I have been confined to home these past five days with an outbreak of shingles. I was really doing fine last week until I went to the doctor. We had traveled to the central coast and toured four California missions, each one about 30 miles from the other, along El Camino Real, the road of the king, or better known today as Highway 101. I had tromped around each mission’s grounds, peering in, looking out, sitting and thinking, chatting with others. It had been a lovely trip even though my head and face would occasionally twinge and hurt. An occasional Excedrin made it okay.
Upon return I noticed that a couple of places on my face that had been burning and itching were now red and scaly. Guess it was a good thing I had made the doctor’s appointment while we were on the road. The next morning, as I made ready for my appointment, I noticed the red scaly spots now had blisters, but I really felt no worse. The doctor, though would tell me otherwise.
She had prescriptions to help heal me and also help me sleep and keep the pain at a minimum. Pain? It really wasn’t that bad, but she claimed my brain would think I had received major trauma and would send out some sort of pain triggers. She assured me she was giving me the lightest dose of pain meds, nothing as strong as she usually prescribed to shingles’ patients. I would also have Lyrica to take at night to help with the pain to help me sleep. Then there was an antiviral to chase away the virus that was causing the shingles.
Since I had very little pain, I didn’t take the Lyrica the first night but did take the pain medicine, Tramadol. The next morning my face was swollen, I was nauseous and dizzy. Terry called the doctor who said to stop the Tramadol and take Tylenol. It took two days to get that medication out of my system. Even the antiviral was too much. Three times a day was making me sick so I cut back to once a day. The blisters were gone, there was no pain, just a few twinges and some itching.
I don’t regularly take any medications and I don’t do well with them when I’m occasionally required to do so. The very smallest amount (or what doctors call “small”) can be too much for me. Even my doctor who knows this about me has trouble prescribing the right thing. I went from being able to drive myself to the doctor, the pharmacy, and the eye doctor last week to being a swollen dizzy mess who could only lie about on the couch and sleep. I had to cancel my plans for Maundy Thursday, Easter Sunday, and even today. But tomorrow…tomorrow I will be back to my old self and back to my regularly scheduled program.