The time I basically diagnosed myself with scabies, but had shingles instead.

We spent our spring break in Denver with Jake's brother Parker, his boyfriend Preston, Jake's parents, and for two nights, Jake's cousin Kory. And last, but not least, Parker and Preston's dog, Amelia. It was a great trip that included lots of yummy food (I LOVE City O' City in Denver), fun sights, lunch with my cousin Kalli in Golden at a Nepalese restaurant, and perfect weather. 

One of my favorite things about the trip was the facts that we all stayed in P&P's one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. It was actually more roomy than you're probably imagining because, 1. The apartment is laid out really well, and 2. One whole wall in their living room and one whole wall in their bedroom (so pretty much the entire outside wall of their apartment) is made up of huge sliding glass doors that lead out to a generous balcony - the same balcony on which Kory slept in a sleeping bag (on purpose in below freezing temperatures) his first night with us. They live on the ninth floor, and the views of the mountains are great. Why was staying together in their apartment my favorite part? I like getting all up close and personal with people. 

We got to Denver on Monday evening, and when I went to take a shower Tuesday morning, I noticed a cluster of eight-or-so blisters high on my left leg. After a day or two, I got to work on Google trying to figure out what it was. I was convinced it must be scabies, and I was mortified because I was also convinced I got it after trying on swimsuits the weekend prior. There was one major exception. It didn't itch. At all. But it was progressively hurting worse each day. When we were on our way home on Friday, there was a rash in addition to the blisters. I contemplated going to urgent care on Saturday, but decided to wait until I could get into my doctor. I called first thing this morning, but before I did, I spent a little more time Googling, and that's when Shingles crossed my radar. It seemed likely, but even though I know people my age can get it, I still associate it with a condition of the elderly. When I got ahold of the scheduler, my doctor was booked, but since wearing clothes had become torturous, I opted to see one of her associates. 

I took Cora to school, returned home and slipped into some loose fitting running shorts (the kind with built-in undies), and Magnolia and I headed to my appointment. Magnolia was very helpful, even warning me that I might get a shot. After we went through the progression of the blisters and the rash, and the pain (oh, the pain), and upon looking at the first set of crusted over blisters (I have two patches), it was pretty obvious that I definitely have shingles. I've never been so relieved and so disappointed that I didn't have scabies. (Disappointed because I have shingles instead. Relieved because I don't have to be forever repulsed by trying on clothes - and because who wants scabies?)

The good news is that it's a mild case. The bad news is that it's best to start the anti-viral medication within 24-48 hours after the blisters appear. I missed that with my first little crop, which is the most severe, but he gave me the anti-viral medicine in hopes of lessening the severity of the newest little string of about 6 blisters. And usually all blisters are present 3-5 days after the first ones appear, so I should be dealing with all that I'll have to. The other less than pleasant news was that missing that magic window of time makes me more susceptible to postherpetic neuralgia - continued pain long after the rash is gone. 

I spent tonight looking up transmission rates for shingles and was delighted to find that I won't need to write personal apologetic notes to everyone I've come into contact with. You can can only get the virus that causes shingles through direct contact with the contents of the blisters, and even then, the virus isn't transferred as shingles, but as chicken pox - and only to someone who has never had chicken pox nor the chicken pox vaccine. Phew. Mine are all kinds of under wraps. Even though I'd like to figure out how to make wearing my swimsuit everywhere for the next few weeks appropriate. I will probably be wearing my one pair of "old school" running shorts (I've switched to mostly compression shorts for running) as much as I can. They lessen the intense pain, which I'm happy for, even though there is always a dull pain (more than an ache), with intermittent sharp, stabbing pain to shake things up a bit. And even though clothes are my new enemy number 1, I'm glad shingles didn't decide to show up on a super exposed part of me like my face or hands. 

For your viewing pleasure:
This is the first [worst] section.

And look how gigantic my anti-viral pill is:


  1. Hope you're better soon. I've had shingles too. Miserable.

    1. How long did yours last? And I'm sorry that you ever had to go through this too.

  2. Oh BrieAnn, I'm sorry that you're experiencing that. I've heard that shingles are really not fun. I am glad that it wasn't scabies though. Neither option sounds pleasant though, I think I'd like a third option that is far less awful!

    1. Yes! Minus the occasional searing pain, I am also glad it is not scabies. Option number three: let's see.... aside from wishful thinking that I had nothing at all, flee bites, perhaps? Somehow that feels preferable to scabies, and far less painful than shingles. ;)



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