T + 697 All that blisters..... (PG)

.....is not bold? Ok not a great tag line but my internal sub-editor couldn't resist the alliteration.

Oh I should say that this post is rated Potentially Gruesome for pictures of shingles.

This time last week I was blogging about my admittance to hospital with shingles. Well for those of you who have not heard by other means such as Twitter, Facebook or the Intermom (that special network of mothers that disseminates information between sons, daughters and the friends thereof far faster then the World Wide Web) I was released from hospital on Monday 9th August which was ahead of the schedule I had initially been told.

The reasoning was that we had caught the outbreak early I had had seventy-two hours of intravenous aciclovir and no new lesions had appeared anywhere for forty-eight hours. I was sent home around 14:00 with some gabapentine nerve pain tablets and a ten day course of valaciclovir tablets, which are a form of aciclovir that produce higher levels of the drug in the blood than normal aciclovir tablets.

I was signed off work until the 18th August at least, which is when I have a clinic appointment to review how things are going. I expect I'll be signed off for the rest of that week at least.

The week at home has been ok, I've had quite a bit of pain in the band around my trunk where the shingles are, the area known as dermatome T-8 R as there are eight dermatomes that cover the whole of the trunk of the body, these are the names given to the nerves that run through and "serve" the skin.

The gabapentine does a pretty good job of reducing the pain though it seems to be a universal law that the amount of relief you get from any pain killer lasts about one hour less than the minimum time you have to allow between doses. Thus first thing in the morning and last thing before bed have been the most painful.

Aside from the pain I have felt quite tired and the gabapentine has made me feel really drowsy and fuzzy headed at times during the day. Most noticeably it seems when I hold my focus at a fixed point for any length of time such as when reading. Sounds a little odd I know but having looked round a few patients' websites it seems to have happened to others.

As for the shingles themselves they have, you might say, blossomed but no new areas have appeared, they are all along T-8, but don't take my word for it, see for yourself (you can even click to embiggen and get the full HD experience):-

They still seem to have a way to go before they start crusting over which is the sign the outbreak is over, though it may take weeks for the skin to return to normal. The crusting also means I'm no longer contagious to people who haven't had chickenpox before, pregnant women and people who are immunocompromised.

I could be wrong but I get the impression the valaciclovir is holding the outbreak in check and stopping it spreading but it will have to take its normal course in the area where it started. There is a small chance I may have to go back into hospital to have more intravenous treatment if it does not clear up but I hope it won't come to that.


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