From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Struck by Shingles

A pox on pox and their ilk!



When the blisters began to form, I thought I had a chemical burn from a cleaner I had used at work. I remembered dripping it on my hand.

I expected improvement in a day or two, but instead, the blisters got worse, More blisters appeared. Then the top of my hand was numb. When I woke up with severe pain shooting up my arm, it was very clear that I needed to see the doctor. By the time I got there, the numbness had gone up my arm to the elbow.

The diagnosis: I have shingles. The doctor said it's unusual to have shingles on a hand, but the outbreak on just the pinkie and ring finger is consistent with the virus following a nerve. The numbness and shooting pains are symptoms of the nervous system involvement.

Just to be sure, he took a fluid sample from one of the blisters, Then he wrote me a prescription for an anti-viral (Famciclover) and some painkillers (Darvocet).

I get through the day OK. The blisters are very tender, but it helps to bandaid them. The numbness doesn't bother me too much. Nights are the problem. When I'm asleep and my hand lies still, the shooting pains develop.

Last night was miserable. I woke up at least a dozen times. I couldn't find the heat pad (Dennis had put it somewhere), so I used the hot water bottle and found some relief in pressing my arm against it. If the Darvocet helped, I couldn't tell. Demerol would have been better. I'm hoping for better sleep tonight.

I've learned some things from this experience. I've learned that I was not sympathetic enough to my mother-in-law when she had shingles. I thought she might be a bit whiny. It's ironic that now I have shingles, and yes, I am whining about it. Shingles makes a person do that. I understand that now.

13 comments:

Beth said...

oh that sounds terrible, I hope that it passes through quickly and you are feeling better soon. Take care of yourself.

Michael Leddy said...

Genevieve, I hope you feel much better, very soon.

Sarabeth said...

Oh, Genevieve, I do hope this bout of shingles is short lived. Having known a few people with them, I understand that the pain and discomfort are terrible.

Carol said...

Hey Genevieve-
I followed links from my friends on Twitter and got to you. I am in Boston - so your prairie life seems very pastoral and kind of romantic.

Hope your shingles get better. Love the recipe page. You have inspired me to translate my mother's index cards to digital.

RunAwayImagination said...

Hi Genevieve,
I was sorry to hear about your shingles, which I've heard can be quite painful. Let' hope this is a short-lived outbreak and that you will be feeling better soon.

ptg said...

I had a case this winter that lasted four months. I wouldn't wish them on Osama bin Laden. I hope yours clear up fast.

Genevieve said...

Thank you all for your kind wishes. I had a better night, thank goodness, and also a long nap today. I am going to really pamper myself so maybe I can get over this quickly! Ice cream would make me feel better, don't you think? ;)

KennethF said...

Hey G: I'm so sorry to hear that you are sick! My wife had the same thing but a mild case and at the time there was no shot available? It took her 3-4 weeks or more to get over and I too was not sympathetic enough.
This was quite some time ago and we both will pray that you do much better real quick. Try sleep'in in recliner chair, pack yourself with extra pillows, and be careful with those power pain killer meds. later, ~(:-_))-kfh

Lesa said...

I agree - ice cream would make it better! Butter pecan or chocolate should be good for shingles....

Hope you are better soon. Rest and take it easy in this heat!

Genevieve said...

Kenneth, I think I have a fairly light case also. I looked at some extreme photos of shingles on the internet and shuddered to think how painful those huge clusters of blisters must have been.

John Ruberry said...

Darn...sorry to hear that! Hope you are better soon.

Anonymous said...

i'm 15, and i have shingles...
it sucks big time, there on my neck,
i am hoping they will go away soon.
=/

Genevieve said...

Anonymous, I hope that your blisters do go away soon. I think I read that they usually don't last more than a couple of weeks. Some of mine have dried up and come off.

I hope you haven't had (and won't have) a lot of pain with them.

I have heard of several teenagers who got shingles. Believe me, you have my complete sympathy. At least it didn't happen during the school year, but it doesn't make for a very nice summer.

Best wishes!

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.