Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adventures in Roofing

Ok, so I wish it were roofing. I suppose the more accurate title would be adventures with shingles...the medical type. They're horrible! Especially when they're on your face. And, while I thought I was dying for a few days there, I have survived and amassed some tales to tell...

I spent a few days at a horse show where my head and face began to itch. Naturally I was not alarmed because this is pretty normal for a horse show. When I got home, I noticed a small "outbreak" on my forehead. Again, nothing unusual, I had after all been wearing a hat for four straight days.

The unusual part was the "ice cream headaches." My head felt like I had been trying to set a speed record for sucking down Slurpees at 7-11. Except I hadn't. I suffered through for the next week until finally deciding a doctor visit was in order before the weekend. I was told it could be cluster headaches and given 2 prescriptions. I decided to try a mud mask to get rid of the "outbreak" on my forehead. Turned out to be a great family time, though very ineffective.

Long story short it wasn't cluster headaches. A rash and swelling spread across my face leaving me looking like one of those semi-alien things on Star Trek.

My husband was certain I was going to give birth to an alien baby through my eyeball. At this point I was giving serious thought to acupuncture or leeches.
The ER doc took one look at me, declared shingles and pumped me full of percocet and antivirals. I think I slipped into a semi conscious state for the next day and a half. The few brief moments I was awake I remember thinking that I would very willingly submit to a lobotomy if it would make the pain go away. Instead, I would get an appointment with an ophthalmologist and a new set of drugs.

That trip was not without incident. When we arrived it was quiet enough but the volume quickly escalated to that of a middle school cafeteria. My ice pack and I retreated to the car. When I finally got to the exam room my very compassionate *sarcasm* nurse greeted me with, "Oooh, I don't mean to stare but..." Who could blame her really? I looked like I'd lost a bar fight to someone with one heck of a left jab.

She dilated my eyes and then sat me in another waiting area under a tv airing a special on freight trains. (Shoot me now)! About the time I was certain another train whistle would make my head explode they called me in to wait for the doctor. I'm pretty sure he was the guy they used as the sketch model for the old man in the movie "Up" but he knew his stuff.

Three new prescriptions and we were on our way. This last set seems to be working much better. The pain is bearable and the swelling has gone down. Cayden (the daughter who asked if I was missing her soccer game because I looked so scary) says I don't look scary anymore. (Though she did recommend I purchase some moisturizer being advertised on tv -- you know, to help with the bumps and wrinkles). The headaches are fewer and farther between. My lymph nodes no longer look like I've swallowed marbles. And I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.

Lessons I have learned:
  1. Percocet makes me crazy
  2. Painting one's nails while on all these drugs is not wise -- looks more like finger painting
  3. UPS men are very compassionate -- mine was about to call the domestic violence hotline after looking at me
  4. I work with a great crew of folks
  5. I have great family and friends that take excellent care of me
  6. Shingles is not what I would recommend as an extreme vacation
  7. More young(ish) people get this mess than you realize
  8. I should de-stress which I interpret to mean that I'll need more regular massage appointments *hint*
  9. I do not function well trapped in a house for days at a time
  10. I'll need more regular massage appointments...
  11. One can get tired of fried chicken
  12. My prescription drug plan is really good
  13. And oh...I'll need more massage appointments ;)

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