You won’t believe the amount of pain and discomfort I am in right now. And people tell me it’s only the beginning. Oh no, what am I in for?
About 6 days ago, I noticed a very sharp pain at my lower left rib cage. It was so temperamental, it just struck me at any random time it wanted to. Honestly, I was scared. So I started searching online for possible causes of this mysterious pain. Stuff that came up were scarier than what I would have expected. Pancreatic cancer, stomach ulcer, stomach cancer, etc. I thought I was going to die.
About 2 days later, I noticed a red insect bite-like mark where my left rib cage ends below. It wasn’t all that itchy from what I remember, so I kinda ignored it. Didn’t even think it had anything to do with the pain. I also noticed similar marks on the same side of my back. The only thing I could think of was that some stupid insect must have gotten trapped around me and started biting me frantically out of panic (or hunger, or whatever).
The pain from my left rib cage slowly moved to my abdominal area and then to my lower back. It came to a point where it was so bad that moving around was difficult. Walking would hurt back and cause sharp pain in my abdominal area, lying down would make me cramp all over, sneezing or coughing sent the sharpest pain into my left rib area.
I woke up one day, in the midst of all that, to fever and chills, which I thought was completely unrelated as well. But because everything put together was so unbearable, I decided I had to see a doctor. I was prepared for him to send me straight to the hospital for an X-ray, and I was prepared to hear the worst of news.
When it came to my turn at the clinic, I was glad to see that the doctor seemed legit enough. I’m slightly paranoid now, since my last doctor prescribed me two types of medication that should not, by all means, be taken together. That resulted in continuous vomiting and diarrhea, and landed me in hospital because it left me dehydrated and with a temporarily dysfunctional kidney. What a nightmare! I swear I could have filed a lawsuit against that incompetent doctor. Pfft!
Anyway, I told the doctor about the abdominal pain/cramps and the backache. Thank God, I decided to just let him know about the red marks too. He looked at them and almost instantaneously said, “problem solved! You have Shingles!”
It’s not anything to be happy about, but he sounded happy, so I guess I was kinda relieved, even though I had no clue in this world what shingles was. He did say I was at the early stages of it, which did freak me out a little. I mean, what’s going to happen next? What are the later stages going to be like? I already feel like my body is breaking down on me and it’s actually going to get worse?
He sent me out of his room and charged me S$80+ for a less-than-5-minute consultation plus some Acyclovir to help manage the shingles. Conman!
Went home and did some research, since the doctor was pretty useless at that, and realised that I was yet to face hell. The red marks, fever, chills, headaches, abdominal pain, back pain, and fatigue were all symptoms of shingles, and there are a lot more to come.
It’s been about 3 days since I saw the doctor and about a week since I started noticing some of the symptoms. Shingles is said to last up to 4 weeks and the red marks will grow in numbers from the mid front to the spinal cord at the back (all on the left side of my body), and they will start to appear as spots and grow into becoming itchy and painful blisters/sores that will gradually burst at the later stages. It sounded so scary, but friends have been contacting me ever since I made my shingles public over a tweet. Apparently, shingles is pretty common and a lot of my friends have gone through it before. Well, all of them have told me it’s going to hurt like hell.
Brace yourself, Vanessa! You’re in for a ride of a lifetime.
It’s not contagious to those who’ve had chicken pox in the past, and it’s not contagious to those who haven’t, as long as we don’t touch. *MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This is playing in my head now* Not airborne, guys. So relieved by that. And I’m so relieved that it’s just shingles and I’m not going to die. Phew!