Nerves Shmerves

The past month, maybe six weeks, has been a ridiculous period for my body. Now I have plenty of strange crap happening to me on any given day, but those are things that I take pills for daily and don't surprise me anymore. These past four to six weeks, though, have brought about some new twists that, to put it lightly, are fucking annoying.

So, six weeks ago I started having problems with my eye. It was putting on a show for the world by changing through various shades of light pink to deep, blood-red. To those that haven't seen my eye, you missed something impressive. Well, you're missing something impressive. It's still coming and going. I delighted in closing my left eye, that was perfectly fine, and then stare at people with my blood-red eye as though I was placing a hex on them. I have been treating it with medicated drops, but it doesn't seem to be doing a damn thing.

Then, perhaps, a week after starting the grind of putting drops in to exorcise the demon living in my eye I found a bump over my right eye. It didn't itch. It wasn't some large infected pimple. It was just a bump hanging out over my eye, whistling as the ladies walked by. My mom mentioned in passing that the bump looked a bit like one my dad had early in the summer when he had shingles. I'd had shingles four or five years ago, but it was on my torso. I was familiar with the pain associated with having shingles. The day after the bump appeared, I started feeling like absolute shit. I thought I'd caught the vile pig sickness, H1N1 flu. I had no fever though, so not the flu. The flu-like feeling that I was having is a symptom of shingles, however. I also started having radiating pain from the bump back through my scalp. Not really painful, just noticeable. I went to the doctor the next day and was given Valtrex.

A short aside, Valtrex is prescribed to those with herpes. Thanks to the marvels of the internet I discovered that shingles is a form of herpes. It's nothing like the STD version that "herpes" is associated with. It's not even the same virus that causes chicken pox like I thought previously. Maybe it's a mutation, but the internet didn't tell me that.

I finished my run of Valtrex. The bump was gone and no new bumps appeared. Having shingles on the face is nerve-racking because if it spreads to your eye, it could ruin your vision. BUT, no new bumps, so nothing to worry about. Then a week or so after I was done with the Valtrex my neck started to bother me. It was a bit stiff. A similar feeling to having slept funny and waking up with a crick in your neck. I took some Tylenol and had a heating pad on it to loosen up the muscles. Then a week after doing this I woke up and had a searing pain in my neck/shoulder on my right side as I tried getting out of bed. I woke up on my back and had to roll back and forth like a turtle so I could maneuver into a position where I could then stand. The odd thing was that just laying on my back was causing pain as though I had a massive bruise on my shoulder. A few hours later I laid down on the ground and had the heating pad back in place, but this time it just caused the pain to increase. Luckily the effects that Tylenol was having on my body hadn't changed, so I at least found one way to ease the pain.

I was stiff for the rest of the week (last week), experiencing the occasional pain radiating down my arm, but for the most part having a constant pain in my neck/shoulder. Once the weekend rolled around I was starting to feel a bit looser. The more likely scenario was that I had just grown accustomed to the pain, because Sunday morning I made the mistake of stretching upon waking. Immediately I winced and stopped moving, breathing, and thinking. The simple of act of stretching had caused me more pain than I had experienced the entire previous week. It was so much that it made me whimper and nearly brought me to tears. It was quite extraordinary. Unfortunately, it being Sunday, I had no opportunity to see a doctor to see what kind of remedies I could use. Tylenol was able to cut through the fog of pain as well as it was previously.

Today, Monday, I was able to get in to see a doctor and after a quick look through my history she told me that my neck pain was likely caused by lymphatic drainage. I didn't get all the details, but the virus that caused my shingles had built up in my lymph nodes and was now draining out through my nerves, starting at my neck. The radiating pains were now spreading further down my arm and to the middle of my back. I was given an anti-inflammatory to help calm my wild nerve endings. I was also sent to an ophthalmologist to have my eyes checked to be sure the shingles hadn't spread to my eyes and caused any damage. The diagnosis there was the first decent news I'd had in a while; allergies. I was given some drops and told what to look out for in case something should arise.

Now I just have to sit and wait to see if the anti-inflammatory meds do their duty. It should be improving within the week, but if not, I call my doctor and get something else. This entire experience has been interesting, if not annoying. I had a bit of a scare when in the doctor's office and was asked if I had lost any strength or feeling in my right hand. It took me a beat, but I realized that there is a very real possibility of experiencing some nerve damage. I'm fairly certain that I got it early enough, but there's always that slim chance that I waited too long to see someone about my sore neck. Saturday I had a fleeting thought that the neck pain had been related to my shingles, but I never gave it a second thought. I was certain I'd just sprained a muscle.

The pink eye turned out to be nothing, but the sore neck could have caused me some real problems. Isn't it ironic?


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