I sat in the doctor’s office all alone, as if I was up on charges in a courtroom. The doctor spewed more and more information at me. I nodded, hoping that a little would sink in.

“I will print it all out for you, don’t worry,” she said.

I was told to lift this, cough here, blow in this.

It was already determined that I had shingles. She was just making sure I wouldn’t go blind as they had crept into my right eye.

My whole right side looked like I had been involved in a nasty fight; half-closed, swollen eye, with blisters from my forehead down to my cheek. Even I found it difficult to look at myself.

Like a bang from a judge’s gavel, my pile of scripts was presented to me. I was told in the sternest doctor’s voice she could muster, “You need complete rest, stay in bed for at least a week”.

So the sentence had been passed — jailed in my own home, with only the company of my dog, cat and Foxtel.

After visiting the chemist for an armful of antibiotics, I was soon in my PJs and under the doona on the lounge, cat at the bottom of my feet and dog at the top.

Here I lay for hours, drifting in and out of sleep, looking around the room, noticing every little detail. There is a spider in the top right-hand corner that looks like it’s been living there for years. Mental note — remove it when I’m better.

I gathered the kids and headed upstairs to bed. Once again when I lay awake every detail seemed to jump out at me. Like a cellmate knows every inch of his prison, I started to examine my holding cell.

It seems the dog likes to chew the bottom of the door. I hadn’t noticed that before. The paint doesn’t quite meet the top properly.

I have slowly gotten better. Turning my phone off to the outside world, I just locked myself away. As I felt myself get calmer, my shingles seemed to fade.

At times like these, you have to consider what stress is doing to you, and whether going 110 percent all the time is actually worth it.

I have to credit most of my healing to two of the best carers I have, Kakadu my cat and Maxwell my dog, both never leaving my side the whole time.

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