Coming back to life

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.

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13 responses to “Coming back to life

  1. hingles are brought on by stress. The virus has lain dorment in your body since you had the childhood attack of chicken pox. It never left. SO, take it easy and don’t get too stressed.

    • Funny you say this, another friend said something similar and YET, I’m so less stressed now than when I was teaching. I should have had shingles every month in my last 3 years of teaching. I do wonder, though, if my age has something to do with it. Perhaps my old body cannot handle very much any more.

  2. I am so very sorry. My husband had them last year in and around an eye. Today, over a year later, his eyebrow is still numb, and he see’s the world fuzzily. I hope you don’t have these side effects.

    • I was sent from my internist’s office directly to my eye doctor for just this reason. He said it all looked good but made a follow up appointment for a few weeks out just to make sure. It’s all about the nerve that runs from the 5th cervical vertebrae in my neck where I happen to have spinal stenosis. Perhaps another cause for the shingles virus to flare.

  3. I am glad you are better. That sounds terrible! I am the same with meds. I have a long list of med I can’t take.

  4. I had Bell’s Palsy twice, but not shingles, thank goodness.

    • Terry’s dad had what they thought to be Bell’s Palsy but it was actually a stroke. This was over 20 years ago, though. I think the drs thought his dad too young (in his early 60s) to be a stroke victim. Thinking has changed over the decades.

  5. I am so glad you re over the worst of the shingles outbreak. And I do know it can be devastating, which is why I got the shingles shot so that even if I get it, the effects won’t be so bad. I’m crossing my fingers for you to get all better very soon! 🙂

    • This was a light case, just two spots on my face, and I think it’s because I had another case of shingles in 2010 but wasn’t able to get to the doctor until the one bump had pretty much healed itself. That one really hurt. I kept ice on it for the week (we were in SF at the time) and managed to still teach Vacation Bible School! These two spots were on itchy and tingly than painful.

  6. Can’t wait for you to feel better. I don’t do well with pain melds either, beyond regular Advil or Tylenol.

  7. Hope you are perfectly well very soon!

  8. My mother had awful shingles. I have taken the shot and am so far OK.. I hope you are better now!

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