Friday, July 24, 2009
If Your Roof's Leaking, I've Got Shingles
I've had a skin rash for the last couple of days and since we're leaving on vacation tomorrow, I decided to try to see a doctor.
Fortunately, after calling the clinic from my work place at 8:00 this morning and leaving a message with the receptionist, I received a response in about five minutes. "Come over right away and we'll work you in." Phew! I'd nonchalantly mentioned to the receptionist that the dentist I work for has been seeing all of the dermatologist's children quite frequently over the past few weeks and, in fact, would be seeing Mike Segal this morning. I was willing to use any ammunition I had to get in today. Of course, I also told her we were leaving on vacation tomorrow.
My boss, Dr. Onderak, graciously allowed me to leave work at 8:15 so away I went.
Dr. Segal, the dermatologist, diagnosed shingles right away. I have five affected areas running in a line from the middle of my chest around to the middle of my back. The areas are red and contain several small blisters. Wednesday, I'd asked several pharmacists in town what they thought my problem was and was told eczema, poison oak, an allergic reaction and so on and so forth. Yesterday I bought some allergy capsules and Caladryl Clear lotion per the CVS pharmacist's recommendation. I noticed no improvement this morning which prompted me to try to get in with Dr. Segal today.
Dr. Segal mentioned he hadn't seen me since 1999. I replied that I only have major medical health insurance coverage, thus I don't see any doctors, other than my gynecologist, on a frequent basis. Yes! I said the right thing. He saved me $200 by giving me a grocery bag full of samples of Valtrex to take three times a day until I see him again on August 4th. He gave me a prescription for acetaminophen with codeine for pain which I filled at CVS before I returned to work. So far I've experienced minimal pain, so I may not need it.
I returned to work at 9:45 and popped two of the Valtrex pills right away.
When the rash first appeared, I thought perhaps during my Sunday bike ride with my camera, I'd gotten into some poison ivy or oak when I ventured off the road for a few close-up photos. I almost didn't go to a doctor thinking I could treat my problem with over-the-counter ointments. During my drive to the clinic, I was thinking I'd be paying big bucks to find out what I already knew. Thus, when I heard the word "shingles" I was relieved that I'd listened to my husband's and Dr. Onderak's suggestions to find out for sure what was going on.
As I mentioned in the title of this post, our roof is fine with shingles placed about five years ago. The shingles I've got are useless and hopefully I'll dispose of them ASAP.
A black eye, shingles, I wonder what's next...