Photo Hunt: “Informative”

I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something for this week’s Photo Hunt challenge. Whilst squinting at my photos on my Fotki profile, I was thinking about how nice it will be to get my new glasses so I can actually see without squinting. My appointment was on Thursday (My new pair will have graduated lenses for reading, computer, and for distance). I had a retinal scan and my doctor checked to see if there was any scarring from my long-lasting Shingles scrape. A small scar, not in my area of vision…

Anyhoodle… This brings me to this week’s Photo Hunt…

For some reasons, my Shingles postings have been found very informative to people who have either been diagnosed with facial Shingles, think they have facial Shingles, or have been misdiagnosed and KNOW they have facial Shingles. Very many doctors don’t seem to recognize the symptoms of Shingles on the face. Nor, do they seem to understand the need to promptly prescribe the antiviral OR understand the danger of facial Shingles (If the virus gets into the eye, itself, it can cause permanent damage to the eye. As a result, I have had so many people contact me asking if I think they have Shingles, what they should do, to complain about their doctor’s lack of concern, and/or to ask questions about my experience with Shingles.

And… apropos Photo Hunt… The entirely gross and embarrassing photos of my Shingle-y face have been found to be very informative to a lot of people.

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Hacked

Well… probably. Last night, when I arrived home after spending the evening with my friends I found that my Gmail had encountered “suspicious activity” and before I could access it I had to change my password. There were two attempted email sends to friends and co-workers but as far as I can tell nothing was successfully sent. That is a relief but now my Gmail Notifier isn’t working which is a pain. I tried to download and install it again but it still isn’t working….

Oh… and I have a feeling that I might be having a recurrence of Shingles. The back left side of my head is hurting like a bugger. At least I know what to look for this time.

Eye Institute today

The good news regarding my eye is that the virus (which they say is a Herpes virus but can’t say if it is Simplex or Zoster) seems to have been knocked out.

There is some scar tissue on the cornea which they hope the medication will shrink. If it doesn’t, they may have to do a laser procedure to shrink them. I will see the cornea specialist next week.

Unfortunately, here is nothing they can do for the large number of “floaters” in the left eye which is affecting the eyesight in THAT eye. I can only hope that they don’t worsen. They are actually more annoying than the virus in the right eye, though the scarring on the right eye has slightly worse long-term consequences.

Shit, shit, shit…

I have some sort of viral infection in my eye but the clinic doesn’t think it is Shingles… or at least that it is STILL Shingles. It could be Herpes Simplex or some other virus but there’s no way of telling, at this point.

More drops… more visits every second day to the Eye Institute.

They said my vision in my damaged eye was “better” than when I was there in February. However, I have a difficult time reading documents which is a pain since that is a good part of what I do. At least on the computer, I can expand the image so I can read them. The actual documents are a bit more difficult and I have to hold them right up to my face if the image is too small or the resolution is poor (and with historical documents, more often than not, the copies are REALLY bad).

Off to put the drops in, again….

Eye Institute, today.

I had another appointment at the Eye Institute, today. After last week’s appointment where I discovered that they didn’t have anything in my file since my visit in October, they put those %*#%^%  drops in my eyes for no damn reason which screwed my vision up for about 4 hours and I had to wait at least an hour before I could drive home, and I wasn’t sure if they knew what the Hell they were doing, I was ready to be pissed off, today.

However, I was very pleased with the visit.

Firstly, the woman that, to date, I have seen on every visit wasn’t there and one of the doctors actually saw me rather than another resident (or intern, I’m not sure which) saw me. I was ready to be upset because the first thing she asked was something along the lines of “When was your last visit, here?” I asked if they still hadn’t located my file and she assured me that they had my file but she just wasn’t sure if it was last week or two weeks, etc., from my last visit.

She actually seemed familiar with the case and she said that they had been in a quandary about whether it was an infection that was the cause of the problems or Herpes (which is the virus causes both Chicken Pox and Shingles, cold sores, as well as a variation being Genital Herpes which I can assure you is NOT something I have).

After having a really good look, she said that the problem seems to have stemmed from the Shingles I had last fall and possibly a recurrence recently. There is an old scar on the top right of my cornea and a new lesion near the centre of my cornea, so she is pretty sure that I had a recurrence after Christmas.

However, the lesion is healing, the old scar looks like a faint patch on the cornea, and that the vision appears to be getting better.

There will likely be a small amount of permanent damage in the form of a light scar but that it will probably fade as the old damage has done. As I have said, I don’t notice the vision as much as I do the sensitivity to light and that has CERTAINLY improved. Cloudy days don’t bother me nearly as much as they did and the one really sunny day I was out, once I had the sunglasses on, the light didn’t bother me at all. Before, if it was sunny, even  with two pairs of sunglasses, I was nearly blind.

They are reducing the medication and my next appointment is in two weeks.

All-in-all, I am pretty happy with the visit.

My vision…

… seems to be improving.  I was able to drive today without much of a problem. I bought some new wrap-around sunglasses which are large enough to put on over my glasses and to block out light coming in from the side, so, aside from a few minutes when I first went out, I wasn’t bothered by the glare from the sun.

I don’t have any problems seeing distance. It was the close reading and details that were really blurry. The seem to be a bit better (I think).

I’ll have to be careful… Tje little bottle of eyedrops is about the same size as the little tubes of Krazy Glue… 😉 (That’s also a visual pun!) Luckily the tubes are in a plastic bottle.

Finally got the second of two Benevolent Postcard Society cards off this evening. And for the second time, I forgot to scan it before sending it. I hope THIS time I hear if it got where its going. I have only heard the one card reached its destination. 😦

I’m sure there’s a lesson in this…

… but damned if I can tell you what it is.

In the last two weeks, by eyes have been bothering me. Ultra sensitive to the light  (having to wear TWO pairs of sunglasses* while driving and one pair in the office) and the right eye feeling “scratchy”. I finally decided to make an appointment with my eye doctor and went in this morning. I got there and discovered my appointment was NEXT week but they said they would fit me in. I was really glad they would do so and after seeing the eye doctor VERY glad they did.

It was late last night that I suddenly thought “I wonder if this could have anything to do with the Shingles I had last fall?”.

It does.

I was sent immediately to the Eye Institute.

It is either a recurrence of or a residual infection from the Shingles.

Today, not only was my eye sensitive to the light but we found that there is a significant reduction in the vision in the eye (sharpness-wise). I can barely see the top line in the chart, whereas in the fall, I was seeing as far down as the last line.

So I am on drops and ointment and have to go back next week to the Eye Institute. Luckily…. and this is where my “It Could Be Worse” luck comes in… They don’t think there will be permanent damage to the eye.

Fingers crossed….

I have been wondering if all these “It could be worse” things are Karmatic… Getting me back for being a hypochondriac when I was a kid.

*Apparently, wearing two pairs of polarized sunglasses cancels out the polarization, a fact I did not know until this morning.

Monday’s Shingle-y update…

I went to the hospital today because my vision in my right eye is blurry and I have what appear to be new spots and some swelling around my eye…

The doctor, the same one as last week,  (who, by the way, was the doctor who say me, here in Ontario, after last year’s Elk attack) said that it appears I have an abrasion on my retina cornea, either from rubbing or from the eyelid sores rubbing but I have to go to the Eye Clinic tomorrow* to make sure.

Apparently, when the eye is involved, to the extent that mine was, the “remote” likelihood of the Herpes virus infecting the eye is less “remote” and when it infects the eye, it can get into the brain…. Brain Shingles, as goofy as it sounds is pretty serious. AND, as you may know, reading up on these things often gives you more information than you want to know… Like, people who get Shingles which invade the eye are at a higher percentage than normal (as much as 30%!) in having a stroke within a short time of their attack.

Having said all that, the doctor is pretty confident that it hasn’t gotten in there but with the corneal abrasion, he wants to make extra sure, especially as my vision in the right eye has become “significantly” blurred since just last week. Then, I was able to read clearly all but the bottom line of the chart, and even some of that. This week, I could read down to line four and that would go in and out…. He thinks it is just from the abrasion.

He drew me a diagram of what the Herpes virus on your eye looks like (see below – with dye and refraction). He says mine just looks like an abrasion but that it it’s best to get it checked out.

Occular Herpes (ARGOS Consultorios de Salud)
Occular Herpes (ARGOS Consultorios de Salud)

On the whole, he says that I am “clearing up nicely”, in fact and that the spots are “post-Herpetic”. After yesterday when I was having a lot of pain and took a number of the pain meds, (rendering me “pretty loopy” today, the headaches seem much reduced, though painful. And I can’t tell if the hot-flashes are to do with Shingles or being 53…. I have taken “dr. az’s” advice and decided to give myself a break from Scramble on Facebook because I was worried about my “brain fog”.

And my blood pressure was great, or at least the bottom number, which is the one that matters (160/94).

The really GOOD thing out of this is that, last week, when I was at the pharmacy, I overheard the clerks talking about “doctors taking patients!!!!!”!!!!). There is a new clinic around the corner from the pharmacy and I toddled right in an made an appointment for a “meet and greet” with the doctor.

Hopefully, this will be the start of a beautiful friendship and I can stop waiting 3 hours for an “appointment” which isn’t an “appointment” but the Appletree Clinic version of a cattle-call. MY last doctor left the previous clinic without warning to join the Ottawa U Medical faculty and the clinic in question didn’t seem interested in finding me someone else to see. My theory about doctors is that you know what kind of service you are going to get from the receptionists and the previous clinic was, for the most part, cold and disinterested.

The welcome at the new place was friendly, considering they were confronted with a person with swollen eyes and a horrific rash. We’ll see how things progress. It has been almost 10 years since my lovely family doctor, Dr. Power, retired, leaving me high and dry (they were unable to find new doctors for a good number of the patients, including me).

I will miss Dr. M from Appletree because he is matter-of-fact and we got along but I need to feel confident in the over-all care and I just don’t feel that with Appletree.

*Tomorrow, I also have to take Mom in to The Heart Institute to get fitted with a blood-pressure monitor that she will have to wear – and have $100 to pay for it. Wednesday, she has to see her cardiologist, hopefully about the results of the “event monitor” she had on for two weeks AND I have to arrange to have the second part of her root canal done. Life is full….

My Brain Hurts.

headache-main_Full

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.

tw_plastic-letters-by-l_avi

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.

IMG_0003IMG_0004

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.

Symptoms.

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

 

 

 

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