Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Attacked by Shingles

Well it all started shortly after noon on Thursday (8/10/09). I had gotten a weird pain in my side, since I was at work I figured I had just pulled a muscle or twisted funny in some way, which happens from time to time at work. So I continued on with my Thursday just like any other day, working and hoping 4:30 would come quicker so I could just get out. Well the day ended I went home and did the usual, check the internet, eat some food, watch some tv, go to sleep and prepare for the next day at work. It was a different week than usual, we usually work 4 10 hour days and have Fridays off, but because of the holiday (Labor Day) we worked 4 8 hour days and had to work Friday. So I wake up Friday morning didn't feel much of the pain but it was still slightly there. As the day went on more though the pain started to feel a little weirder, when I say weird I mean it was a feeling I have never felt with a pain before. Thursday it was feeling like a bruise so I had checked my side and back (which is where the focus of the pain was), Friday though only about 2 hours into the day it felt like a little more than a bruise but still mostly bruise like. About 2:30 in the day the pain started tingling like an itch but the itch felt like more of an inside under the skin kind of itch, not something on the surface. I had mentioned this stuff to people at work at the only things I got were "Maybe it's kidney stones" or "Could it be your pancreas?" along with other ideas like a pulled muscle, etc. So work on Friday comes to an end and I notice it hurts to lean back in a chair with my back against it and just felt really foreign to me. Continue on with my Friday after work like usual, home, check internet, eat food, watch tv, hang around the house, play video games, played guitar learned "Down By The River" by Neil Young. Check the painful spot on my side and back and no sign of a bruise but the itch and pain were still there underneath. Then I went to bed later on in the night.

I must also add for the record, I watched a show Friday night on Animal Planet called Monsters Inside Me. This guy had gotten a strage feeling in the back of his head, a sharp pain. After a few days he was waking up with blood on his pillow. But before all that he was just attributing it towards a reaccurance of Shingles, which he had when he was younger or a few years before. Turns out that after a couple weeks and going to the doctor they found maggots under his scalp by the Botfly. Which obviously got removed from his scalp. Good episode.

After watching that I go to bed and then here comes good ol' Saturday, I wake up around 10:30-11am and the pain is there. I didn't think much of it so I went on with my day, played guitar and little bit of video games, grabbed a bite to eat. Then I decided it's time to jump in the shower, right before getting in the shower I noticed in one of the mirrors I had a small red/pink lump on my side, very tiny, about half the size of a dime. Near the end of my shower I'm rinsing off and notice a rash towards the front of my side, looked like a bunch of little red dots which I thought looked like heat rash, but I knew it wasn't especially because of that blister like thing I saw only a few inches away from it on my side. At that point I start thinking "Well I finally have insurance and I don't use it often, lets take a trip to the hospital and get into Fast Track". Well I get there, tell them "I have a pain in my side and a small rash starting to form, this is day 3 of the pain, day 1 of the rash" so they take my blood pressure, take my temperature, ask me all types of fun questions like they usually do at a doctors office, then tell me to wait in the waiting room.

6:30 I sit in the waiting room, watch some interview with Darrell Strawberry (I think) on ESPN. He jabbered on about random crap, Twinkies being one of his favorite snacks or something, boredom made me watch it. That and no remote in a waiting room.
7 Yankee's vs. Orioles game starts, so I'm watching that thinking of how pissed off my brother is due to the fact that in the first couple innings the Oriole's were up 6 to 1. Contemplated calling him to brag (I'm an Orioles fan) but I never did.
8 Finally they call me to see the doctor, or so I thought. So I went into this room with a bed and a curtain blocking me from the main hallway. They gave me a robe and two towels or blankets and told me to put on the robe. I put on the robe not knowing exactly how to do it, so it's on loosely falling off my shoulders, and I'm sitting there for about 15 minutes like that
8:15 Nurse comes in, introduces himself, has me tell him my name and birthdate to make sure I'm not some imposter (atleast that's what I'm guessing) then he asked some more basic simple questions. I show him the rash and at about the same time we both said "Looks like shingles". Yes I went there prediagnosing myself with Shingles, because of the great internet of information we can diagnose ourselves. But I went not for the reassurance but for the medication if needed. He told me he'd go get the doctor and have him take a look at it.
8:30 or 8:45 somewhere around there, a lady nurse comes in and asks if I mind moving to a different section so the room could be used for a patient more in need of it. I said no problem. Went to the next area which was just a curtain seperating me from the guy next to me. Mentally handicapped guy with a horrible cough and couldn't speak. Slightly annoying but hey, you can't pick the people you're stuck next to in a hospital (as far as I know), and it could have been worse I suppose.
9 the doctor comes in looks at me asks me some questions about why I'm there, I tell him. He looks at my side, front, back and tells me it is Shingles. I told him I had come to that conclusion before coming. As he's telling me this he's kind of looking at me like I have two heads. Says it's rare to happen to people my age (26) and it's from chickenpox which lays dormant in your nerve endings and never really goes away. Nice to know that. Shingles usually appears on people with a weak immune system (always comforting to hear) so he's going to do some blood tests. Tells me I don't need the robe on and I can put my shirt on, so of course I do this immediately.
9:10 the blood is being taken by another nurse and they left an IV in, guessing just incase they need more blood for some reason, so I don't ask questions, just deal with it in my arm.
9:30 another nurse comes in with a robe and two towels in her hand and tells me to put it on. I tell her as nicely as I can (being the wise ass I am) and I just said "The doctor came in and told me to put my regular shirt on so I'm not putting on another robe. Sorry, doctors orders." So she left.
9:55 doctor comes in "Well the blood work came back fine" still looking at me like I'm some freak with multiple heads and snot pouring out of my ears or someting "Since you don't seem to be in too much pain, you can just take Ibuprofen. He wrote me a perscription for Famciclovir (Famvir) and off I was. Medi-script in hand and one Famvir that they supplied to get me started that night since I couldn't fill the perscription at 10 at night.

Today Tuesday (8/15/09) there seems to be more rash and still some pain. But I'm going to keep up on the meds because it says to. I have a list of doctors excepting new patients and I will get into one of them ASAP, to hopefully avoid Fast Track again (such a bad name for something so slow).

That's my story of shingles so far, not really happy about it but hey, nothing I can do. Apparently if you have had chicken pox I can't give you shingles. If you haven't had chicken pox I can give you chicken pox but not shingles. Pretty interesting how it works. Shingles doesn't pass through coughing or sneezing, but through contact with the actual blisters themselves for, I believe, the first 7 days or so.

Anyways that's it so far, hopefully everything gets better soon.

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