Shingles shot and electric blankets

Turned off cold here in Missouri, so our bedroom is on the chilly side. We have one vent in the bedroom, but it's not enough to get the room warm so it stays cool. In the winter it is a great place to sleep. If you can stay warm while in bed, one can really cut some ZZZs. I was laying in bed this morning thinking back to when I was growing up in Nebraska.

Mom and Dad's house was at least two houses put together. Both were fairly finished except for the space in between these two. Dad had built a room in between, but he hadn't finished it. The back part where the bedrooms were had a small wall heater that tried, but it just wasn't big enough. So the two bedrooms were cold.

When I was little, we'd undress out in the front room and then dash back to bed and crawl in. I've tried pajama shirts and bottoms, but just can't do them, so normally it has always been just skivvies. That first few minutes crawling into a cold bed is shocking. But as the sheets warm up and then the bed and blankets, it gets better and better. Finally, it gets warm enough one can kind of relax, and it's pretty good then. All of us had one of those homemade hand-tied quilts on top. They were normally about a half-inch thick or more and heavy, heavy, heavy. I've wondered what they would have weighed. Once you got warm you were there for the night.

I don't really know why but Mom and Dad decided we needed electric blankets. So Mick and I each got a single size electric blanket, and Mom and Dad got one that was bigger for their bed. Man what a difference! Now we could go back and turn the blanket on an hour or so before going to bed and, voila, the bed was warm when we crawled in. But not only was the bed warm, but we no longer needed that old heavy homemade quilt. Now we had some of those light weight blankets on top and it was still warm. Pretty darn awesome. Now I wish I had that old, heavy, homemade quilt.

Marge got us an electric blanket last year or two years ago, I'm not sure which. I do know I like it. We can crank it on a half hour before we go to bed, and the bed is warm and comfy. Man it feels good. Doesn't matter how cold the room, the bed is warm. What our ancestors would have done if they'd had electric blankets when they settled this country! I've read where many who moved to states such as Nebraska and Kansas and the Dakotas lived in canvas tents for the first year or so. I don't know about you, but, man, they must have been some tough suckers. Marge and I and Duchess, our dog, couldn't have done it.

So every night during the winter when I go to bed, I'm thankful for that simple electric blanket. Marge can run hers on 5 or 6 and I'll run mine on 2 or 3. We wake up in the morning, and the aches and pains don't seem as bad or as many. I'd have to say that simple electric blanket is one of the best investments we have ever made.

One other investment that ranks as my No. 1 investment was my shingles shot. It cost me just over $200 when I got it, and insurance never paid a dime, but it still is my No. 1 investment. It was probably 10 years ago, give or take five years, I started to itch around my waist. I checked it out in the mirror and it looked like I was getting a case of chiggers. Thing was, I never get chiggers, so I knew it wasn't chiggers. My first thought was shingles.

I called up my family doctor and got right in that same day. Dr. Crist took one look and simply said: "It's shingles." He put me on some meds and virtually told me good luck. He said some get over them right away and some don't. Some have no long-term effects, but some have problems that last for years. I had mine for six to eight weeks, and they gradually went away. But for those six to eight weeks it was unpleasant, which is an understatement. It was awful.

A good friend passed away about this same time, and the family wanted me to preach his funeral. So I told them I could, but I'd have to do it in bibs. There was no way I could stand wearing a pair of regular pants. So I preached the funeral of Clarence in my bibs. He was a neat guy. Old school all the way. He said what he meant and did what he said he would.

I'm not sure how long after I had the shingles Dr. Crist asked if I was ready for my shingles shot. I was. So I made an appointment and got it done. The cost was just over $200 plus the office visit. Darn good investment. I think one has to be over 60 to get a shingles shot, so if you are old enough I'd get this done. If you get the shingles without getting the shot, you will wish you had spent the money and gotten it.

It was several years after getting the shot that I had a few red spots break out around my waist but that was it. No big deal. But I was sure glad I'd gotten the shot. I guess one can get the shingles even after getting the shot, but it won't be as severe. Get the shot.

Since that initial shot back a bunch of years, there is now a better and improved shingles shot. Now it is two shots at least two months apart. So Marge and I went in about a month ago and got our initial shot of the new two-shot shingles shot. Normally shots don't hurt much, but the gal giving us the shot said it would smart. It did. And you will definitely feel it the next morning as well. My arm was definitely sore.

No matter how you look at it, the shingles shots are a great investment in one's health. Who knows if I'll get shingles again, but if I do, I know I've done all I could to prevent getting the shingles.

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