3.27.2013

Fun! With Shingles!

Over the weekend I decided I was completely o.v.e.r. the seemingly eternal cold that had me sneezing and sniffling for well over a week. Pressure in my head was building and a strange burning sensation had developed under my right eye. Urgent Care deemed it a sinus infection (plausible) and cellulitis (celluwhat?). Prescriptions in hand, I felt so glad to have an answer to the strange heat radiating from below my eye. Intense weariness had plagued me during the week and through the course of the day the burning under my eye began to spread down my face. Before dinner time I was packing my ipad to head over to the emergency room. My chief concern was the increased pressure and pain that developed around my right eye. My face was half puffy, red, burning, and curiously itchy.

I was home by midnight freshly unplugged from the iv fluids with antibiotics that flooded my veins and a positive CT Scan showing slight swelling in the tissue around my eye. The pressure in my face remained and it was not the best sleep that ever was. In the morning I got in with my general practitioner. At this time my symptoms had gotten worse. Bumps had sprouted throughout the entire right side of my head from my hairline on back. Within 5 minutes she slapped a 'shingles' diagnosis on my hot mess of issues.

That's right, my friends. 35 years old with shingles. If Mike ever leaves me, it's going to be my tagline at eHarmony. And you know, it's a funny one. I think it would work! You can use it if you want to.

I just need to take a moment to document the kind of pain this illness delivered. If it needed a yelp rating it would be five stars in the pain category. I was rolling around on the bed, holding that hot, burning side of my face with my eyeball pounding out of its socket groaning to Mike, "I need an epidural. I can't handle this any more". Only, this time I wasn't in labor. So he just sat there watching me with pity and calculating the number of hours until he could collect more Ibuprofen. It was the kind of pain that induced a converted (non-pure blooded) Mormon like myself to exhale the eff word subconsciously. Because no other word or sound could adequately emit the level of pain that was happening.

It was the sort of pain that left me considering the quickest way to rid of it in most illogical ways. It spread down into my mouth, wrapped around my jaw and crawled across to the front of my teeth. I was partially convinced all of the teeth on the right side of my mouth were rotted and needing root canals. I kept flossing and brushing my teeth, looking for any evidence of malice. You see, it turns out this shingles of mine on my face and head would not cross mid-line. The left half of my face looked and felt completely normal. Thank goodness, because dreaming of  pulling 14 teeth to alleviate the pain instead of my entire mouth was plenty to consider. At one point, the thought of removing half of my jaw would be a great solution. Sure, there would be blood and pain, but it would scab over and end. The shingles had a radiating, unstoppable, writhing pain that needed to be cut immediately from my body.

In sum, if you want to know what shingles feels like, have someone smack you repeatedly with a cast iron skillet to the side of your face. Ensure fierce contact with eye socket and jaw for full effect. Then, pour bleach over half the face and burn gingerly with cigarettes on the eyelid, side of the nose, etc. Additionally, ram several long, thick needles into the eye and tap the temple with a small hammer, but use great force. After all that, I won't bother to tell you about the itchy bumps in my hair. Those were nothing compared to all the rest.

I am super duper over the moon that I have not developed black scabs on my face like one doctor advised may or may not happen. Go ahead, Google image that bad boy. It looks like the freaking plague and somehow I didn't get that. High five to the Illness Fairy for sparing me that nasty detail.

Thanks to modern medicine I am feeling a lot better and still have all my teeth and both sides of my jaw!
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