1.19.2010

My Shingles

There's really no excuse for my not posting anything here for a while -- I've had the last four days off of work, I haven't really left the house and I've been playing around on my laptop for the majority of the days. But I'm here now -- here to update you on the status of my life.

For the past week or so, now, I've had herpes zoster, or, what is more commonly known as shingles, all over the left side of my forehead and left eye.

Last Wednesday, while at work, I noticed that the headaches I've been having since I was 17 were getting more potent, more frequent and more painful. That night, while scratching the back of my neck, I discovered a lump that had never been there before -- a lump that, coincidentally, happened to be in the same region where my venous angioma is. Obviously, this was cause for great concern; I thought maybe my angioma had finally gotten bigger, burst the vein it's in and I was hemorrhaging, or maybe this lump was another tumor! Also of great concern, was the large and unsightly outbreak of, what I thought was, acne on the left side of my forehead. I haven't had acne since I was 16... There was no reason for my forehead to break out so suddenly.

At the insistence of Megan and my friends, the Leighs, I took myself to the emergency room that night for a checkup. 30 minutes of sitting in the waiting room, three minutes of actually talking to the doctor and several hundred dollars later, I was sent home. The doctor took a glance at the lump, diagnosed it as nothing more than a swollen lymphnode and it doesn't look infected, you'll be just fine. He also agreed that the sudden outbreak of acne was weird.

So I went home.

Two days later, I discovered more lumps on my jaw line and one on my neck. The headaches were getting more severe and the acne transformed from a weird outbreak to making me look like a burn victim. The sores were disgusting, swollen and dark maroon. This time, rather than to take myself to the hospital, I went to a place I knew was reliable -- the Walgreen's Take Care Clinic. When the nurse saw me, she asked, "What do we have today?" I described my headaches, I described my fatigue, my weakness, pointed out my weird acne outbreak, she took one glance at it and replied, "That's zoster. You have shingles." Unfortunately, because the shingles had spread to my eye at this point, there was nothing they could do for me, so she referred me to a doctor that is financially fair to patients with no insurance (which was my greatest concern). He concurred with the Walgreen's nurse and told me we needed to act quickly because it was spreading to my eye -- apparently shingles on the eye can lead to irreversible damage, like scarring or blindness. He prescribed some antibiotics, some steroids to maximize the antibiotics' effectiveness and some Vicodin, to deal with the pain. All in all, I spent about $200 to have the problem diagnosed and to take measures to eliminate the problem.

So I spent the weekend completely and utterly out of commission. I was of absolutely no use. The drugs made me even weaker and numb and, in all honesty, the Vicodin didn't do as much for the pain as I was hoping it would -- I still ached everywhere and the shingles still hurt like hell. It is now Tuesday and they seem to be going away, but there's still a little bit of pain to deal with and I'm betting I'm still contagious.

But I made the best of my time off -- I didn't get a chance to do any writing, but, in all honesty, I'm okay with that. I'm coming to discover that I really don't like writing as much as I once thought; I certainly don't enjoy the process. I'll say this: I enjoy having written, but I don't enjoy writing. It's such a tremendous stress and chore for me. But, instead, I spent the weekend listening to music, reading Flann O'Brien and dipping a little bit into the books that Josh brought me and watching movies.

I'm going to miss the relaxation I've had these past couple days, but I'm looking forward to getting on with life and going back to work. I've got bills to pay!!

Thank you all, for the prayers and well-wishes.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Drew, I will definitely keep you in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete