Last weekend I noticed a patch of red bumps on my abdomen, running towards my right side.  I thought “that’s a bit odd”, but random bumps pop up and disappear from time to time, and I dismiss them as they come and go.  These didn’t go, and became more pronounced, crowded, and demanded attention by being itchy.  I also began experiencing random jabs of pain, usually in my side. It made for an interesting shift at work last Monday, it was like someone was poking me in the side, and it didn’t matter if I was speaking on the phone or on the radio at the time.  Later that night/morning at home, I thought “shingles?”, and did a Google search to see if it might be what I was experiencing.  Well, symptoms matched, so Tuesday I went into the doctor’s office, and sure enough, the physician’s assistant said I had them.  Gave me a prescription for an anti-viral, and a freebee box of Lyrica, a pain medication.

From the Mayo Clinic’s website:

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.

While it isn’t a life-threatening condition, shingles can be very painful. Vaccines can help reduce the risk of shingles, while early treatment can help shorten a shingles infection and lessen the chance of complications.


After the jump, I’ll continue the story, with a picture of my rash.  If you don’t wish to see such things, stop now.  Otherwise,

The anti-viral I’m taking is valacyclovir.  I suppose it has some marketing name that sounds as weird as the real name, but I don’t know what that is.  One of it’s side effects is drowsiness.  She (the physician’s assistant) also gave me a box of Lyrica for pain.  Fortunately she had a “sampler” box from the drug salesman, so I got that for free.  It appears my insurance won’t cover pain pills for shingles.  Go figure. One of the side effects of the Lyrica is also drowsiness.  Wonderful again.  They seem to double up on that, and I’ve been spending a lot of time asleep.  Either one of them, or both of them in combination have also killed my appetite, so that I have to make a conscious effort to remember to eat.  I just don’t get hungry.  I’ll realize it’s time to eat when I get to feeling weak and a little dizzy.  More wonderful!

So I have to let it run it’s course.  The meds do their thing while I transfer from bed to couch and back again.  I have to time any food runs carefully, so as not to be under the effect of the meds too much to drive. Fortunately I have a reserve, “sick days” stash of crackers and chicken noodle soup for just such occasions.

Here’s Tuesdays’ picture:

shingles_05132014And here’s Friday’s:

shingles05162014In these smaller images it might not seem like there’s much difference, but it’s a bit more apparent in the full scale images that the breakout has been reduced.  Hopefully it will diminish more rapidly now, and be gone by the time I have to go to work on Monday night.  I really can’t work 9-1-1 with the drowsiness these meds induce.

Oh, and if you haven’t had chicken pox, or might be pregnant, or might come into contact with a pregnant woman, or a child, no visits.  It’s not likely I could transmit this crap, but better to be on the safe side.

How’s YOUR week been?