February 13th, 2008 by Potato

For a week I had bad headaches, that were made much worse by moving my head, looking down, etc. On Monday (the first day), I felt like throwing up, then Tuesday through Thursday were relatively normal, aside from the pain. I tried to hold still and not do much and it was actually quite manageable that way. On Friday, things took a turn for the worse. I was sick to my stomach, spiked a fever of 39°C, and was just ruddy awful. On Saturday, I had a rash start on my chest, and continued to feel nauseous and had no desire for food. Reading up on the internet, I found that I had the whole grocery list of symptoms associated with meningitis, just none that were quite severe enough to really worry me enough to go get checked out. On Sunday, nothing had changed, but this was starting to worry me, so I went to the hospital.

As the title may have spoiled it already, I won’t try to draw out the suspense: I don’t have meningitis. I do have shingles though, which I always thought was one of those made-up old people diseases my grandfather used to get. It’s basically childhood chickenpox, which has remained dormant somewhere inside some of my nerve cells, rearing its ugly head. So it’s been a pretty miserable few days here. The shingles manifests as a rash on my chest: basically a concentrated collection of a few dozen chicken pox spots all merging together — and it’s exactly as itchy and painful as that sounds. It burns. On top of that are the systematic effects: the headache, nausea, and what I still don’t quite understand: the fatigue. I seem to wake up from a sleep feeling pretty good, energy wise. As long as I don’t move my head or touch my shingles rash, I figure I can do something normal, and I can (witness: blogging!) for a short while. But after a few hours I have trouble concentrating, and after about 5-6 hours of being awake, I just crash, and have to go back to bed. Then I sleep for 7-8 hours, and repeat. It’s a very strange schedule to be on, and unfortunately doesn’t mesh well with a standard 24-hour day.

I’ve lost 4 pounds in as many days, and while that weight won’t be missed in the slightest (bye now, don’t write!), it’s not a healthy rate. Fortunately, that seems to have leveled off today and yesterday, now that I’m back up to two decent-sized meals a day.

Oh, and calamine lotion is amazing. I wish they had invented it when I was a kid and had the chicken pox.

3 Responses to “Shingles”

  1. Ben Says:

    I thought you only got shingles if you didn’t have chicken pox when you were younger?

  2. Potato Says:

    I think I heard that once a few years ago as well… no, but if you catch chicken pox as an adult without prior exposure, it tends to be much worse; potentially fatal.

  3. Ben Says:

    Luckily there’s a vaccine for chicken pox now!