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I've got spurs that jingle jangle jingle

Well, friends, last Wednesday I was diagnosed with shingles. I make this announcement both as a public service (in case you've been wondering what black hole I fell into) and because I have an obsession to write about the things important to me. I've known for years that shingles was supposed to be unpleasant, and by golly now I know it's true! Fortunately for me, it could've been worse than it is.

I started feeling tired last Sunday, and by Monday I was feeling so exhausted and crappy I went home early from work. Slept almost all day Tuesday. I had noticed what felt like a sore at the base of my spine, but I made nothing of it until I woke up on Wednesday with an outbreak of the damn things over certain portions of my anatomy that shall remain hidden from view. The sores, or whatever they were, concerned me, so I called my medical provider and was summoned to see a doctor post haste.

The good part of this (explained the doctor) is that it looked like we had caught the outbreak within 48 hours, which I guess was based on when I noticed the first sore/welt/pox. (Shingles, if you don't know, is a recurrence of chicken pox in those who suffered it as a child. The chicken pox virus stays in your spinal fluid.) That meant they could prescribe an antiviral that's taken orally three times a day for seven days. This antiviral reduces the number and duration of lesions, as Wikipedia puts it.

So the diagnosis was on Wednesday afternoon, and I took my first horse pill that night. There were no new lesions/pox the next day, although I have no idea whether that was because of the drug. By Friday noon, the sense that my nerves were being attacked, began to recede. The pox/lesions are healing, but very slowly. It's still uncomfortable to sit for any length of time.

I'm told by other people who've hand shingles that their pain and discomfort lasted for weeks, so I really do count myself fortunate that mine was diagnosed in time for this antiviral drug to shorten the course. I had a couple of pretty bad days, and I've had three uncomfortable but not particularly painful days since then. I'm going to be working from home for at least couple-three days this week, because I still can't sit for very long. Frequent lie-downs are a comfort.

A shingles outbreak is caused by stress, so I'm taking that as a sign that I shouldn't add anything more to my To Do List right at the moment. Other than that there's apparently a vaccine that may not prevent further outbreaks but reduces the probability of an outbreak and reduces the severity of any outbreaks that do happen. I'll be asking my medical provider about that.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kalimac
Jul. 20th, 2015 10:00 pm (UTC)
Been there, done that. At a slightly lesser level of severity. Sympathies.

Trying to remember what I was told about the vaccine. I think it's normally given at age 60, but it may be sooner for those who've had outbreaks.
randy_byers
Jul. 21st, 2015 05:07 am (UTC)
Denys may have been given it at 60, now that you mention it. I'll still ask.
(Deleted comment)
randy_byers
Jul. 27th, 2015 03:30 pm (UTC)
At this point it's unclear to me how much effect the antiviral actually had. It probably had *some* effect, but I shudder to think what would have been worse than what I've been going through. Ugh.

Definitely think the vaccine is worth checking out, even if you've already had shingles.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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