Shingles: Once you pop, you can’t stop

No, I’m not popping shingles blisters, but I thought that was clever.

I’ve spent way too much of the last two days googling shingles to find out if my symptoms are normal. The pain I’ve been having has been more of the seemingly deep tissue variety rather than from the surface blisters/rash. I don’t know if this is because the rash hasn’t fully blistered yet or because I’m just fortunate not to have blistering pain. It’s certainly very irritating. What was excruciating was putting capsaicin on Sunday. It’s supposed to help with the pain, though it’s supposed to burn a bit. (Capsaicin is what gives chili peppers its heat.) If you can tolerate the burn initially, it’s supposed to ease up after a few days. But I had the severe burning that I assume the label is referring to when it says to discontinue if you experience it. So I discontinued it. And nothing has felt nearly as bad as that.

What has been extremely uncomfortable has been the feeling that I’m severely bruised internally. Everything between my rib cage and spine on my left side feels like it’s been punched repeatedly. But this is a description I’m not quite finding.

Then again, any article from a reliable source prefaces almost every description with “may”.

So the location of the lesions vary. The characteristics of the pain varies. And then the duration of the outbreak varies. I don’t really know if this is going to go on for three more days or three more weeks.

Oh, and after this is over, I can’t just go and get the vaccine. (You probably can. Go get it.) Immunosuppressed people can’t have live vaccines, since the trace amounts of the live bacteria or virus or whatever may be too much, whereas most people handle them. So, I could get this again. Honestly, I’m not thinking about this at all. Just a point of information in case anyone was wondering.

But shingles is supposedly triggered by stress. As long as I avoid stress, I’ll be be just fine!

Yup, that’s what I’ve got

Urgent care even got my nephrologist on the phone to make sure I can take the antivirals. It’s been caught early so I should be fine…at some point…maybe in a week? I’ll just have to do what I didn’t do the week before Labor Day last year, which is to figure EVERYTHING out.  Other than that I will pick up some earplugs from the drugstore so I don’t spend the next few days complaining about my neighbors.

If you have to go to urgent care, its always a good idea to be the first one there in the morning. Well, in order to be seen quickly, it is. They open at 8, but, unfortunately, CVS does not open until 10. So I am getting breakfast at an establish that rivals Chick-Fil-A in its forward thinking. I’ve sworn off the main fastfood chains but not this particular place yet. I’m going to enjoy my breakfast.

Shit…shingles?

I went through the Mayo Clinic website’s slides of common rashes. Nope…nope…nope…and then, finally…shit, shingles?

This would explain the half-body aches I’ve been having. But the rash is the tell-tale sign. Not on my face or by my eye, thankfully.

It’s always fun to blog about serious medical conditions. If it is, indeed, shingles, I’ll have some legitimate griping to do. It sees to get a lot worse before it gets better. Being immunosuppressed might even make this a little scary. (You see “rare cases…death” in articles about shingles).

I was thinking a few days ago that it would really suck to die from something stupid like West Nile Disease. (It can be quite dangerous for the immunosuppressed). Shingles would be on that list of stupid things to die from. (And by “stupid” in this context, I mean illnesses that don’t kill most of the people afflicted. Malignant brain tumors, pancreatic cancer, and speeding drunk drivers…also stupid causes of deaths. What’s not a stupid thing to die from? Natural causes at age 95 (see Phyllis Diller)? I don’t know…)

If it’s not shingles, maybe it’s just an allergy to shitty neighbors.

I’ll go to urgent care in the morning.