My Brain Hurts.


I am more of less recovered from the Shingles attack of the last two weeks. At least visually.

I had gone into the pharmacy (mine) to see if there was ANYTHING I could put on my skin to soothe the skin. The pharmacist there did the pharmaceutical version of run screaming for the door. He stood WAY back behind the counter and kept repeating “No, I can’t help you…. No, I can’t help you…”

Okay, I am “contagious” if I touched someone and they came in contact with the crusty stuff from the sores. I can’t give anyone Shingles. They COULD get Chicken Pox in the rare event that 1) I ran up and hugged them or rubbed my head on their face and 2) they had never HAD Chicken Pox or been vaccinated or 3) their immune system was down and or they were pregnant.

In this case, I was keeping well away from people, not touching them and not touching anything I wasn’t going to purchase. I didn’t even allow them to touch my bank card which I swiped myself and I was wearing a glove when I keyed in my account number.

But Cripes, the pharmacist acted like I was going to leap across the counter, kiss him and infect him.

So… I went to my mother’s pharmacy and asked them there. The pharmacist showed me an ointment, Cicaplast, ($$$) which is made for people who have had bad burns or are recovering from skin peels. He kept his distance and I kept mine.

Cicaplast works nicely, BTW. The skin on my eyelid almost immediately became less red and tender, the “wrinkled” appearance from the horrendous swelling diminished, and the forehead redness was almost gone in the morning.

I did get off rather easy in the “excruciating pain” department, with the exception of a single repeated spasm under my right cheekbone which was somewhat painful.

Now, however, I have a persistent pain the shoots between the corner of my right eye and my temple. Feeling not unlike what I imagine being stabbed in the temple with an ice pick, it is really debilitating. Luckily, it isn’t ALL the time but does give way sometimes to the painkiller I was given (Talwin). Unfortunately, the Talwin doesn’t always DO anything.

Sometimes it knocks me flat on my back (on a rare occasion) and other times I can’t go to sleep at all. I have had to resort to taking Gravol (an over-the-counter anti-nausea medication) and the Talwin if I want to get something resembling a reasonable night’s sleep.

What tis beginning to worry me a bit more is the fact that I seem to be having sudden problem with my ability to do puzzles, particularly one that I have been reasonably good with up until that last few days. I play Scramble on Facebook . Scramble is a grid of letters and you have to try and make as many words as you can in a short amount of time.

I play constantly and have managed to rack up a score of 249. More often than not, I was getting in the 130 to 140, with the odd game just over 100. Now, I can’t seem to “see” the words. I can get a number of three or four letter words but sometimes I can’t even get more than a few of those.


When the game finishes and I see the list of words I could have gotten, I am stunned because even when looking a the board with the list of words, I have a hard time “seeing” them. It takes me a bit of time to follow the letters and find the word. And when I do, I am misspelling them or at least mixing up the letters (trio comes out tiro).

Maybe I need to just stop and let my brain rest. I am just hoping what is going on it temporary.

Hang Out Your Shingles…

So, it turns out that I do not have pink-eye… Nor am I having a reaction to my blood pressure medication.

I have Shingles. I never knew you could have it in your face, but you can and I got it. I got it baaaaad.


I spent the morning and most of the afternoon at the hospital. I woke up this morning with my right eye very swollen and with what looked like blisters on my head and face. So, I headed down to the Queensway Carleton Hospital (my favourite hospital since they closed the Riverside Hospital). The triage nurse immediately said “It looks like you have shingles”, put on a mask, spit-guard, gloves and gown, processed me and sent me into the isolation waiting area. Nothing to read in there except today’s 24 newspaper and some copies of Watchtower in Arabic. Since I wasn’t allowed to touch anything I stole one of the Watchtowers to fan my face.

When I finally was called into the Cubicles and was seen by the doctor, he took one look at me and said “You have Shingles”. He ran some blood tests to make sure I don’t have any underlying problem (I don’t),  and scheduled me for a visit to the General Hospital Eye Clinic tomorrow to ensure that the virus hasn’t gotten into my eyeball which could cause complications with my vision. That would be treatable but the faster they know and can treat it,the less likely any damage would be done.

I have a cortisone medication to take daily for 14 days, I think it is (10 tablets once a day for a couple of days, 8 for a couple of days… and so on until I am finished the prescription. I also have Prednesone for the inflammation and a painkiller for the shooting pains and the burning pain.

My sinuses, glands and ears are all hurting, now, and, as you can see from the photos, I look pretty swollen and inflamed.

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a band of blisters that wraps from the middle of your back around one side of your chest to your breastbone.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.

While it isn’t a life-threatening condition, shingles can be very painful. Vaccines can help reduce the risk of shingles, while early treatment can help shorten a shingles infection and lessen the chance of complications.


The signs and symptoms of shingles usually affect only a small section of one side of your body. These signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
  • A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Itching

Some people also experience:

  • Fever and chills
  • General achiness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Pain is usually the first symptom of shingles. For some, it can be intense. Depending upon the location of the pain, it can sometimes be mistaken for a symptom of problems affecting the heart, lungs or kidneys. Some people experience shingles pain without ever developing the rash.

Most commonly, the shingles rash develops as a band of blisters that wraps around one side of your chest from your spine to your breastbone. Sometimes the shingles rash occurs around one eye or on one side of the neck or face.

Are you contagious?
A person with shingles can pass the varicella-zoster virus to anyone who hasn’t had chickenpox. This usually occurs through direct contact with the open sores of the shingles rash. Once infected, the person will develop chickenpox, however, not shingles.

Chickenpox can be dangerous for some groups of people. Until your shingles blisters scab over, you are contagious and should avoid physical contact with:

  • Anyone who has a weak immune system
  • Newborns
  • Pregnant women

Mayo Clinic


Please see the postings on my further Shingles adventures.

October 13, 2009

February 3, 2010

February 9, 2010

February 25, 2010

June 9, 2010

June 22, 2010




%d bloggers like this: