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Chicken Pox - Shingles - Bell's Palsy

Date: February 14, 2018

      For a writer and reader — this is hell.

      I want my new book out in print — there is a buzz already.

      This is how it goes. I had, like so many, Chicken Pox as a kid. I had Measles. My kids had Chicken Pox. People believed if one kid had it — run expose the others! Get it out of the way! Although Mumps — treated the same way — had a reason behind that. Older boys and men could be rendered sterile if they caught Mumps at the older age. Having Mumps as a child? Worth it. I was a child in the 1940s and 1950s, graduating high school in June 1960.

      We have Vaccines now. But I also watched that my kids, vaccines or not, still got Measles and Chicken Pox. Mild cases.

      Fast forward a few decades and the TV flashed all these nightmares of horrific Shingles hitting older people who had suffered Chicken Pox as a child. When my younger son was battling Leukemia back in the early 2000s (a fight he lost) — he was hospitalized more than once for little patches of — Shingles.

      A few years later, (2014) terrified of those awful rashes, I saw a post at Walgreen’s screaming, “We have the Shingle Shots,” and I drove right to them and got it. I usually go to CVS.

      I think I am protected. NOT! Seems the shot wasn't quite right. And there’s a new one. But it isn’t out yet. (I will check again because — I want it!)

      Christmas 2017 — while I was on my one more try diet to drop the weight — my calorie reduction lead to a slight drop in immune system function because every one dieting has that happen and catches colds, etc. — and therefore we can’t diet 24/7. I had a rash on my right leg inner calf. Christmas. My son is here. We can’t figure it out. Bug bites? I have — exterminator or not — spiders. My Lanacain had dried up in the tube so I went and found Benadryl Ointment which was great and wore shorts and the rash popped up on the other leg. It went away. I tried not to scratch (I am OCD). It left a reddish shadow on both legs. And yes, they ran when scratched open which tickled my memory. Evidently, not enough. Looking back — this was a mild case of Shingles! Well, at least the vaccine partially worked. Could have been so much worse!

      Just before Valentines Day 2018, I am laboring to get a book out. I am long hours hunched over the computer. Stiff neck? Must have slept wrong. Too many hours at the computer. Dry eye? Especially the right one? Well, ditto the computer, computer glasses or not. I must update my computer classes for that blue light filter. I have soothing eye drops. I use them I continue. I am not putting on make up. I avoid mirrors. I didn’t see. Until Saturday morning (the 10th) when I noticed my eyes were lopsided and my mouth was funny. My whole face is funny. Half my face is not working. I did what any geek does — I ran for the computer.

      Google already has a question for that.

      Bang! Bell’s Palsy. There are other symptoms you need to check but I fit the diagnosis of Palsy.

      A few hours later I got around to calling my doctor’s office. HA HA. Nobody home (Scripps) but after two calls I reach the on-call Nurse. She promptly declared I needed to call 911 — I should not drive — I’ve had a stroke (like hell) — I am outside the window to reverse impairment, and so forth. $12,000 ambulance ride? My fat on display? Oh hell no! I stick a hat on my head and go next door to my neighbor after Facebook-messaging my son. Cell phone was involved. If necessary I WILL drive myself. But I don't know where the ER is!

      The neighbors (man and wife) scooped me up and took me to the ER. Bless them.

      I was upset at the clinic nurse who should have handled that call better. And I haven’t had food and drink all day. I got a straw and I carry a bottle of G2 everywhere but my sneak mini candy bars had run out. (I get low blood sugar and grab a candy and drink Gatorade and I am fine.) No candy meant I was a little shaky.

      The ER desk when I walked up and said that I have Bell’s Palsy cracked up. They were looking at me — I am lucid, I am walking, I am not exhibiting a stroke. They agreed and said I was the cutest case of Bell’s Palsy they had seen. They are squeezing my hands — this is a subtle test — can I squeeze back.? Yes. When you are 76 — they have to check.

      But I am in need of verification — my son said he’d cover anything and I am far from destitute — so we do blood work and I get a CAT scan. I made it into a gown, refused the IV, made it clear I wasn't staying because I have pets even if the neighbor’s volunteered. I cannot sleep without a cat next o me and I get antsy when one of my beagles is at the vet’s for dental work.

      I am not needed to stay. I am confirmed. We do the strength test push pull etc. and I have walked beagles for over eight years. I am lucid if awkward. My mouth is lopsided. Bell’s Palsy. I was right.

      The right eye cannot close. It can’t do anything. I massage it and close it with my fingers. I cover it with a patch — my Boy Scout Medical Kits are endless — I was an Assistant Scout Master and High-Adventure Leader for 11.5 years. I bandaged every leader in the troop. And a few boys.

      The mouth looks Okay — but only one side (left) can smile. Only one eyebrow (left) can rise. Only one eye (left) can close. The facial nerve is inflamed. It runs from the top of your head and down your neck and that explains the stiff neck. The eye unable to blink explains the drops every hour or so.

      I am on anti-viral meds and steroids — which so far have not made me want to eat a side of beef. I was warned. I do need to make sure I have food with those horse pills. I have the eye ointment for artificial tears. I wash my face carefully with steaming hot water. I wash my hands constantly. I slept the first two days. POD book release slowed down. The eBook made the February commit date and is on Amazon. I am wending my way slowly through setting up CreateSpace.

      If my left eye signals it wants to close — it means the right one needs to do so. If the left eye (my weak eye) is tired, I put a patch over the right one. I rest a lot. I rest when I feel tired.

      Took TWO DAYS to get through to my regular doctor. They want to review the hospital records and “set up an appointment.”

      I drink with a straw or dribble. I eat carefully since if food gets on the right side it has to be manually moved to the left. I need to cook all my vegetables. I allow a little carbs for the horse pills but I am keeping my food log and watching the count. I love the Water Pik. I am so happy not to need a bra extender. I will not give that success up! Moderation!

      I am NOT driving on a freeway anytime soon. Drivers out here are insane. The parking lot at the clinic is a bloody nightmare.I drive a Tacoma extended cab 4x4 manual standard bed truck — in a parking structure — and I have a 45-foot turning radius which barely makes the turns. Bitch to park. My Diet doctor (also Scripp’s) has the decency to have a normal parking lot.

      So here’s the book that got interrupted in mid-release. eBook is up.

      And I will get Rollover (Novel) out I promise. Hot Cop #10. Soon as I can read for more than five minutes.





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