Shingles Followup

04 Jan 2007

Things are gradually improving. I saw my opthalmologist yesterday. I am no longer using the antibiotic gel by day, but at night only, and now I have a different medication for daytime. The vision in my right eye is much clearer without the non-water-soluble gel, so I am able to work at the computer more easily. I am not driving yet, although feel like I will be able to drive again soon.The right eye is no longer noticeably swollen, although if you compare it to the left eye you can still see that the lid is purple and thickened (it sometimes itches a lot), and still does not open quite as wide as the other lid. The white of the eye is a bit red still, but not nearly as red as it was. I have another followup scheduled with the ophthalmologist. There is also a high rate of eye complications following shingles infection, so I am trying to be conservative and follow the ophthalmologist’s instructions exactly!

I am still experiencing a fair amount of pain across my eyelid, forehead, jawline, and especially in my scalp and at the base of my skull. Sometimes an icepack helps with this; last night i could not sleep until I used an icepack for a while. There is a risk that the pain will be lingering or permanent, a condition caled post-herpetic neuralgia, but I am hoping to avoid that outcome!

It has been about sixteen days since my first symptoms. It might have been helpful to go see a doctor at that stage and get on the anti-viral medication a couple of days earlier, although I think it is quite possible a doctor would not have diagnosed shingles yet. It is possible that the second night, when I was unable to sleep, was actually caused by the onset of general pain symptoms, prior to any visible swelling of the eye or any localized stinging in the forehead or scalp. My doctor suggested that the all-nighter may not have been the primary contributor; I may have been fighting off one or more other viral infections for several days before that, since everyone in the household was sick, seemingly with a different sore throat or cold. That might have distracted my immune system enough to allow the virus to run wild. Stress over work, the run-up to the holidays, and generalized sleeplessness due to a misbehaving two-year-old certainly didn’t help.

I am trying to be more aggressive about enforcing an early bedtime for everyone! More sleep and less stress in 2007!

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