Well, you have all heard the phrase "I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy" So what would you wish on them? I discovered the answer to this question during a school trip to Seville at the end of January this year.
I travelled with a young colleague Vee (she was in secondary school with my youngest daughter). We were to spend five days with our partner schools in Seville. We flew to Malaga and then took the train the rest of the way.
I had a nagging toothache and assumed I was in for a bout of sinusitis, triggered by the flight. It is something I suffer from regularly "It's the problem of having a long narrow nose" says my doctor. So I headed for the nearest pharmacy. Perhaps it was the language barrier, but I couldn't get my usual Nurofen + (It has codeine), it is what works best for me. All I could get was paracetemol and a saline nasal wash. Now I won't get into that but it isn't fun!
I didn't have time to be sick! I'm project co-ordinator, there were blue skies to be enjoyed and the fun of meeting up with friends made on previous trips. A real bonus in January.
The paracetemol was useless. It was like eating smarties. After a sleepless night, the school principal gave me ibuprofen. This was more like it I thought but each dose only gave me about an hours relief at most. I will admit to taking more than the recommended dosage. What can I say? I'm like a baby when it comes to toothache. I rather go through childbirth anytime! I gave birth to a 5.5kg baby and it didn't knock a feather out of me.
Travelling into the centre of Seville on the metro, I was desperately looking at the waste bins in the stations. Would I be able to jump off in time and be sick into one of them if necessary? I could have gone back to the hotel but that would have meant missing out on the horse carriage ride around the city. I needn't have worried.. It's like being out with boy scouts. Their motto "Be prepared" Jane, the English principal spotted me looking green and asked was I ok. I shook my head. She calls out, anyone got a plastic bag for Mary? What can I say, we were on a school trip, with a group of teachers! One was produced in seconds. I managed not to "toss my cookies" I spared myself that indignity. Once I got out into the fresh air I felt much better and the palace and the carriage ride was worth the trip. Photos of that later!
The pain was getting worse instead of better and no matter how much pain relief I took it didn't build up in my system, Maybe it was an abscess. With a full programme, there was no time to see a dentist in Spain. I rang home on Friday and asked Hubbie to make a dental appointment for me on Monday after I got home. If I had a time, it would give me something to cling on to. This dreadful pain would end. But I was out of luck, the dental surgery closed early on Friday. I would have to ring Monday morning.
In the meantime, one of the English teachers had had a kidney stone the previous week and she had some strong painkillers leftover. She swore by them and insisted I take them. She slept through the night after taking them. I was becoming a real druggie. I got an hour and a half's sleep!
The next morning I had a hot shower and soon after I began to feel some relief. I was back to self diagnosing again. Sinusitis. An abscess wouldn't ease. To make a long story short, I got home on Sunday evening, weepy and exhausted but glad to see my own bed and my Nurofen Plus. Monday morning I got up and went to school. I felt so washed out at the end of the day I decided to go to the doctor and see if he would give me a cert for a couple of days.
I told him I thought I had sinusitis again and described my symptoms. The worst was over now I thought I was told to open up. He noticed some blisters on the roof of my mouth. Yes I told him, I had some mouth ulcers they had appeared the previous day. Not mouth ulcers I was told, intra oral shingles. Ha! drama queen strikes again. Everyone else gets "normal" shingles on their body. I get "atypical" shingles in my mouth. I think maybe God was trying to tell me to shut up!
Anyway, I spent the next two and a half months out of work. The shingles cleared but I was left with post herpetic neuralgia and the drugs to cure that were almost worse than the pain leaving me dizzy and feeling lightheaded. But at least I now had an official reason to be an airhead. Thankfully, all of this has now passed. I'm back to work and while I still tire more easily than I used I feel my energy returning.
So now I know what I would wish on my worst enemy, the shingles. It's not life threatening - so I don't haveto have major guilt issues - but it will make them uncomfortable for quite a period of time! What would you wish on your worst enemy?
A harrowing story. What you went through - the pain, discomfort, drugs, and especially being in a foreign country - serves as a warning, and a reminder, that I have to get that shingles vaccination that I've been putting off.ReplyDelete
Absolutely right Penny! As a nurse I should also know better, and haven't had one either.Delete
Didn't know I should have one! But in a way the shingles was a blessing in disguise. I was feeling burnt out and coming to the end of my tether. The two and a half months enforced rest gave me time to take stock, to recover my equilibrium as well as my health. It was not a serious illness just a "pain in the face":-))Delete
Oh my - so glad you're feeling better and have come back to us.ReplyDelete
Thanks Thom. I'm glad to be back.Delete
Mary! I've been missing you and wondering what had happened. How awful! I am so very glad you are feeling better, and it's wonderful to see you online again. Can't wait to see your photos!ReplyDelete
Thanks Cath. I haven't taken to many photos but I'm off to Norway next month so hopefully loads of photo opportunities. Not sure how I'm going to get up those mountains for the views though. Hubbie will have to give me a piggy back.Delete
Oh Mary, I get shingles in my eye each time I let myself get too run down, so if there is a silver lining to your suffering it's that you at least know the warning signs now. Glad you're back and can't wait for the pictures of Norway. Take care of yourself. xReplyDelete
Oh dear Lucy, poor you! I hope I'm not going to get it again. As I said it is not serious but it is a pain!Delete
I am so sorry that you had to go through this! I have to admit that I had never heard about shingles...it sounds awful. Take it very easy now that you are better!ReplyDelete
. . a fate worse than death! Pleasurable read with other people's pain being so much better than one's own!ReplyDelete
Just found your blog (via Annie in Bodrum) and have enjoyed wandering back through some of your posts.
Welcome Alan, glad you've enjoyed what you read.Delete
Hi Mary, well written and great to read, some photos would have been nice to cover the visual part. But I´m glad to hear you are back on track again. Best wishes from Kerry, regards MichaelReplyDelete
Had some photos planned to upload them at a later date. Will get around to it sometime.Delete