I don't know if I mentioned that the kids brought back a nasty lurgy from their holiday in Darwin.
Usually they pick up quickly from any bug or injury - you know what kids are like - but this time it's hung around for ages.
Poor Miss 10 has been particularly knocked around, and at one stage, had to endure blood tests for all kind of nasties. Thankfully, all the likely suspects were ruled out, but that left us none the wiser as to what was causing her sore throat, headaches, temperatures, upset tummies, and aches and pains.
Then last Thursday a rash appeared on her tummy. At first it looked like an irritation where her school uniform may have rubbed, but when it was worse on Friday, I tried to get her into the doctor.
That's the worst thing about living in country Queensland. Doctors are scarce, and the first appointment wasn't until Monday at 5 pm.
And it was just a tiny rash, not more than a few centimetres across. Even our pharmacist wasn't sure what it was, but advised taking her to the doctor if it got any worse.
Anyway, Harmonie didn't seem any sicker than usual, and she even went to school as we're very conscious about not having too many days off.
We had a lovely weekend, although on Sunday night Harmonie complained of having more aches and pains than usual, particularly in her back and legs. Funnily enough, on the right hand side, the same side as the rash, that was looking more like little blisters now. Her face was very flushed, and her right eye was sore too.
She was so sleepy and looked so ill the next morning, I let her stay in bed.
When we finally saw the doctor, he took one look at the rash and said: Shingles.
Apparently, Harmonie was a classic case, and all the symptoms fell into place. The rash apparently followed a nerve line.
Though we'd vaccinated Chase against the childhood illness, Harmonie had contracted chicken pox as a baby, before she'd been old enough for the vaccine.
Now the virus had laid dormant in her body until her immune system had been compromised - by the virus she'd brought home from Darwin - and attacked.
Chase will be immune thanks to his vaccination, and the disease can only be spread to unvaccinated people by contact with the actual liquid inside the blisters.
Harmonie's been kept home from school while they've been popping - on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as it happens - and has to take it easy while she recovers.
I feel bad that I didn't know the rash was shingles, but then no one else I showed it to - the pharmacist, and several other Mums - recognised it either.
To be honest, I thought it would be bigger, more like measles or chicken pox rashes. Now I will always recognise it!
Because we were so clueless, Harmonie agreed it would be good to post about her illness and include some pics we took of her rash. If we can somehow stop someone else going through all this, that would be fab.
There's no medicine she can take to cure her shingles - though if we'd been able to see the doctor the first day we saw the rash, she'd have been able to take some medication that would have made the symptoms less severe. She just has to drink plenty of fluids, take painkiller, and rest as much as possible.
She's found oatmeal baths soothing too.
Another point is that shingles is rare in young children, but as Harmonie has shown, not completely unlikely.
The worst thing is that now Harmonie has had shingles, she'll be susceptible to getting it whenever she is run down, ill, or stressed, for the rest of her life.
So our message is if you suspect you or someone else has shingles, get to your doctor or a hospital as soon as possible, so you can take the medication which will help you get better much faster.
The rash the day it appeared
This one gives you an idea of how big/small it actually was!
The rash once the blisters started popping - when it was actually contagious.
Resting in the winter sun with faithful furry friend Lucy has helped
As has ice-cream. And lots of it.
This is Groovy Gumdrops, the kids' favourite ice-cream from New Zealand. We found it at Wondai IGA, the first-time we have seen it since New Zealand.
Readers, what makes you feel better when you are ill? And have you any tips for coping with shingles?