm (UTC)
I had chicken pox three times as a kid. I'm hoping shingles never darkens my doorstep. Or skin. :/

Glad you got the proper meds for it.
( 2 comments — Say something )