Three Saturdays ago I woke up with a pain in my left hip. As those of us over 40 often do, I blamed it on sleeping wrong and waited for the pain to work its way out. It didn't. It hurt Saturday. And Sunday. I couldn't sit or lay down without pain. I had a bruise in the area where it hurt so I assumed I probably had run into something and hurt the tissue a little deeper than normal. Being a nurse, the last to seek help, I avoided doing anything about it because
A. I had already self-diagnosed myself with a deep tissue injury, nothing can be done for those
B. I would go to the doctor on Wednesday, when my time off started, if it wasn't better. As I stated, being a nurse has made me seek medical help as a last resort because our self diagnosis skills are so good. Plus, going when I had to work just made things more complicated.
To which my husband shook his head and scolded me, "You need to go to the doctor."
I will, Wednesday. Surely, it will be better.
I started losing sleep. There was no comfortable position accept standing and tylenol wasn't even coming close to taking the edge off.
Wednesday morning I went to the doctor. I couldn't sit in the waiting room, I couldn't sit or lie on the examining table. I was sure I would have to have an X-ray. The pain was on the hip joint, the bruising was still there, yet when the doctor came in and took a glance at the red area two inches above the joint she said, "Oh no, you're not going to like this."
Ugh. You don't want to hear those words coming from your doctor.
She checked out my range of motion in the hip, it was fine, and then said, again, "You're not going to like this. It's shingles."
So, I texted my husband who was in the waiting room, Shingles.
Crap, he texted back.
On the way to the Pharmacy to pick up the antiviral my doctor prescribed and the blessed pain pills, we joked that I would be going to the theater stoned the next day.
Sidebar: A couple months ago I bought two tickets to see Wicked on tour. It was a gamble to get them and expect my husband would go, as it is hunting season and the rut would be on his brain. But he said that October 22nd would be the last possible day it would be safe for him to go and if I wanted to go he would be available to go with me (roll eyes and mutter, brother).
So, back to my shingles story.
We joked about me being stoned, but at least I would be able to ride the 90 minutes in the car and sit for the show, I hoped.
The pharmacist told me the side effects of the anti viral had been found to be minimal and I shouldn't have any problem. Did I need to take them with food? I asked. You can, he said, but you shouldn't need to. Just in case I did, we stopped at the grocery story so I could take them with crackers. I was able to get three doses in by the time I went to bed. The pain meds were kicking in and I was good to go.
Until I woke up in the middle of the night more nauseous than I have ever been. In. My. Life. The thought of eating anything, let alone a cracker so I could take a pain pill - Shingles hurt, bad; the stories are true I can testify to that - made me so sick I didn't know what I was going to do. By 8 in the morning, the day of the Wicked show, I was so sick, there was no way I could be better to make it to the 2:00 matinee.
My husband tried to find someone to use the tickets, but on that short notice, on a Wednesday of all days, there was no one.
We were going to eat the tickets, that is if I could get past the nausea.
By midday, when we got in touch with the doctor to see if I could have something for nausea, she told me to stop taking the antiviral. (Oh yeah, on the medication handout it said there is a chance of an adverse reaction of nausea, vomiting, headache, and diarrhea. I had the first three. #4, or would that be #2, was probably just a matter of time).
Once the antiviral got out of my system and the pain meds were working, I was feeling pretty good. It wasn't easy to sit or wear underwear even, but I was doing better.
Five days later, feeling better and lamenting we were not able to see Wicked, I took a chance and emailed my sad shingles story to the venue hosting Wicked. I asked if there was some way, anyway I could exchange my unused tickets for any unsold seats in the remaining performances. I would even provide documentation from my doctor if needed. (Surely someone has tried to use this story to say they couldn't go). They promptly responded and said although they couldn't replace the Wicked tickets they would gladly send two passes to another upcoming event (non Broadway) in the future.
I said that would be lovely.
Then I thought, well, why not ask Wicked themselves? What could it hurt? The worst they could say was, "No."
So, I found the email for THE Wicked, on Broadway, in New York City and emailed them my sad Shingles story. To which they contacted the venue, who contacted me again and said I could exchange my tickets for unsold tickets for the Oct.31 show!
So, hubs and I got to the venue 2 1/2 hours early, and got BETTER seats then the original tickets I had purchased.
My shingles outbreak may or may not be responsible for someone who had been standing in this long long when we got there, 2 1/2 hours before the show, to hopefully get tickets. If it was you, I'm so sorry.
We had a great time, the show was awesome and all is well. The little bit of the antiviral I got seems to have suppressed an extended run of the shingles. The rash is fading and the pain is very minimal.
So, if I got testy and sassy in the last few weeks here or anywhere, please accept my apology. Pain affects us in more ways than one.
Moral of the story -
1. If you're a nurse, don't self diagnosis, at least get a second opinion, a doctor's is preferred.
2. Never assume it's over. Nice words do go a long way, and if one answer is no...but, the next answer may be Sure!
3. Always good to have proof. I didn't have to have documentation to prove my plight, but I did bring it along just in case.
And most importantly,
4. There are still really nice people in this world who care even though they have never met you.