Shingles and my mom

My mom began the new year in a quite painful manner.

A few nights ago, she began to feel intense abdominal pain. The pain was so bad that dad rushed her to the hospital, in fear that she was taking a heart attack. Our medical services here on the island are so poor that she had to wait six hours before being examined. If it was a heart attack, she would have died in the waiting room. When she finally got to see the doctor, he was very rude and totally hard to understand. The doctor was an east indian who had little concern for my mom. The nurse who worked with him had to translate for him, and he told my mother that she was wasting his time because all she had was a pulled muscle. He attempted to prescribe VERY strong pain killers, but my mom told him that she would not take those tablets, and would deal with the pain herself. My mom is a very strong woman.

Over the next few days, mom suffered from the pain, and upon examining herself in the mirror, she discovered a very painful rash developing where the pain was. She realized that she had the same painful rash her mother had many years ago, a rash linked to chicken pox, Shingles.

Upon realizing this, she once again visited the doctor to see if her diagnosis was correct. This time she waited seven hours in the waiting room, and finally got to see a doctor. This time the doctor was again from east india, but this time he seemed more courteous than the last ‘doctor’. He said that she was correct and that it was indeed shingles. Mom asked if there was anything he could do for her, and he prescribed some medication (these guys prescribe narcotics at the drop of a hat). When she asked about the medication, he said it was very strong and would help with the pain. She instructed the doctor that her son was a pharmacist, and that she would check with him first. At that, the doctor tore up the prescription and wrote her one for a medication designed particularly for shingles. When she asked if she was contagious, he said he didn’t know, and left the room. Talk about professionalism!

She is home now, the rash has since moved around her body, a painful band of red swollen skin. The medication helps a little, as does the Tylenol that she takes every four hours. There is no cure for Shingles, only time. The research she did online told her that once a person has chicken pox, they are open to contracting Shingles. Apparently if a person who has not had chicken pox in their lives can contract the disease, but if they never had the disease, then they wont catch Shingles from another person. Strange disease that can now be controlled in small children. There is a vaccination available for kids under ten. For now I sincerely hope my mom a quick recovery, I hate seeing her like this.

3 thoughts on “Shingles and my mom

    1. I just spoke to her, (my mom, not Jack Layton’s widow) and she says that she had her first good night’s sleep in two weeks. The rash is beginning to flatten out, which is supposed to be a good sign. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it

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