Monday, October 20, 2008

False Alarm? It seems so. No shingles. Thank Goodness!

All week I have waited somewhat anxiously for my episode of shingles to progress in the standard way. Each morning I awoke, expecting to be in pain but was not. I inspected the area of the rash and the lesions but they didn't seem to be getting worse. In fact after a few days they seemed to be getting a bit better. By Saturday I was convinced that this was not shingles but wanted medical confirmation.

My doctor's office provides a walk in clinic on Saturday morning, staffed on rotation by one of the seven physicians in the practice. People are seen in order of arrival instead of by appointment, so off I went with my book. After reading 100 pages, I finally got to see the doctor who allowed that she did not think it was shingles either. However she said she was too chicken to say stop the antiviral and since it would not hurt, apart from the $135 I had spent on the drugs, I should complete the course, but stop taking the prednisone. Actually I had decided that for myself but it's nice to have your decision confirmed. She said she thought it looked like bites and since it is indeed prime season, spider bites. In fact it does look like bites now that the more generalized inflammation has subsided leaving the lesions more distinct, but since it is on my torso and normally clothed it does seem a rather odd place to be bitten. Still I am delighted that I do not have shingles and I will be getting the vaccine as soon as it is available in Canada next year.

In a way, the whole thing is quite amusing as recently my walking group pals were discussing spiders at lunch. Some of the group were quite afraid of spiders but I said I never worried about them here as I had grown up with some of the most poisonous spiders in the world in Australia. These little charmers, redback spiders were the bane of my existence growing up, as they were everywhere. One of the group at the table was a doctor on sabbatical from Australia who walks with us every Thursday. She talked about how one has to be really careful where you put you hands in Australia, since although their bites are rarely fatal they do cause a very nasty reaction and require medical attention.

Well I don't know if it was a spider who caused my shingle scare and I am still not really worried about spiders. However I am very grateful that it was a false alarm and whatever it was, it was only really uncomfortable for a few days, although the rash and the lesions still linger on.

Of course any conversation about Australian wild life always turns to snakes, again with Australia having some of the most venomous snakes in the world. I thought I'd share this amusing snake story with you which came from my doctor friend that day.

At one point she was working as an emergency room physician and a young couple brought in their 18 month old child along with a dead snake they had found in the child's crib. This is the correct procedure when going for treatment for snakebite, bring in the snake if you can so that correct treatment can be provided.

First things first. The young child was checked very thoroughly but nothing untoward was found. Finally they turned to look at the snake. What did they discover but tiny teeth marks along the length of the snake. Yep, the child had bitten the snake. Whether after its death or had it died from fright at this "savage" treatment, who can say? But besides being ultimately a happy story the ER staff were amazed as well as highly amused and probably have dined out on that story for years.

To those of you who use google reader, I apologize for this post appearing briefly then being taken down. Miss Moggs published a few moments before I put it up so I wanted her post to be on top for at least a day.

Update: Well I don't have the shingles for sure but now I have a pulled groin muscle. Sigh! If it's not one thing, it's another!


Sienna said...

Yes, thank goodness on no shingles, they can be so painful.

We get a lot of redbacks around here, usually under things like horse water barrels, so it's a matter of up ending and washing regularly.

Also the occasional white tail spider, (which my Uncle was bitten by when over in South Australia), and put him in hospital.

The snakes we have are Eastern Browns, considered quite poisonous.

I have had some fortunate episodes with snakes and spiders, I do dream of places like Ireland sometimes, no snakes and all that, it was a real shock to realise our country was so deadly, but how is this statistic, (and isn't it ironic!), the animal that causes the most deaths and injuries in this country is:
The HORSE!!!!

I think followed by dogs?
Statistically speaking.


Moggs Tigerpaw said...

So glad it was not shingles. Now you have to figure out how the critters got to you to avoid a repeat.

Carver said...

HI JMB, I'm glad it's not shingles but sorry about the spider bites and the pulled groin muscle. It's funny because I didn't worry about spider much, where I live, until a woman at work was bitten by a black widow spider in bed and was hospitalized for a long time. Strange what can happen. I hope you will feel better soon and take care of that pulled muscle. I know that hurts! As ever, Carver

mhr said...

Hello, jmb! :)
I loved the snippet about the bitten snake! ... kids rule! :)

Rositta said...

I too am waiting for the vaccine since I saw my mother sufferer terribly. Even though she got the anti viral drugs it was too late and I think it was the beginning of her decline. Glad to hear it wasn't shingles for you...ciao

jmb said...

Hi Sienna, it's no fun living with the spiders and the snakes but those horses you definitely have to be careful of. And the dogs.

Thanks Moggs, I still have no idea how the spider/s, if it was spider/s got inside my clothes to give me such a good chewing.

Thanks Carver, me too. I guess the farther south you go the more likely there are to be poisonous spiders. No black widows here thank goodness. Well that I know of.

Hi Mhr, long time no see. I thought the snake story amazing so wanted to share, even though it had nothing to do with my story.

Hi Rositta, I'm sorry about your mother. It seems Shingles strike many at a time in their lives when they are least able to deal with the disease and it does cause huge havoc in their lives.

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

Ian Lidster said...

I am so happy for you about the shingles.

Ellee Seymour said...

I'm glad it was a false alarm. And I'm not as brave as you, I wouldn't want to get too close to one of those spiders.

Devonshire Dumpling said...

I'm so pleased it is not shingles but as to spiders!!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, glad it's not shingles, which is so painful and horrible. ANY spider scares me to death!

jmb said...

Thanks Ian, you and me both.
Thanks Ellee, who knows if it was a spider but it certainly was something.
Thanks DD but I still don't worry about spiders here.
Thanks Welshcakes, I don't like the poisonous ones for sure.
Thanks all for visiting and commenting.

jams o donnell said...

I'm glad that you don;t have shingles jmb. Do you get the Brown Recluse spider in your area?

jmb said...

Thanks Jams. No we don't they are more to the south in the USA, need a warmer climate and for some reason not past the Rockies. Nasty little beasties, those ones.

Cathy said...

Oh, I am happy it wasn't shingles. But, saying that, I'm also not crazy about spider bites either. If given my choice I would certainly opt for shingles over some spider bites. The most physically ill I have ever been was after a brown recluse spider bite. It was like the flu x 100. It went on and on (months) and seemed like it would never go away. Eventually I had to have IV antibiotics and there are still nasty scars on my skin where this spider bite caused so much damage. It literally destroyed the skin.

Thankfully this must not have been what bit you.

Gian said...

If you surfer from shingles, the shingles home remedy is one way you can do to cure shingles fast.
Home remedy for shingles is the treatment that naturally and almost without of side effect.
One of the most beneficial Shingles Natural Home Remedy is the oatmeal bath. Baths are great because you can soak your entire body underwater. Plus, good quality oatmeal blended up and added to a bathtub can stop itchiness, burning, pain and has a healing effect on the blisters.