|From Crazy as a Loom|
I have debated about whether or not to talk about what is going on in my life right now. It seemed unnecessary to go into it, and I thought it would be over and done with, and I could just forget about it. Not so.
Yesterday made that abundantly clear.
Two days after Christmas, I had this incredible ear ache. It was so bad, that the next morning I called the doctor and asked if they could fit me in.
They did, and told me it was probably the beginning of an ear infection. I started an antibiotic, but a couple of days later, I was worse. And on top of it, I had blisters on the back of my head, under my hair.
So I went back to the doctor, and they confirmed what I already suspected, I have shingles.
Shingles (also termed herpes zoster) is a disease caused by reactivation of the herpes zoster virus (varicella-zoster virus, or VZV) that results in a painful localized skin rash, usually with blisters (fluid filled sacks) on top of the reddish skin. This same virus causes the childhood illness chickenpox. The chickenpox virus (varicella) remains in a dormant state in the body in the root of nerves that control sensation. In about one out of five people, the virus "wakes up," often many years after the chickenpox infection. The virus then travels along a sensory nerve into the skin and causes shingles. The majority of patients who get shingles are over the age of 60; it infrequently occurs in younger people. Investigators estimate that about 1 million cases of shingles occur per year in the U.S.
I have shingles that affect the facial nerve, and they went into my ear. I was told that I 'might' have some facial paralysis.
Can you see it now....every morning, me making faces in the bathroom mirror, just to see if everything is working as I am accustomed to???
So, I was started on several meds: Famcyclovir, Prednisone, Hydrocodone, and Neurontin.
OK. Helluva way to go, Hilary.
But I dispensed with my usual lousy attitude regarding the ingestion of medication, and I committed myself to being a good girl. Something I am notoriously bad at.
The only patients worse than nurses, are doctors.
The first several days were a blur. The hydrocodone pretty much knocked me for a loop, and I took naps every day. Eventually, I changed to Motrin for the pain, and that seemed to do it. I actually felt pretty good.
With a few modifications, I continued on with my daily routine.
My husband did suggest to me that I might slow down a bit, and take it easy.
But oh, no.............not me. That wasn't on my agenda.
After 10 days, the Famcyclovir, an antiviral, was done. So in my infinite wisdom, I decided I was all better now, and I weaned myself off the Neurontin (for nerve pain), as well.
A couple of nights ago, the eye on that same side, felt like it had a wood splinter in it. Not good.
Yesterday it got worse and worse, so this morning, I called the doctor.
After a morning spent at the doctor's office, and then the opthamalogist's, I was put back on the Famcyclovir, and the Neurontin.
Back to square one, you might say.
Let me add that the pain of shingles is somewhere between the flame of a blow torch, and the whack of a steel pipe. The right side of my neck, the back of my head, my ear, my eye, my temple; well, just let's say they are the source of misery that is ongoing.
But the real point here is:
There is a vaccine, called Zostavax, and if you are over 60, you can prevent all of this from happening to you.
Now I know a lot of you are WAY younger than this. But some of you aren't. And some of you are creeping up on that magical number.
So here it is, free, my advice. GET IT! Go see your doctor, and ask about it. Be proactive. Such a simple thing........I wish I had done it.
Instead, I have probably several weeks ahead of me, hopefully getting better all the time.
And just for the record, I am not one bit shy about stating my age to be 62. It is a wonderful age, and it sure as hell beats the alternative.
|From Crazy as a Loom|