Tuesday, 30 May 2017

I Have Shingles :(

If you’re thinking about getting shingles around your eye, I’ve got a tip for you: Don’t get shingles around your eye. It’s your call and everything, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.

A few days ago I got what I thought were a few spots, one on my forehead, and a cluster around my hairline. I’ve got terrible skin anyway, so this wasn’t a surprise. They hurt more than normal, but I thought that was just because of where they were on the face. When you get spots a lot you get used to the different varieties, the sore ones round the lips, the rosy red ones on the nose -- and on the forehead, where the skin is stretched tight, they can hurt like hell.

But then yesterday when I woke up the spots had become a rash across most of the top right side of my face, and it was clearly something else. It looked like a mild chemical burn, was more painful than before, and I assumed some kind of allergic reaction. I found a Boots that was open on bank holidays, and the pharmacist there gave me some strong antihistamines and told me to apply plenty of moisturiser, but he didn’t examine me closely, or seem much interested. Maybe that Guardian exposé was right. Or maybe he was just tired and distracted from working on Bank Holiday Monday. I know I hate it when I have to work bank holidays on the bar.

I dosed up and hunkered down. But then this morning the rash was worse again, what I’d thought were spots had now become welts, and another cluster had developed around my eye. And the pain, which had been awful yesterday, was now excruciating. It felt like the skin was being burned off my face.

I managed to book a same-day appointment with the nurse practitioner at my local surgery, and within minutes she had diagnosed me with shingles. I didn’t know much about it, other than that it was somehow related to chicken pox. But I picked up the antiviral drugs she prescribed me and came home and did a whole lot of Google research.

Shingles is herpes zoster, the reoccurrence of the chicken pox virus. After recovering from chicken pox the virus is not eradicated from your body, but rather lies dormant in the roots of your nerves. The virus can then reawaken in later life, especially if your immune system is lowered or you suffer from anxiety or stress -- which, like, *waves* -- at which point you develop shingles.

Anyway, the rash is supposed to blister and then scab and then heal, which with the help of the meds should last a week or two, and the pain, because it is nerve based, will likely last a while longer. I have to be careful with it being around and so close to my eye, because damage to the eye itself can cause permanent scarring and vision loss, which is scary, but hopefully the meds will lessen the risk of that as well.

You can’t give shingles to anyone else, but you can give chicken pox to someone who has not had chicken pox before, and because of this I have to sign myself off work until the blisters scab. Which really sucks for work, although my manager has been lovely about it, and kind of sucks for me, because I don’t fancy being house-bound for up to two weeks.

But I’ve been letting the blog slide of recent, not through depression but simply having other things to do, so perhaps it will be good to have some time with which to focus on writing again. I shouldn’t really go out, I’ve already ploughed through most of the Netflix library I can be bothered with, and the fiery pains up all the nerves of my face makes it hard to concentrate on anything too active.

So I’ll come here and let you know how I’m getting along, I’ll write whatever I have in me to write, and it’ll hopefully distract me in between doses of Zovirax and paracetamol and ibuprofen, of which I’ll be taking a whole shit-ton.

I hope you wonderful people are all good, anyway. Peace. 


  1. Hope you get more comfortable soon, glad to hear from you again x

  2. Sounds horrible. ..hope you feel better soon

  3. Keep it up, Rob. We're thinking of you. xx. Have you seen Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette? It may get you through a couple of hours.