Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What goes around, comes around

Yesterday afternoon I discovered my first-ever attack of what I think is shingles on the left half of my torso at the ripe old age of 71 and 11/12ths. At this point, the rash starts a little to the left of my navel and extends almost to my spine. So I’m calling to make an appointment with the doctor as soon as his office opens this morning (it’s now 7:30 a.m. here) to get the Acyclovir or whatever they’re treating shingles with nowadays and hoping fervently that the herpes zoster virus doesn’t lead to post- herpetic neuralgia (PHN) that is common in Caucasian people over 60 years of age. As you see, I’ve done my online research.

The strange thing is, I don’t remember ever having had chicken pox, although if I scrunch up my face and squint my eyes and raise my eyebrows and concentrate very, very hard and even look a little like Fu Manchu (photo below), I think I remember one single pock mark on my arm when I was a child.

In summary, what goes around, comes around.

Also, last Wednesday evening we had a little mishap with the car. Not an accident. Not a collision. A mishap. I ran over the curb, make that curbs, on the median while making a left turn at an intersection at night. Mrs. RWP and I were tossed about a bit, but we were not hurt. Fortunately (a) we were wearing our seat belts and (b) the old Camry did not flip over. So we are none the worse for wear, though we each now sport a few more gray hairs than before.

But between the Wednesday evening mishap with the car and the Monday afternoon discovery of shingles, this is shaping up to be The Week That Was in the rhymeswithplague household.

I’ll keep you posted.

[Update, Feb. 27, 2013: It was most definitely shingles. To make it go away, my friendly doctor has prescribed a three-times-a-day-for-the-next-ten-days blue pill that is big enough to choke a horse. The pharmaceutical community calls it Valtrex. The active ingredient is valacyclovir hydrogen chloride and you have to drink lots of water along with it. When we lived in Florida, hydrogen chloride mixed with water produced hydrochloric acid, which is also called muriatic acid, which was used to remove all the muck and gunk from patios around swimming pools. Wish me luck. Keep me in your prayers. Cross your fingers. Send something up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes it. All of the above. I want to be rid of this stuff. --RWP]


  1. I have not been affected by shingles (yet) but I know those who have and I sincerely hope you don't go on to suffer the the more extreme symptoms.

    And also that you car's wheels don't need re-balancing!

  2. Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

    Thank you, Ian, for your sympathetic comment. I sincerely hope not either. I did read that if treatment starts within 72 hours of the appearance of the rash/welts/whatever they are, the prognosis is pretty good. My appointment is at 2 p.m. today.

    And if anything, the car seems to be more in alignment now than it was before.

  3. I, too, hope it's a false shingles alarm. But, unfortuately, 71 is not too old for shingles - several of my friends have had it...as well as our 54 year old daughter.

    I have a herpetic eye infection, and it is excruciating when it flares. Plus, it tends to eat away at the cornea during flares. Fortunately, a daily dose of acyclovir mostly keeps it at bay.

    Good luck!

  4. Elizabeth, we shall definitely be going more carefully from now on!

    Mary Z., nope, not a false shingles alarm. My doctor has prescribed Valcyclovir Hcl three times a day for ten days. I am hoping that will do the trick.

    I'm so sorry to learn of your eye infection and of the excruciating pain it can bring. And I'm glad there are such things as Acyclovir and Valcyclovir Hcl.

  5. At the Buddhist spirit house, I shall leave an offering for you - perhaps a chain of jasmine flowers - and ask the ancestors to bathe you in healing starlight...See - I hadn't forgotten you Khun Bob.

  6. Not a fun experience you are having. And no flippant comment that I know somebody who had more 'shingles' than a roofing fixer.

    Sorry about your bumpy mishap. One must curb their enthusiasm. Weirdly, in Britain, curb is spelt "kerb". Exciting stuff.

    I shall now let you know you're in my thoughts and with that I shall stick my anti-social neighbour up my flagpole. All the best and thanks for your kind, supportive comment on my site. I'm outta' here.


  7. Khun Yorky, healing starlight sounds wonderful but its efficacy is a little doubtful.

    Gary, I nearly put "(British spelling: kerb)" in my post but decided to leave well enough alone. As it is, my son went back to the scene of the mishap and discovered that it was neither a "curb" nor a "kerb" but a rather deep "hole" -- at the time Mrs. RWP thought the Camry might flip over. Thankfully, it did not and I was able to get out vehicle back onto the roadway. Do let me know if someone salutes your anti-social neighbour.

  8. I'm astounded that you haven't had the vaccine, but now that you've had shingles, I hope you will get it because you can get shingles again, and it can leave you in pain for years as Peggy's father had discovered. Peggy and I both had shingles. Mine were around my left eye, and if I hadn't been married to a nurse, I wouldn't have known what it was and wouldn't have gone to a doctor posthaste. If that had been the case, I could have lost an eye. I do hope that your early treatment will spare you a lot of discomfort if not agony.

  9. Snow, I didn't bother to get the vaccine because I didn't remember ever having had chicken pox. But I guess I must have been exposed to it or had a really light infection. The early treatment seems to be doing the trick. I am still somewhat uncomfortable but I think I may have turned a corner. Thanks for caring.

  10. "Thanks for caring."

    More than you know, perhaps. Yes, I know you didn't remember it, but unless you have to fork out the $200-300 cost out of your own pocket, I would have gotten one anyway. Like you, I don't remember having chicken pox; I just remember being told I did, but, of course, your mother wasn't there to tell you.