Last week I went to see the doctor and I was diagnosed with shingles. The doctor gave me 10 days of medical leave, instructing me to stay away from people unless I want to spread the infection to kids who are most susceptible to the virus, which can cause chickenpox to the unvaccinated few.
I was quite surprised when given the diagnosis. I have always thought that shingles was something you would only get when you are older, say, 50 years old or later. But nope. I am a 31 year old healthy adult who unsuspectingly allowed the chickenpox virus to incite a rebellion in my left thigh after years laying dormant somewhere in the nervous system, which I now know to be residing on my left leg.
It all started with a dull ache on my left thigh. I never really gave much thought about it. It was the kind of ache where you might get it if you overly strain yourself while you are doing exercises, or you might have slept in an uncomfortable position, leaving your leg tight and a little cramp.
But somehow the pain never got away. It become more pronounced over the week to the point where I had difficulty sleeping. The pain started shooting from my left thigh and toward my buttock and hips. And the shooting pain obviously originated from the nerves. It was like the nerves on my left thigh were indiscriminately sending waves of pain signals to my brain, telling that brains that something was wrong, when physically, I knew there was nothing wrong with it. I had no bruises, I did not recall any prior injury that I had in recent days that I might have acquired. Nothing.
After about a week, one fine morning as I woke up from bed reeling from the pain, rashes started to appear on my left thigh. I thought to myself; this cannot be a coincidence. Something sinister must be happening to my left thigh. Throughout the week tolerating the pain, I had no fever, no feelings of nausea or loss of appetite. I was fine. The only thing that was truly bothering me at that time was my leg.
The day the rashes appeared, was the day I started having difficulty walking due to the incessant waves of piercing pain that I felt every few seconds or so. That was the moment I decided to see the doctor. A visible clinical manifestation that appeared out of the blues in an area of the body where you felt pain for the past week is something that a doctor easily diagnosed.
And diagnosed he did, in 2 minutes. Classic symptoms of shingles. Rashes turning to blisters that looks like chicken pox on one side of the body in a concentrated area, coupled with pain in the nerves. Classic varicella zoster infecting the nervous system.
The doctor gave me a anti-viral cream to apply twice a day, two types of painkillers depending on how much you were suffering from the pain at any given moment and 7 days worth of anti-viral pills, which I must consume 10 pills a day for 7 days!
I am midway through recovery now. The blisters have regressed and the redness of the skin is no more. All that is left now are the scabs over where the blisters originally were. The pain has subsided for most parts but I still feel a general weakness of my left thigh, and a dull ache when I walk. I guess some form of nerve damage has occured and it might take a while for the pain to full go away and make a full recovery.
I have a follow-up appointment with the doctor to see how well I have recovered. I should be given a clean bill of health and back to work at the end of the coming week.
I have a lot of things to do when it comes to work, but I am trying really hard to just stay relaxed and take things one at a time. No point fretting and worrying about work and stressing about it all the time. I do not want shingles to happen again. I need to just chill the hell out and focus on my recovery and well-being.