It started as a toothache. Several days later canker sores started popping up in his mouth. Then a strange sensation in the skin on his left cheek. And finally a lesion. But even then the doctors weren’t sure. Saturday (November 7) they put him on an antibiotic for cellulitis. But more lesions broke out over the weekend, spreading to the upper lip, all across his cheeks, up to his eye, over to his ear, along part of his nose. The pain was excruciating. On Monday the doctors diagnosed shingles and put him on an antiviral and a narcotic pain reliever.

It kept getting worse. We were worried about his eye so the doctor sent us to an eye doctor on Tuesday. The eye was okay. Pretty sure Wednesday was the worst day, at least to look at him. Then Wednesday afternoon the virus attack seemed to turn a corner – it stopped getting worse. The antiviral and antibiotic seemed to be gaining the upper hand. He suggested I put his picture on my blog. Seriously? Yes. But I cannot bring myself to do it.

11.10.15 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina
11.10.15 ~ Katie likes to peek behind the shower curtain every morning. Her pediatrician says it’s all right for her to come visit Grandpa for Thanksgiving, as long as she doesn’t touch the lesions.

How about a picture of Katie instead?

(I had no problem grossing out our kids, though, sending them daily mug shots of their long-suffering father…)

Since Wednesday the swelling has been going down very slowly. Yesterday he stopped taking the narcotic and seems to be managing the lingering pain with ibuprofen and aspirin. But he still has horrible crusted lesions all over one side of his face, and pronounced fatigue. We’re wondering what kind of scarring he might be left with.

I hope this will be it for Tim this year. He’s had more than his share of trouble. Four bouts of diverticulitis, physical therapy for muscle pain in his legs, cataract surgery in both eyes. I don’t know how we ever managed to squeeze in a trip to Europe and a trip to Cape Cod between all that!

22 thoughts on “shingles”

  1. Sorry to hear about Tim, I heard of a lady recently who had shingles, within the last few days…my mum had shingles a couple of years ago….prayers for a speedy recover, love from Tai

    1. Thank you, Tai. I guess shingles is more common than I realized – they say one out of three people will get it. Your poor mum! Was it on her face? Apparently there is a vaccine but it is very expensive and doesn’t always work.

      1. shoulder areas and under arm, I think the upper body is usually affected, her cousin had the shingles only on her scalp so I think it varies just a little, my son’s friend had shingles when he was a teen, think its caused by the chickenpox virus, the doc prescribed codeine which was too strong and too high a dose, so think she halved what she was asked to take after a while…love to you both

        1. It sounds like no matter where on the body shingles breaks out it will be painful. At first Tim was taking two Vicodin at a time, but then he was able to get by with one. He stopped for a couple of days but then decided to start taking it again because of the pain. We have to be patient – it’s going to take a while to heal. Just refilled the anti-viral meds – he has to stay on those until the scabs fall off. It does look like super-sized chicken pox… Love and blessings to you, too, Tai!

  2. Acupuncture and a visit to the holistic doctor were instrumental in helping a cousin deal and get over the shingles. Good luck.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion, Cynthia. Our sister-in-law found acupuncture very helpful for pain in her knee. If Tim has any residual pain from this illness we might give it a try.

  3. Oh my, what a year he’s had. Shingles is known to be very painful, but I’m happy he’s improving slowly. I hope he’ll feel MUCH better by Thanksgiving so he can enjoy the visit of darling Katie. All good wishes!

    1. Thank you, Tiny! So very painful, by all accounts. After 24 hours without the narcotic he decided he needed to continue with it after all. Can’t rush the healing… Knowing Katie will be coming is a tonic for both of us. 🙂

  4. The “Like” is for the picture of Katie. I’m so sorry Tim has had such a rough year. I had shingles a few years ago, and I know how awful it is. I hope he’s feeling better now, and that he stays well for a long, long time. He’s had more than his share of illness this year.

    1. Hi Robin – I’m so glad you liked the picture of our little Katie. 🙂 She is our ray of sunshine, someone sweet to think about when the going gets rough… So sorry you had to endure an attack of shingles, too. What a nightmare! Thank you so much for your well wishes.

  5. Shingles certainly ain’t fun; I’ve had it and it was a nasty surprise. Hopefully he’ll have a quick recovery and won’t get it again.

    1. Thank you, hcyip. Yes, a “nasty surprise” well describes this situation. Of all the things I’ve worried about this past year, shingles was not even on my radar screen.

  6. My father had shingles, and it was quite hellish. But he survived it with no scarring. The commercials say that if you’ve had chicken pox, you have the shingles virus already wandering around in your system. I had the pox when I was in my twenties. So…lovely.

    Hoping Tim is all healed!

    1. Thank you, Aubrey!

      Viruses are such interesting infective agents. My father was a microbiologist and spent his adult life studying them. When I was a child my parents deliberately exposed me to chicken pox because they assured me that it caused more suffering to get it as an adult. When you said you got it in your twenties I remembered this. When I came down with it other children were brought to me to be exposed.

      When my daughter was seven weeks old her brothers, ages 3 and 5, came down with chicken pox. Her pediatrician said she shouldn’t get the virus because I was nursing her and my immunity would protect her. But she did get it! Just a few little poxes and one big one on that tiny little body. Of course my father found this all very fascinating…

  7. Good grief, I hope that Tim is recovering well from this! My father-in-law had shingles a few years ago, but he didn’t suffer from anything ever near to what you are describing poor Tim has been through. PS ~ I ” liked” this post, the like being for Katie. Hasn’t she grown? 🙂

    1. Tim’s coming along but still has enough pain to require the narcotic. The lesions are looking better. It may take another couple of weeks for the virus to run its course. Katie is growing so fast – we simply cannot wait to see her tomorrow! (I’m sure there will be more pictures showing up on the blog soon!) 🙂

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