Last Wednesday, August 14th, I came home from work feeling ill. I had a fever, so after dinner I took some NyQuil, (an over-the-counter cold medicine which is about 40% alcohol), and went to bed.
I slept soundly all night, but when I awoke the next morning, my head and pillow were dripping with sweat. I had slept on my left side, so when I noticed some red bumps and swelling there, I assumed they were simply pimples due to my skin soaking in the sweat all night.
Thursday I still felt generally cruddy, so I stayed home from work. By Friday I was feeling better, and went to work, but the “pimples” were still there, and getting a little worse.
By Saturday morning the “pimples” had started to swell, and I was starting to have trouble seeing out of my left eye. No biggie, I figured. In a day or two these dumb things will have run their course.
Wrong! By Sunday morning I couldn’t even open my left eye, and my wife insisted it was time to visit the doctor.
Once I got in to see the doctor, I asked him if he just cut and drain the swelling around my eye. He shook his head, and then informed me that it appeared that I was suffering from an attack of shingles.
Shingles! Good grief! I thought only old farts got shingles! Uh ….. okay, so maybe I do qualify for “old fartage” these days. But sill …..
So now I am at home, taking two different kinds of massive horse pills, (Valacyclovir HCL 1 gram, and Clindamycin HCL 300 mg), along with some steroids to reduce the swelling, while attempting to resist the urge to scratch like a madman at the burning itchiness on the left side of my face until the skin peels off! The doctors have told me to stay home from work all week, probably more for the safety of my co-workers, because in my current state I am highly contagious.
Shingles are caused by a member of the lovely herpes family of viruses, the same stupid virus that causes chicken pox, which I had as a child. If you read about it, you’ll see that not too much is really known about this bug, and my theory that sleeping in my own sweat caused the outbreak may be just as valid as any other.
But I can tell you this: if you have a sudden outbreak of “pimples” after a fever, and you have had chickenpox in the past, you might want to visit your doctor, to at least rule out the possibility of shingles.