Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doctor talk

On Wednesday, as long as I was at the doctor's office, I decided to get my shingles vaccine.  See, when you had that case of chicken pox back in the 2nd grade, you got over the symptoms, but the virus took up residence in your nerves, hiding behind the tangles of synapses, playing poker with the cold sore virus while they waited to mature.  Herpes simplex can re-errupt as a cold sore, or as sores on other moist, tender parts.  And chicken pox can come back as shingles - a burning, itching, torment that can, at worst, cause permanent nerve damage.  (The old myth that, if the shingles that appear on your waist get so bad that they completely encircle you, you will die, is not true.  It happened to my mom, and she lived another 50 years.)

Having observed this burning, itching torment, I decided to avoid it if possible. I was a grownup and got my shot.  Of course, I studied all the possible side effects first, but I forgot that they would couch it in doctor talk.

You know, when you are having a pelvic exam, and the doc says, "You may feel a twinge," and the next thing you know, you have tears rolling down your face and there are dents where your hands were clenching the sides of the cold metal table?  Twinge.  Right.

Or, during the colonoscopy, he says, , "You may experience some discomfort." And then you would scream like a little girl if only you could get enough breath?  Discomfort.  exactly.

So the possible reactions to a shingles vaccine include ". . .some temporary reddening and itching at the injection site."  This swollen, hot, tender spot about the size of a demitasse saucer and red as an aroused babboon's butt - this locus for a desire to grab the steel brush off the grill and SCRUB, this sensation that has gone on for 35 hours now, is a "temporary reddening and itching."  At least I didn't get the ". . .giant hives, throat swelling shut, and fever of 103."  If they say THAT in doctor talk, what must it really be like?

When my mom had shingles, the doctor came to our house twice a day for a week and gave her a shot to keep her sedated. Since I'm just experiencing "mild discomfort" I get by with hot packs (to short out all sensation in the area!) and focusing on other things.  I am listening to Terry Pratchet's book, "I Shall Wear Midnight" and sewing.  Pictures soon.


  • At 8:30 AM , Blogger LA said...

    I had NOT heard about the possible side effects of the vaccine!!! That's very interesting......

  • At 8:35 AM , Blogger Willow said...

    I don't want to see a picture of the swollen red itchy meant the can you walk around OFFF?

  • At 10:42 AM , Blogger Orice said...

    You're so right about "Doctor's Talk". Get over those symptoms quickly and show pictures soon. LOL

  • At 10:57 AM , Blogger mplanck said...

    OMG, Roxie. You poor thing! I thought about a shingles vaccination but was told if you hadn't had chicken pox it could be very bad for you. I couldn't remember if I'd had the C. pox or not, so by-passed it. Sure hope you're feeling much, much better.

  • At 2:48 AM , OpenID Barb said...

    Oh, Miss, R. Your timing is wondrous. I just wrote a blog about shingles, but it won't be published until Oct 17th. Until then, I'll enjoy listening to your stories. Just remember what you're feeling is a faint shadow of the complete package of maladies. (I speak from experience). You're to be congratulated for getting the shot. More chocolate icecream for you.

  • At 10:16 AM , Blogger Rose Lefebvre said...

    I always hated when they would downplay the side effects.
    "This will sting a bit" meant it was gonna hurt like crazy. "We only need a little blood" meant they were feeding very hungry vampires in the back room. "It might make you a little nauseous" really means you will be up for 24 hours puking your guts out. "May make you sleepy" really means I will be sleeping like a drunk for 24 hrs."You may observe a slight change in color of your stool" means your shit will look like you ate an alien.

  • At 1:16 PM , Blogger KnitTech said...

    Nope, no shingles for me. (Not ready for this adult stuff...)

  • At 8:35 AM , Blogger Heide said...

    My mom gets shingles breakouts occasionally and they are miserable. I hope that the vaccine works for you!

  • At 4:49 PM , Blogger Wannietta said...

    I love sci-fi/fantasy & tried to get into Discworld a few years back, certain I would love it. I'm going to give it another go one of these days.

  • At 10:20 PM , Blogger Amy Lane said...

    Oh, I've had that colonoscopy moment... "Yes, we were sawing at a polyp but you seemed to be uncomfortable..."

    "Wait-- wasn't I screaming?"

    Because, yanno, that's a SIGN OF DISCOMFORT!

    I hope you feel MUCH better, my darling!


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