Monday, September 18, 2006

Knowledge is Power

The last few days have been a blur for me. On Thursday I went to the hospital ER with a severe pain in the upper left quadrant of my abdomen. The Doctor on call ran a battery of tests and pretty much came back with nothing other than maybe unexplained GI problems or a bad muscle pull. He sent me on my way with pain killers. I began to feel even worse on Friday evening and finally took one of the painkillers. I woke up in the middle of the night in horrible and unrelenting pain that was now radiating into my back. I went back to the ER and still they came up with nothing in terms of diagnosis. They gave me more painkillers, anti-inflammatories and Valium and told me to sleep for two days so the muscle would stop spasming. It all just did not make any sense to me as I had never had this kind of excruciating pain before with a muscle pull and believe me when I tell you that it normally takes much more than a little pain to get this girl to a Doctor let alone a hospital. Well, I listened to the Doctor and took to my bed. My husband is a total prince and with a smile on his face took over everything in the house, which included keeping our VERY ACTIVE Katie happy and out of our bedroom. Well, last night I began to feel an itch on my back and felt what I thought was a mosquito bite. Before long it turned into 4 bumps and then 8 and by evening there were more than a dozen. At this point it hit me...I knew exactly what I had as one of my friends had suffered with the same malady last year..SHINGLES!. I had spoken to her at length last year when she had them and remembered some of the symptoms. I went on the Internet and did what any good Internet maven would do and diagnosed myself..LOL. I called my Doctor early this morning and went in immediately. I told her about the series of events that had taken place over the weekend and what I felt that I had. She examined me and concurred with my self-diagnosis :) It was a classic case of Shingles. I was also fortunate enough to have received a phone call from a friend last evening to check on me and she told me about a very good drug that if taken in the first 72 hours of onset will shorten the pain and duration of this illness. I am on this medication now as well as pain killers as the pain is excruciating. They say it can take 4-6 weeks to ease and that there is the chance of neuralgia (nerve pain) for many months to come. Since I was diagnosed fairly quickly I am optimistic that I will not suffer as long as the average person does.

Shingles is caused by the same virus that Chickenpox is caused by. You have had to have Chickenpox at some point in your life to get Shingles. Once you have Chickenpox it lays dormant within the cells of your body and waits for a compromise such a stress or illness. In my case it was stress due to mostly work related issues I suspect. I am only contagious for this week while the blisters are open so unfortunately my baby is slightly at risk as she has never had chickenpox and has not had the vaccine yet (she was scheduled for it next month) I will do my best to keep her safe from it.

The reason that I am sharing this in such a detailed fashion is that I believe knowledge is Power and that we all need to be proactive about our health as well as many issues in our lives. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that I have been able to tell a Doctor what is wrong with me before he/she was able to. I have since called the ER department of the hospital and suggested that they print what the symptoms of shingles are for people that they discharge for unexplained pain such as mine was.

I am very grateful to my friends and family who have been there for me with their company and offers of help. You are all very much appreciated.


M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

Yikes, feel better Lori! Here's hoping you get a really mild case. I got Shingles a couple of years ago and lucked out in getting a really, really mild attack. I'm the same as you, I went in to the doctor saying "I think I have Shingles, what's the treatment." Sigh...

tracy said...

Ouch, I agree...knowledge is power!

Thanks for the education, I'll remember this lesson, I know several people that have had shingles, but I had no clue what that meant.

Hope you feel better soon!

Monica said...

Ouch! Hope you are feeling better soon & it is not such a bad case of it. I actually caught chickenpox from my Dad when I was 16 (so not that long ago ;D) and that was miserable for both of us, but probably mostly for my poor mother.

Sending you feel better hugs!


Toby & Charlie said...

Oh Lori!
I'm sorry you're in pain. Stress is enough to really do a number on our health. Thank goodness you're a great "Doctor Mom" and that Marc is such a fantastic hubby and daddy.
Get well soon!
(((BIG hugs)))

eggrolls and chopsticks said...

Yikes! Heres to feeling better really fast.
Thanks so much for all of you help, you were a life saver. Now you need a life saver.....or maybe Marc does. ;)

Lanny and Heather said...

Oh no Lori. So sorry to hear about shingles. My anatomy professor in college suffered horribly from them. Thank goodness you were able to diagnose yourself so quickly. Best wishes as you heal. Please let us know if we can do anything. Hopefully you can rest and catch a few good books or movies as you rest. Marc will be sure to have a good mix of tunes going for you. Hugs and feel better soon.

Anna said...

I'm so sorry you aren't feeling well. I hope you feel much better very soon!! Can Marc be cloned? I could use a good guy like him!


Karen said...

SO sorry that you are feeling bad! Hope you feel better soon & hope Miss Katie doesn't get it!

eggrolls and chopsticks said...

I hope you are feeling better but if you are still under the weather I highly recommend you snuggle up with Snotty Baby for a little while and you will be all better. From everything thing I have seen it would appear these loveys have magical powers. ;)

Stacy said...

Shingles are truly awful. I had them on my face and in my mouth! It was miserable. Thank goodness they got you on something fast. That made a huge difference for me. I hope you get some relief soon.