Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valtrex and Vicadin


I thought it was a bug bite.
That little red, quarter-size spot on my temple. It was tender to the touch, but looked like a reaction to some sort of bite. So two weeks ago Thursday, I spent the following weekend applying benadryl ever-so-lightly, hoping the thing would go away.
It didn't. And by last Monday, when it hurt a little more and I realized I'd been taking Advil around the clock for about four days straight, accompanied by a bit of chills and fever and nausea, I was convinced it was a spider bite. Something mean and nasty. I even called the executive housekeeper of the hotel where Corbin and I were staying when I first noticed the spot, to see if he had any idea what kind of spider it might have been. As I guessed, he responded with, "Well, just about everything is out here, Ma'am."
I ended up in an emergency clinic last Monday night and was given a heavy dose of antibiotics and ibuprofin. By that time we all concluded that it was simply infected, thus the systemic reactions. But in talking with one of his doctors Tues morning, Corbin called me and said that his doc was convinced it was shingles.
Electronic messages just don't replace
Umm, excuse me?
I'm young and healthy and not terribly stressed out.
Besides, I really didn't even know what shingles was. 
I promptly got my antivirus meds and looked it up on WebMD. Don't do that. Don't ever look up a virus or disease on the internet if you want to stay sane and calm. I had my funeral planned for about a month out. Either that or the psychiatric hospital for when my brain started shutting down. 
Sweetness leads to healing
But seriously, internet pictures and reports aside, I was beginning to get a little nervous. First of all, shingles is a bit painful. Second, it was on my face, and it was getting worse - that red spot was now a scabbed-over sore, and red blotches stretched across my cheek and face. Worst of all, my left eye was swollen and pretty painful. 
Daboo came to the rescue and drove me from doctor to doctor - I saw my primary physician, who sent me straight to a retinal specialist. Evidently my eye and vision were in question... and from the pain I felt, I believed it. And after several rounds of eye drops and the brightest, most brilliant (and excruciating) light ever put in my eye, the opthamologist (who was precious to squeeze me into his very full schedule) declared it clear.  
Mom and I celebrated with big diet cokes.  
A little bit of Heaven
All that to say, I've spent the last five days or so, for the most part, in bed. I have a renewed appreciation for health, and for those who struggle with chronic pain. Oh my gosh. And in the meantime, it's made me grateful:

- A mom who stops everything to drive her adult daughter around to doctors offices and pharmacies... and Sonic.
 - Valtrex and Viacdin, no kidding. And gabapentin. And antibiotics.
- Tamiflu for the rest of my family who have been down with fevers this weekend (!)
- A pizza delivery straight from Montana
- Mama and Papa coming to Fort Worth on the exact day I was diagnosed - only the Lord could plan that (even if Mama is down with a yucky fever now, no doubt caught from Essie's lavish kisses)
Buffalo meat loaf  (YUM!)
- Food. Even when I told people no, they insisted. And now with all my back-up gone - Mama sick and Daboo leaving town to take care of Crystal and Joy Taylor in Montana - I still have sweet friends offering to bring us dinner. 
- One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I'm in the middle of it right now, but it's lovely, and what a sweet reminder of gratitude and thankfulness. Even when it doesn't come naturally.

I'm up and around, but still have enough of a headache to keep me taking it slowly. Hope this doesn't come across as a "poor me" post, but rather, "I'm so stinking shocked at how shingles can stop me in my tracks." Not slow down, but stop. Whew!
From Barefoot Kontessa's kitchen
By the way, my kids have no idea I've been sick. They simply don't perceive it. I can come down the stairs, cold washrag pressed to my temple, still in pajamas at 4:00 pm, hair tousled, face swollen and bruised, dark circles under my eyes, and they look at me and ask, "Hey mom - what's for dinner?"
Love that their world keeps right on spinning...

Just makes you happy inside