Shingles - please help me with this god awful illness

I have contracted shingles. It started with headaches for four days before I dragged myself into the hospital.
I was given iv meds in the hospital for the overnight that I was there. I am now on nerve pain meds, and morphine. Still I am in the most horrible pain. My whole scalp is affected, the right side of my face and eye are affected. My eye is swollen shut. and I am not able to see out of it.

I am asking for any knowledge that anyone has of this disease. I am told to be on complete bed rest. This is not something that I am used to. I am used to taking care of my husband and kids and my household. I don't have the energy to do anything, but I am trying. I at least get to make supper, and then I do one chore per day. I feel accomplished doing something.

Anyone going through this, or have gone through this, please help me.
I miss my life. I want to go back to work and take care of my family.

How long does it take to heal from this. I am told because I am 45 and that shingles has happened in a rare place, that it will take much longer to heal from this, and that even when the shingles virus leaves me, that I can be affected by it for months later.
I pray this is not the case.

I was just about to pull all the hair out of my body, due to the pain, my doctor wanted to put me back in the hospital but I refused, so he gave me a high dosage of morphine to deal with the pain, it is helping, but still feel the pain in my scalp, face and eye.

anyone who can give me some words of encouragement please that would help me so much
I am not in a good place with this illness, right now.

thank you in advance

Hi Flashback, How are things

Hi Flashback,

How are things going with the new therapist?

I'm sorry to hear that you are sick again. Shingles are no fun. Its too late now, but if I were you'd I'd of stayed in the hospital and let the doctors treat my shingles instead of going home to be miserable.

Forgive me for bringing this up but you never mentioned having children before. Did something change?

Katherine

Hi Flashback, I'm sorry to

Hi Flashback,

I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering so badly with shingles. I've never had it but know of two people who have, and it was a nightmare. Because of the agony they endured, I'm considering getting the shingles vaccine, Zostavax. You may want to discuss that with your physician once you are recovered.

The article below was in the newspaper today. I hope it contains something that may help you. Have you tried laying down on the bed and doing progressive relaxation, starting with your feet up to your head, focusing on each separate body part to try to "zone out" of the pain?

While I can only imagine what you are going through, try to be positive as in "this, too, shall pass". You have my very best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Newspaper article: Dear Dr. Roach: What can help pain of shingles? It’s been on the left side of my head for six months? — G.W.

Answer: Shingles, the disease caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus, can cause a complication called post-herpetic neuralgia, a devastatingly painful nerve condition (neuropathy) that can last months and even years. Pain that is still there after six months is no longer shingles, but instead is called post-herpetic neuralgia.

There are many treatments for PHN; unfortunately, none of them is perfect, but even a 50 percent reduction in pain can be very helpful. Medications include gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica); older medications, like some antidepressants and some anti-epilepsy drugs, are as effective or more. All of them can have significant side effects.

Topical treatments include anesthetics such as lidocaine, creams (like capsaicin) that cause an immediate release of substance P, a chemical responsible for pain transmission in nerve cells. The initial burning sensation is intolerable for many, but it can provide hours of relief afterward.

Your internist or a neurologist can go over the risks and benefits of these treatments in more detail.

If you catch shingles before

If you catch shingles before the 4th day of the rash (even if the pain had started days before the rash), you can take an anti-viral drug like Valtrex. It usually decreases the duration of the infection and decreases the frequency and severity of post-herpetic neuralgia - pain after the infection heals.

The pain can be treated with narcotics, Lyrica or Neurontin, and Elavil.

You must see an ophthalmologist to find out if the branch going to your eye is affected (the naso-ciliary nerve). It is not the same branch that goes to your eyelids. If it is, you would most likely have a lesion on the tip of your nose. In that case, you'll probably need anti-viral eye drops.

Acupuncture can also help.

thanks for the comments Yes

thanks for the comments
Yes Twain - I was hospitalized and given the singles medication by iv. Then I was sent home with Valtrex for 8 days.
I am at home now, but the pain is horrible. My doctor had prescribed me with a high dosage of morphine but it literaaly made me violently sick, so he gave me a lower dosage that deals with the pain but it is mimimal relief
It feels like my face is on fire. It is pure hell.
I am missing my job and coworkers.

Twain, how long does this hell last - I have seen a eye specialist, so far he sees no damage, but my eye no longer will tear so most likely I will
have to use eye drops from now on, but hey if that is all that is going to happen to my eye, that is fine with me.

I am so physically and mentally exhaused. I sleep about 15 hours a day because I am so exhausted. I can not do anything in the house as far as houscleaning.

any suggestions on how to deal with this would be most appreciated

thanks in advance

Flashback wrote: any

Flashback wrote:

any suggestions on how to deal with this would be most appreciated

thanks in advance

Go. Back. To. The. Hospital.

Clearly you aren't accomplishing anything by being at home so go back to the hospital where they can do something.

My husband, Frank, came down

My husband, Frank, came down with shingles back around 2006. After 3 days, he went to the doctor's and was given an anti-viral medication. I asked him if he had anything to say to you.

He says he doesn't think his case was as bad as yours. (He looked awful and sounded even worse to me.) Frank says the pain was a "shooting, blinding pain" in his head, and it was awful!!! It took about two weeks before he was feeling better. He doesn't remember taking pain medication. I can't remember either. You would think, as a nurse, I would insist he take something for the moaning, but neither of us can really remember if he did or not.

I just remember he moaned a lot, couldn't get off the couch, and as the shingles spread and affected his eye, he looked like he had been beaten up pretty bad. His eye was very swollen, and he says it was like sandpaper rubbing over his eye ball. His vision wasn't affected though. I remember being very concerned about that.

He normally never missed a day of work, but he did stay home the first day unable to work. He says that was a Friday, and that sounds right to me. That would have given him all week-end to lie around and moan, and that sounds about right. (It was probably worse for me that week-end!) By the Monday, he says I made him go to the doctor and he started the anti-viral. He was able to work from home for the rest of the week, but he said it was difficult because of the shooting, blinding pain in his head. He really didn't work much the first week. He moaned a lot that first week. The following week he was able to work from home, and the following week he was able to return to work.

Hopefully you are feeling better soon, and your family will allow you lie around and moan like a man for as long as you need to.

The pain can last days or

The pain can last days or weeks

It seems that you are already on Valtrex and Lyrica (or Neurontin) - you may have to raise the dose of Lyrica for it to be effective; slowly, up to 300 mg twice a day.

If morphine makes you sick, there are other narcotics (Dilaudid, Supeodol, etc) your doctor can prescribe that hopefully will not. A combination of meds should make the pain manageable

wishandaprayer wrote: My

wishandaprayer wrote:

My husband, Frank, came down with shingles back around 2006. After 3 days, he went to the doctor's and was given an anti-viral medication. I asked him if he had anything to say to you.

He says he doesn't think his case was as bad as yours. (He looked awful and sounded even worse to me.) Frank says the pain was a "shooting, blinding pain" in his head, and it was awful!!! It took about two weeks before he was feeling better. He doesn't remember taking pain medication. I can't remember either. You would think, as a nurse, I would insist he take something for the moaning, but neither of us can really remember if he did or not.

I just remember he moaned a lot, couldn't get off the couch, and as the shingles spread and affected his eye, he looked like he had been beaten up pretty bad. His eye was very swollen, and he says it was like sandpaper rubbing over his eye ball. His vision wasn't affected though. I remember being very concerned about that.

He normally never missed a day of work, but he did stay home the first day unable to work. He says that was a Friday, and that sounds right to me. That would have given him all week-end to lie around and moan, and that sounds about right. (It was probably worse for me that week-end!) By the Monday, he says I made him go to the doctor and he started the anti-viral. He was able to work from home for the rest of the week, but he said it was difficult because of the shooting, blinding pain in his head. He really didn't work much the first week. He moaned a lot that first week. The following week he was able to work from home, and the following week he was able to return to work.

Hopefully you are feeling better soon, and your family will allow you lie around and moan like a man for as long as you need to.

Welcome back, Wisher.

thank you all for the

thank you all for the advice
I did have to go back to the hospital (took Katherines advice) and I stayed there for three days. I did not want to be away from my family but it was somehting that I had to do.
I was given a sedative for the pain and more shingles meds through IV.
The hospital was awesome every half hour the nurse would come in a bring me a heated blanket, as I was so cold when I was admitted. I was also given cold packs for my eye.

I am still in pain, my scalp is burning, and so is my face. I am taking morphine.
I am so tired, sleeping about 16 hours per day. My doctor says that it is because of the infection in me and the morphine that I am taking.
I have been off work for three weeks and it is making e angry.
I love my job and miss it, but my husband says to just get better and soon I will be back at work.
I just wish the burning would stop.

thanks and take care

Look after yourself, whatever

Look after yourself, whatever it takes, Flashback ... work and family will have to wait a bit until things start to improve for you. And I hope that will be soon! Take care!

Flashback, Some people have

Flashback,
Some people have experienced relief from shingles pain and post-shingles neuropathy (which can last for months) by taking a drug called Gabapentin. It is a prescription anti-convulsant drug, sometimes used off-label for this purpose. It is a very safe drug with very low toxicity and few side-effects. Worst one is sleepiness. Best wishes...
Phat

Before trying an

Before trying an anti-convulsant which has the side effect of suicide, I would try Emotional Freedom Techniques to relieve pain.

phatgeek

phatgeek wrote:

Flashback,
Some people have experienced relief from shingles pain and post-shingles neuropathy (which can last for months) by taking a drug called Gabapentin.

Flashback, FYI, Gabapentin is neurontin (as mentioned previously by Twain).

Yes I am on Gabapentin

Yes I am on Gabapentin too.

just wish this pain would go away the morphine helps but not totally

will just have to live through it

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