Novels - Short Stories - Journals

I got SHINGLES - Nine days after my first Moderna shot

April 8

Morning: I woke up with a slight tightness in on my right side and back.

Midday: Forgot about the tightness until midday and my skin is stinging a little to the touch in the same area. It getting more sore and feels like the pain is spreading. I’m going to be 50 tomorrow!

Early afternoon: I feel a little ache, but it doesn’t prevent me from having a full upper body workout including slant board sit-ups.

Evening: Getting tighter. More aching. I changed my workout every quarter so I look over my workout from two days ago and don’t see if I could have worked a new muscle group. Nothing obvious.

Applied a heat pad for 20 minutes and took an Ibuprofen.

April 9

I woke up a little after 3AM with a sharp pain. Cancer? Kidney stones? Searched the internet and I’m leaning toward kidney stones.

5AM I didn’t go back to sleep. Since I’m now an expert on internet kidney cure myths, facts and fiction, I try what seems reasonable. I skip my protein, I drink a glass of water with a couple table spoons of apple cider vinegar and make another for work. I don’t skip the energy drink though because lack of sleep and I’ll get a raging headache tonight when I need to sleep. I will only have one energy drink instead of two today.

My beginning year goals were to drink apple cider vinegar and that lasted about three weeks. I quite because it tastes horrible and I didn’t feel any positive change in my health.

Also, was going to cut to one energy drink. That lasted about two months. I really like energy drinks. I drink two a day. Sometimes one, sometimes three if it’s a Friday or Saturday.

Some nuts can cause kidney stones. I eat a lot of  sunflower seeds and pepita seeds. Are seeds a nut? I used to eat lots of almonds, but as I get older, my teeth with fillings are breaking

10:00 AM - I’m hurting.

11:45 PM – My wife asks how I’m doing. I tell her it’s getting worse but so far I can make dinner.

2:15 PM – My wife asks if I think I need a doctor. This is my first thought it may not be a kidney stone and don’t know how a doctor can tell. My wife guesses by ultrasound. I describe the pain to her as being under my rib cage now. Sharp pain coming and going. She says a blood test will show if I have an infection. I insist I’m not going to skip dinner but just in case, is Saturday an option for a reschedule.

The pain continues to get worse and spread to the front of my belly. The skin doesn’t hurt unless I touch it.

2:45 PM - My wife call my doctor but they are closed on Fridays! My wife calls the redi-clinic and they are not accepting appointments, but they are accepting walk-ins until 6:00 PM.

I leave a little early for work so I can get home and go to the clinic and the local CVS Redi-clinic.

3:00 PM

I leave work.

3:30 PM

I make it home and my wife drives to CVS


I sign in. After 20 minutes I receive a call. I’m in the store so I don’t know where the call is coming from, but it is Covid days so could be anywhere. The person on the line asks for a description of the pain and tells me they don’t have any type of scanning equipment. She can see me and do a workup but if she can’t diagnose then I’ll have to go somewhere with scan equipment. At least I have a quick, honest answer so I can try the next clinic before they close. The website says they close at 6:00 PM.

4:20 – Driving home

We are driving home because we need to wait for my daughter to get off the bus. I call her and ask if she needs to come in the house for anything. She does not so we take the car to the bus stop and wait.

4:40 – Daughter’s bus arrives

There is another clinic close the restaurant where we are meeting family. We can at least be close the restaurant when we finish. However, Friday rush hour traffic is a nightmare, and we have to cross railroad tracks, deal with the potholes, starts and stops. Pain subsides, but always a little higher than the last pain. Each increase in pain is greater than the last. It’s bearable but getting worse so I can’t imagine what tomorrow would be like if I can’t get to a doctor tonight. Starting to wonder if it’s kidney stones because the pain is still in my back as it spreads deep under my belly. The skin is tender to touch but looks normal otherwise.

5:00 PM – Second clinic

We walk up to the counter and ask if they have scanning equipment, X-ray, ultrasound, anything to look inside and see if I have a kidney stone or what. They don’t. Two people waiting tell us to go to the Emergency center on the freeway. They are a full 24/7 emergency center. We are already worried about the price but have no other choice. It’s after 5:00 PM, dinner is at 6:00 PM and I’m in pain.

Now we sit in traffic again because this road is stop go traffic in both directions. At least I don’t feel a bad bump until the railroad tracks.

5:30 PM

We enter the emergency room and I ask for the room charge. She can’t tell me what it is. Is it hourly? Before I can fill out the paperwork I’m called to the back room. My wife and daughter have to wait outside due to Covid protocols even though the state has lifted mandatory masks. My wife is a Respiratory tech, so I could use her with me.

I’m told to go to the restroom and try to pee in a cup. No problem. I exit the door and see six nurses standing around. I comment that I’m going to get a lot of attention with all the nurses waiting. I get a little laugh from them, but it’s a 5:30 shift change.

The first nurse takes me to a room for a “workup”. He asks a few questions about the progress of pain like when it started and where it started. He takes a look but says nothing. As he takes a blood sample presumably to test for infection, we talk about my vein in my left arm being easy to pull the blood.

I’m leaning toward infection because the pain keeps growing. It feels like a muscle above my kidney has been punched several times and as the pain wraps around the right side of my torso to my stomach it feels like someone is using my muscle for tug-of-war. He tosses a few things in the trash and steps back to the tray next to me and out loud says, “Did I toss the blood sample?” He goes back to the trash and sifts through it. I appreciated his honesty and felt bad for him, so I tried to put him at ease. I said, “Well, the blood is in the vial, so it shouldn’t make a difference, right?” He pulls it out of the trash and say, “Yeah.” His face was pretty red as he shows me the vial. Neither of us want to draw blood again. My oxygen is 98. Good.

The nurse says the doctor will be in soon and leaves with the blood sample.

5:45 PM – Everything is moving fast. Dinner will not be too late it seems.

Doctor and nurse come to the room minutes later. The doctor asks me if I have a rash and lifts my shirt. I do not have a rash, but I explain my skin is sensitive to the touch. I’ve told the nurse the pain almost subsides, but when it returns, I would call it a 4 or 5. The reason I’m there is the pain continues to get worse. I don’t know what it could be in a few hours. The doctor pushes on my back, undercarriage, and belly. It doesn’t hurt. He says a kidney stone wouldn’t be tender. He wants a scan. I’m thinking X-ray or ultrasound, but why call it a scan. He wants a freaking CAT scan! Am I in trouble or is he gouging me? Not suspecting an infection because I have no fever.

6:00 PM – IV

Five minutes pass and another nurse comes in. He is there to hook me up to an IV. I ask if that is normal procedure. He says this is a new doctor and he has us IV every patient. All the while I am texting my wife who is a respiratory therapist. She is not a nurse, but the closest thing I have to knowing if this is necessary. It seems excessive. I’m not dehydrated. My wife gets a little concerned and tells me they probably want to get drugs in my system faster, but not before commenting that I must not be able to swallow. Which I can. I see money escaping my pocket. I’m given Ketorolac which is an inti-inflammatory and mild pain reducer.

About 20 minutes pass. The drugs are not working or they are masking greater pain. My wife wants to know the white blood count though I’m told the lab results are good. Should we cancel dinner? Everyone says we should not cancel yet.

6:30 PM – Scan Tech

The CAT Scan tech arrives. He looks at the IV and asked if I needed a wheelchair. Asked if I was dizzy or needed any assistance. I refused and walked on my own. I asked if it was normal to have a scan for a suspected kidney stone because it seems like it’s going to be expensive. He said they check when they are not sure and I don’t have a rash, so they want to have a cross section to see if there is a stone, a blockage, spleen or gal bladder issue. I’m thinking this better not be gas or I’m telling everyone it’s a kidney stone.

The room has a machine about 10 feet wide and 3 feet deep with a hole in the center. There is a padded board about two feet wide, draped with a white blanket. The tech tells me to lay down feet toward the hole. He puts the sheet over me and asks me to pull my pants down to about my knees. I ask him again because I’m thinking if this thing can take scanned slices of my body, why can’t it see through my pants. He catches my hesitation and says he needs the belt to be out of the way. I think of slipping my belt off, but what the hell, I pull my pants down. I leave my underwear up, waiting for him to tell me to pull those down too. He doesn’t.

I lay my head down. I’m face up. He askes me to pull my arms up over my head and rest them back as far as I can. I see an icon of a smiling face and one of a face holding their breath. I’m slid through the hole to almost my neck. A recording takes over telling me to take a deep breath and hold. The breath holding icon lights up. “3, 2, 1, breath” the voice says as I am slowly pulled back through the hole. I heard a whirring as something spins around the inside of the hole and several clicks. Pictures maybe?

This process repeats three times. I hope insurance covers most of this. Everyone is so nice so far, but if I have a thousand-dollar medical bill and they don’t know what happened, I’m going to be pissed.

The tech comes out of his area and tells me we’re done and I can dress. I slowly start to get up. He says to wait, he will help me. He helps and I pull my pants up. I ask him if he is able to see anything obvious. He answers that he doesn’t see anything including a kidney stone, but the doctor will and he will take a finer look at it. Should be twenty minutes. The CAT scan took fifteen minutes to walk from the room and back.

6:45 PM – I update my wife

I let my wife know I’m in more pain and the pain is spreading. She tells me to let the doctor know. I’m thinking blood clot. My wife suggests aneurism. For the first time I’m actually worried.

6:55 PM – My wife checks in on me. My phone is at 43%. Should be good for a while. Doctor is looking at the scans.

7:00 PM – The doctor peeks his head in and tells me another doctor is looking at it but he does not see a kidney stone and I should watch for a rash and to call him through Tuesday for anything. The doctor relieving him will be in to see me in ten minutes.

7:04 PM – My wife asks about the white blood cell count.

7:10 PM – I ask about our teen daughter in the car. She is sleeping thankfully. Probably very bored and concerned. My wife has to pee. I tell her to come inside. I tell my wife I’m sure I’m fine, but getting worried as they are taking too long.

7:20 PM – Doctor was supposed to be in here ten minutes ago.

7:30 PM – My wife came in to the lobby to pee. Pain is still the same. No doctor in sight.

7:40 PM – Wife suggests pancreatitis. Wants to know the white blood cell count. Tells me to flag a nurse and ask for the blood work. I open the door and stop a nurse. He is carrying two blood vials. Another nurse at the desk overhears me ask for blood work results. He says they will have all the paperwork when I leave. I let them know the doctor was supposed to be here 30 minutes ago. I’m told four people just came in and she will be with you soon. I pass this information on to my wife and she calls bullshit. Only two people walked in the past hour. “What the hell are they doing?” my wife asks.

We discuss the cost of CT scan and hope this is worth it. Our co-pay could be a shock. We are hungry.

7:55 PM – My wife says the doctor needs to hurry her ass up.

Wife says there is only two people here. She has been in the parking lot taking inventory of the patients. I believe there is only one doctor on duty.

7:56 PM – Doctor is here! She is very nice, much more attentive. Sits down and tells me “Good news. It’s not kidney stones, an aneurism. Also, it’s not an infection. Even though I don’t have blisters, it looks like shingles. Shingles? Like herpes? Not herpes. Can my pregnant daughter get infected? Not if she has had chicken pox or the antivirus. She has had the antivirus.

She explains shingles are the chickenpox virus laying dormant in the nerve and it is unknown why it activates but could be stress or emotional trauma. Could be a lower immune system and can likely come about after age 50. Yay, today is the day.

The doctor asks me to lift my shirt and notices a very slight red mark on my belly. I think it’s from my belt. She says I could still develop a rash, but I came in early so the medicine will help keep it down. I’m prescribed and Acetaminophen for the pain. Xxx This is called in to my pharmacy, but first dinner.

I go to dinner and it’s not too bad. Maybe the anti-inflammatory pain killer is working. After dinner, I look up the pharmacy and they are closed! They don’t open until 9:00 AM! We have family arriving from out of town and will be staying the night. I need to be better. I need to do the yard work tomorrow before they arrive.

As soon as I get home I take an Ibuprofen. The night is horrible. I toss and turn, basically get no sleep.


April 10

8:45 AM – I “wake up”

I’m in pain and worried a rash is going to break out. I have two blisters now. I’m in a bad mood because my wife is in the kitchen telling everyone I have shingles and should have been in line at 8:00 AM so she could be home by 9:02 AM. Our visitors have all had chickenpox so we’re good for their visit. My wife explains it’s not the herpes virus.

9:19 AM – My wife comes home with my prescriptions. Total $15.00. This will be what I try to remember when I see the CAT scan bill. By 9:30 AM I have swallowed my first doses.

11:00 AM – Feeling pretty good.

I start up the riding lawn mower and finish without pain. I finish the grass with the push mower. I trim and blow, pick up some sticks.

2:30 PM – Starting to feel some pain. I take half a dose of pain killer. It’s not enough. At midnight I take a full dose and sleep very well.

10:00 PM – Getting better, getting worse.

The pain comes and goes but is not really pain. More like discomfort. I take half doses of the pain killer for the next two cycles, but a full dose before bed.

April 11

9:00 AM - Getting better, getting worse II

The rash is a little more pronounced. It doesn’t bother me but there are few more small blisters and the first ones are now dime sized. I call my co-worker and my boss and request working from home. No problem. Might take Monday afternoon off.

2:00 PM – The pain I have now is related to my eating poorly I think. I still feel the nerve pain but the Acetaminophen is helping a lot. Still taking half doses. The rash continues to get worse. I’m around a lot of family now, but being very careful.

8:00 PM – Rash is getting worse, but not too bad. Too many blisters to count but they are very small and even a person not paying close attention would not notice.

10:00 PM – Rash is getting worse and even a little sting. I’m glad I’ve been taking half doses of the pain killer.

April 12

7:30 AM – Rash got progressively worse overnight. Took one pain killer

11:30 AM – Took a pain killer

6:00 PM – Should I go in to work?

I called the emergency facility and asked for the doctor that started with me, the one I finished up with or the nurse that worked with me and none where there. Another doctor answered the phone with their first name. I asked who? She repeated. I told her who I was trying to reach and she said none of the three were there. I said are you a doctor or nurse? She replied that she was. In my head, I’m like, why didn’t you say so? Anyway, I briefed the doctor and she said I’m contagious and should not go in to work. It’s weird because I can do anything. Probably a full workout. I don’t want to do anything that could weaken my immune system so I’m going to eat like I always do and not exercise for a few days.

My manager said no problem working from home and to consider if I may need to go on a short medical leave.

10:45 PM – Rash continues to get worse. Starting to itch a little. I took two pain killers. I think I have 4 remaining. I’ll go as far as I can tomorrow, but I need to be able to work and the tiredness is easier to overcome than having pain, so we’ll see. I’m glad I’m not feeling dependent on the pills even though I can see why people get addicted. You need to be more worried about the consequences of addiction than the benefit of relaxation.

April 13

12:00 PM – No pain killer yet
Rash continues to get worse. I sent an email to my HR manager to speak to her if I need to take leave and when it might be time to consider.

2:45 PM - HR replied with documents I can read if I want to make a claim. Also suggested I speak with our corporate doctor.

3:30 – Left a voicemail with primary physician office.

4:00 PM – Took more pictures of the rash. It is worse but not much worse. Still no pain. No blister breaks. I responded to HR with some details. They responded that they let the primary physician make the call on return to work. Primary physician has not called back.

10:00 PM – Rash is still a little worse, but could be near it’s peak. Other parts of my back and stomach sting but not hurt. It’s mild. I still have not taken a pain killer. I have been trying to go to the bathroom and realized I have not since Friday morning. That is four and a half days ago. I took several fiber pills.

April 14 - Morning

I didn’t take pain killer and I’m doing okay pain-wise, but he rash is growing. It’s a fairly solid band from my spine wrapping around the left side to my navel. It’s about 6-7 inches wide. I’m not sure they are blisters. Looks like a dry rash and the oval red marks are growing together.

I did go to the bathroom a lot this morning.

I have not felt good today. There is a pain on my inner elbow. Touching it hurts a lot. There is a pain deep in my upper thigh. The rash continues to not spread outward so much as it’s growing together in to one big rash. The skin on my right chest is sensitive. Burns to the touch as well as my right hip, but there is no change in color. Much like before the rash appeared on my ribs and back.

I went to the bathroom this afternoon again, so I think I’m good there. More water and carbs and fiber are helping. Not taking the acetaminophen which may have made me constipated.

4:00 PM - I’m irritable.

I have a stomach ache and much of my body hurts. I’m reading about long term affects of Shingles called postherpetic neuralgia or PHN. Sources vary, but looks like about %10 of people have lingering affects of nerve pain after the blisters heal. Most of the pain goes away within two months but can last for years and even the rest of a person’s life. It’s more common in older people to have PHN, so the odds are in my favor, but damn this sucks. I can’t image what older, unhealthy people go through.

8:00 PM – Can’t stay awake. Went to bed without pain killer. I need to be up early and last time I took some, I had trouble waking up.

April 15 – Pain

4:00 AM – I woke up to a lot of pain. My elbow is better, but my stomach, my right hand, back, and upper leg all hurts. I took one pain killer and laid back down to sleep.

6:00 AM – I wake up feeling better for taking the pill.

9:00 AM – I’m hurting again. The rash does not hurt but there is a little itch on my back. My upper right leg has a deep pain and my inner elbow hurts especially when touched, even lightly. Still no call from my primary physician. I called them back and they put me through to the doctor or nurse line. Again to voicemail. I left a voicemail but I don’t think they answer these calls. I called back and made an appointment. Soonest they can take me is Tuesday at 8:20 AM.

4:00 PM – Doctor’s office calls me.

I ask her if she is returning my call from Tuesday and she is. I told her I already called back and set an appointment for Tuesday morning. She says that is good because that is what she was going to ask me to do. The voice is exactly the voice I spoke to this morning when I made my appointment.

4:30 PM – Rash progress is not improving. A little worse, so I remind my employer I have already scheduled off Friday, Monday I will work from home and Tuesday I’ll take the day off and let her know what the doctor says. There is a pain traveling down my right leg, creeping toward my knee as the day progresses.

10:00 PM – I’m going to be and taking a pain killer. This will leave me with one more. I’m hurting so I don’t feel any guilt.

April 16

2:00 AM - I wake up in pain.

I slept well until about 2:00 AM. My back hurts and my leg hurts enough that I can’t find a comfortable position to sleep. I toss and turn, falling in and out of sleep until I need to get up at 6:00 AM

6:00 AM – My back hurts

No Wonder I hurt.

My leg is not hurting. I feel where there was pain but it doesn’t hurt if that makes sense. My elbow no longer hurts. I shower to see how I feel before an 8:30 meeting. I’m still hurting so I take my last pain killer.

11:00 PM – Not bad

Could be the pain medicine, but I went to the garden store and loaded some bags of garden soil. My inner right forearm hurts, but that could be carpal tunnel. I’ve had it before and it’s the same feeling. I have it in my wrist as well.

I’m helping to put painting tape on the ceiling of my daughter room and not feeling to bad. Compare it to flu aches, but only on some parts of the right side of the body. I think my stomach aches are because I have been eating too many cookies and chips. Not a common diet for me.

1:00 PM - I take my second to last Valacyclovir

Valacycloir is to keep the rash from developing if caught early enough. If it is working, my rash would have been much worse. I think the spread might be slowing, but this could be wishful thinking. I have been taking pictures morning and night since last Friday to see the progress. There is some pain returning to my back and side, so I took two Aleve. Was I supposed to take Aleve or Benadryl? I should have asked my wife. My wife remembers a friend of hers had Shingles 6 months ago and talked to her about it. I think she now believes me that it is a deep pain and I’m not being a baby. There are sharp pains returning so I took the Aleve, but I don’t share my pain every time it happens. If it’s noticed that is one thing, but I don’t announce it with a groan or a scream.

7:00 PM – Visited friends

Seems like the rash is going away, but my daughter does not agree. Starting to itch a little. I have an earache coming and going. Sometimes a sharp pain. I don’t know if any of this is related. I never have this happen, but I’m not reading that it does.

11:00PM – Went to bed. Feeling not too bad but back is a little stiff

April 17

6:00 AM – I’m not sleeping in

I wake up to a deep pain in my back. It’s in the same place everything started. This pain runs from above my kidney up the right side of my back, fading at the shoulder blade. So, it’s not a large area, but it is painful. I take two Aleve with a half glass of water. I lay down briefly, but it hurts so bad I stay up. Just going to wait now for the pain to go away. I can’t do anything. This is frustrating. It’s depressing. It’s Saturday and I don’t expect to be of any use.

11:00 AM – Still hurting

The pain is in my back and across my ribs into my stomach just like when I went to the ER. II just took some HEB brand painkiller. 2-500 mg pills of Acetaminophen.

Now I’m not sure the rash is improving. It looks dry. Always has. I don’t think I’ve had one blister break and there have been only a handful that look like they could be blisters. Probably the ant-viral worked. I’m out of that now.

8:00 PM – I think the rash is improving. The first blister and the second blister that I had the morning I started the viral meds are the only ones that actually hurt. The back pain is definitely there still.

10:00 PM – Went to bed with a bit of pain. Taking much more Advil than I ever have.

April 18, 2021

6:00 AM – Woke up in pain. Been a rough night. Took more Advil and went to bed

10:00 AM – Woke up in pain but I did sleep well for a few hours. My wife remembered

11:00 AM – I’m feeling terrible. I don’t know what to do. My wifes friend has some viral blocker medication left over from when she had shingles a few months ago. I wasn’t going to get them from her but I have changed my mind. My wife called her and she away from the house all day and forgot to leave them on her porch.

12:00 PM – Relief

My wife realized she has Codeine from a surgery from three years ago. I had to take one. Feeling much better.

April 19 - 3:00 AM Woke up feeling terrible.

Tossing and turning and trying to find the right position to lay in.

6:00 AM – Wake up

I did fall back asleep. I woke up before my alarm because I’m in pain again. I took another pain killer. Just one each time. I don’t want to build up a tolerance or feel addicted.

2:00 PM – Still okay

I’m still feeling okay but I can feel the pain returning.

9:00 PM – Advil

Advil doesn’t really help. I’m getting very little sleep and it’s constantly interrupted. I took another codeine and was able to fall asleep.

April 20, 2021

6:15 AM - I woke up feeling rested but hurting again.

This morning my back is the worst its felt. I take an Advil and shower which is fine because we have a bench I can put my foot on so I don’t have to bend over far. I can’t bend over to put my socks on, so I pull my knee up as high as possible while balancing on one leg.

7:00 AM – The Advil may be working on my empty stomach because the pain is almost gone. Never gone, but at a point where it is not even what I would call uncomfortable. Just there.

8:20 AM – Arrive at doctor’s office

I update my HIPPA information which is asking to whom they can share my information and if they are allowed to leave voicemail (so they can move on to the next person and not wait for a call back). There are a couple people near me I don’t mind sharing. That is my wife and my adult daughter even though my adult daughter would take any bad news worse than I would -plus have a panic attack.

8:30 AM – The doctor can see me

I’m asked my height and shown a scale. Assuming this means they want my weight with all my clothes on, my work phone, my mask, my keys and shoes, I step up so they can get a little more than five pounds more on my height that I guessed (because I’m shrinking). I follow this person to a room and she asks what I’m in for. I’m puzzled as she is holding a chart and some paper I assume would be about me. I tell her and she nods. I show her my rash and explain my pain away only to have her tell me that the doctor will be in to see me in a few minutes. Who is this person? The nurse? She never even told me her name. I assumed it was my doctor. Perhaps she is making sure I am in there for Shingles to be sure they don’t mix me up with someone else.

I wait about ten minutes. The doctor asks me to describe how things are going. I tell her the highlights from the beginning. Thursday, I felt pain. Friday so much I went to the ER. Saturday, I had two red marks before I started the xxx that morning and those are the only ones that actually blistered of the rash she sees. A made the follow up appointment to see when I can go back to work and because the pain was not going away. She lets me talk. She didn’t interrupt me.

The doctor tells me since the rash is drying, dry really, I don’t need an anti-viral. I expected that. She says she will prescribe an ointment that is meant to help with the nerve pain and works for some people and not others. She also prescribes Gabapentin. I ask her if t is addictive, if it will make me drowsy and if the pain is not present, should I be careful anyway since pain is a typically a signal to stop doing something to your body.

She answers that Gabapentin is not addictive (or will create a dependency is how she worded it and that may be a difference) and it will make me drowsy. I should take one at night and if I’m not drowsy when I wake up for work then the next night I can take another ONE if I’m still in pain. Then the next night take one or two depending on how long the pain goes on and how drowsy I feel in the morning. Continue until I’m up to three at night max. Then I can take one in the morning if I’m not too drowsy and the pain is not relieved through the day.

She also said with nerve pain I can do anything I want even on nerve blockers as it is not a pain that will get worse by my moving a lot like a muscle could.

9:30 – Oil change

I would like to pick up my prescriptions but I’m near the oil change place and I’m overdue.

10:30 – My wife calls for lunch. I can drive right past the pharmacy and pick up my meds on my way to meet her. I drive into the parking lot of the pharmacy. Covid vaccines are available today so the parking lot is full of people that don’t know how to back up their cars.

I meet her and we have a nice lunch. The nerve pain doesn’t go away, but my hunger pangs do.

11:15 – Haircut

I drive back to the pharmacy

12:00 PM – Pharmacy

The pharmacist tells me the ointment is not covered by insurance so she put a call in to the doctor so they can call the insurance company to see if they can cover it. Insurance is claiming I don’t need it that bad (because it’s expensive). It’s $500.00 for the ointment that she didn’t seem to think would be a lot of help and it may or may not work. Why don’t doctors have to verify with the insurance company that a procedure is covered before they give you a CAT scan for !@#$%^& SHINGLES! That’s the scam right there. No prices listed so I can say no to a procedure I may not need. What happened to my body my choice? I’ll sign the waiver that the doctor may miss a diagnosis if it’s going to cost me thousands. But I didn’t have a choice. I was told I needed this. I’ll stop complaining until I see my bill. Then, hopefully, not complain at all. So rant over, no one needs to pay $500.00 for an ointment that may or may not work. Not even the insurance company. I called the doctor’s office and left a message that I’ll skip the ointment and I already have the “nerve blocker”…because I can’t remember the name of the medicine.

1:00 PM – I take a Gabapentin

I know she said to wait until tonight, but I can’t wait. I’ve gone all day and it’s getting worse. I tried to call my boss

9:00 PM – The pain has not gone away at all. I take another Gabapentin which is the one I’m supposed to. It does not make me tired. I’m awake for another two hours.

April 21

4:00 AM – Wake up in pain

I’m lying in bed thinking, “What the hell?” The Gabapentin bottle has 90 little fillable pills. The bottle is very light though. Maybe they are empty pills. I squeeze on and it collapses in my fingers. Seems empty. I try to pull it apart but it’s not happening. Not easily and just in case there is something in there I don’t want it everywhere. I find a razor blade in the garage and place the pill on our wall calendar that my wife left on the bathroom counter when she updated her schedule. I start to cut the pill. That cornstarch sleeve is harder than I expected. Maybe it’s not cornstarch, but it do manage to cut it open. Sure enough there is a white powder. There are numbers on the pill and they match what is on the pill bottle. I just don’t know. The codeine is sitting five feet away on my dresser and I know that works, but it just covers the pain. It solves nothing and since my mom was addicted to opioids it’s that last thing I want to abuse. Maybe this stuff will work better if I let it absorb in my mouth.

I scrap the powder together with the razor blade. I am not going to snort it! I’m not going to slice my body open and pour it inside! I’m not going to Hollywood my journal for you readers. Truth here, even if it’s boring. I did need a way to put it in my mouth so I carefully brushed it on to the razor blade and (carefully) dropped the powder into my mouth and, again, carefully licked the blade. Licking with the direction of the sharp end of course. The powder is quit bitter but has no flavor. I took a few more pills from the bottle and squeezed them. Same amount of collapse. The harder I squeeze the more I can see there is a bit of powder in there. Who fills these? Who is checking that there is 300 grams of powder in there or what ever is in there?  The manufacturer? The pharmacy?

I cut one more pill and repeat the process of spilling the powder on the calendar and liking it from the blade. I feel dirty. Is this how it starts? I can’t get enough, now I’m licking the blade.

I look up on the side effects of taking Gabapentin. Among the bazillion side effects are depression, hurting oneself and suicide. Is it the drug or is the realization the drug is not working that make one depressed enough to kill themself?

5:00 AM - I lay back down

My wife asks how I’m feeling. Like crap. This stuff does nothing. I tell her I took two. She worries I will oversleep for work even though I’m working from home. I have no meetings and at this point I don’t care if I oversleep. I fall asleep right away.

7:00 AM – Wake up in pain

I don’t know what to say. I’m so frustrated. I think again how people that live their lives like this must feel. I know there are worse pains, but chronic pain is worse. I can understand the depression people experience. Especially if they were previously active. I debate on taking a codeine.

I tell my wife it’s not working and I should just start over and take one tonight, two Thursday, three Friday and stick to that. She says I’ve already started so go with two tonight and so on. I agree. I’ll suffer today as I can at least work from home.

7:30 AM – I’m working away.

I’m working away. I don’t have stairs to climb or boxes to lift or hammers to swing, so this is doable. Uncomfortable, but doable. I also wonder how bad it has to be for people that can do physical work, but can’t transition in to a career that allows them to sit at a desk all day. In that case, be able to work from home. Are they in that much pain or are they satisfied on living on welfare, just above poverty, so they don’t have to be responsible to anyone. That might be mean, but I’ll blame it on my nerve pain.

Anyway, the pain is getting worse. My rash is even hurting and I’m freezing. It’s 70 degrees in my house and I’m putting on sweatpants. I have a t-shirt, flannel, and a gray hoodie. Hood down so far. I’m like, fuck this! I take a codeine. Fifteen minutes later I feel a little light headed, but my pain is gone.

When I write this journal, I need to go back a few hours at times to catch up. This is real time at the moment and I feel wonderful. I can totally understand a person with an addictive personality (or low will power) getting addicted to pain killers. I’m going to chose to be patient and take the nerve blockers as prescribed, but I’m really fortunate for now I have a co-worker and a manager that are so understanding to allow me to stay home. Today has been very busy. (I’m taking a lunch)

Next week the parts of my job that can be physical, and only lightly physical, are going to kick in to high gear, so I may take a codeine with me. Actually, can that get me fired? I have a prescription that does not have an expiry. I need to be aware of that. Really need the nerve blocker to kick in.

6:00 PM – Getting worse

The codeine has worn off and the pain is back in full force. Sometimes I stretch and it feels better for a moment. I keep think of it like a muscle and it’s going to hurt to stretch. I don’t know what relieves the pain for a few seconds, so I just keep doing it. Also, I’m catching myself walking hunched over like an old man when the pain is in my belly. I need to remind myself to walk straight or my back is going to tighten like it did many years ago after my appendix surgery.

8:00 PM – Take two

I’m in as much pain as ever. I just took two Gabapentin with vitamin E and fish oil. Lots of water. I peed so I don’t have to get up too soon.

April 22, 2021

4:00 AM – Miserable

The pills put me to sleep and nothing else. I feel worse. I go to the bathroom and back to bed.

6:00 AM – I’m awake before my alarm. Not tired at all, but in so much more pain than ever.

I’m going to wait until 10AM before taking codeine. I’m walking around the house lie Frankenstien’s monster, very slow and stiff. At least one dog of our understands something is wrong with me. He is the one with the most energy too. It’s endearing. He got up on the couch with his legs hanging over the back so I could scratch him. Instead of going crazy to play like he usually does, he let me pet him and started licking me.

9:00 AM – I can’t take it.

I take the Codeine. Fifteen minutes later I fee great. A little tired from it but it’s not going to put me to sleep. Also, I’m having trouble pooping. I think I will then I can’t. I will not push. It hurts too much. I don’t think I’m constipated, but I’m drinking water and having a can of pineapple now. Mixing in an energy drink to prevent being tired too.

11:00 AM – I hope I don’t regret this

I just did 25 pullups, some curls and pushups. I can feel the nerve, but there is not pain. I’m not doing more exercise because I know I’ll be sore from not working out for two weeks. But I’m glad I can do anything at all. Probably the codeine.

12:00 PM -Constipation

If I’m going to be honest, I have to write about this. I won’t get gross, but I spent an hour and fifteen excruciating minutes trying to poop. For this time, I didn’t feel any nerve pain as I pushed this monster out and wondered if the pain could be a blockage all along. I’m certain I’ll have a hemorrhoid or two for all this pushing. I’m relieved I ate a can of pineapple about an hour before because fruit is great for soaking up solid fecal matter. But nothing is working. I had to unturtle so I could let the dogs in and out before they woke up my wife who works tonight. My preworkout is loaded with arginine and caffeine. I know caffeine is a diarrhetic, but when it first enters the blood stream it can give you the sensation of pooping, so I took half a scoop and downed it in just a bit of water and ran back to the toilet. Less than ten minutes later it came out all at once. It was glorious and painful at the same time. I imagine like having a baby. At one point I thought I might have an aneurysm. I almost passed out. Strange thing is as soon as I pooped, the nerve pain returned.

3:00 PM – It’s back even worse

The nerve pain continues to get worse

7:00 PM – I’m holding out. I have not had a codeine even though it was tempting. I need one for Monday at least because I need to go to work. I’m glad I held out because I’m a little better and only an hour away from taking my three pills tonight. If this doesn’t work I’ll call the doctor and let her know and ask if it something that kicks in later or can I get another codeine prescription.

Probably won’t write any more tonight. Will take my pills at 8 pm and lay down for the night. Even though I don’t like sleeping, I want this pain to go away.

April 23, 2021

6:15 AM – Not much sleep, but a good sleep

I didn’t fall asleep until after midnight, but when I did, I slept hard. My alarm woke me for the first time in a long time. I am in pain though. I took two Advil.

7:00 AM – Not too bad

Looks like three Gabapentin at night and two Advil in the morning is the trick I’ve been looking for. I’ll try not to take any more Advil today. I don’t want liver damage. I did go to the doctor last year for pain in my liver area and she asked if I was taking Ibuprofen or Advil. I said I was sore a lot from workouts. She said I needed to ease on the workouts then and stop the Ibuprofen. Within a week the pain was gone and I haven’t had the liver pain again.

3:30 PM – A little sore

The pain is returning, but nothing like this morning before taking Advil. My only real concern now is I haven’t pooped today. That could be a good thing. My butthole is sore.

7:30 PM – Friday night.

Gabapentin and Advil are party drugs for old people. It allows us to party anyway. But no party tonight. My wife is working and I’m taking my pills at 8:00 PM. Until then I’m going to refresh my website so it’s easier to read.

9:30 PM – Forgot to take my meds

Staying in one place has a numbing effect on the nerve. Not really numb, but it removes the pain when I don’t have to move. So I forgot to take my pills until now. I’m skipping the Advil. I expect the three Gabapentin will make me tired.

April 24

12:30 PM - Gabapentin doesn’t make me tired

Still awake.

6:30 AM – Wake up in pain of course

The wasn’t as bad as it has been, but I have a lot to do today. I take two Advil. I’m worried I have not pooped for almost two days. I take an extra two fiber pills

7:30 AM – I pooped. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t difficult either. I’m still picking up fiber at the store. Feeling pretty good after two Advil.

11:00 AM – A little pain

The pain isn’t unbearable. I picked up a generic Advil that has 220mg of Naproxen Sodium. It’s the same as Advil but much cheaper. I’ll have to read about side effects, but it works for nerve pain. I don’t think Acetaminophen does. At least not for me.

Feeling good enough to mow the lawn so here I go…

3:00 PM – Done with that

I have a riding mower, but I need to use a push mower, trimmer and blower. I only experienced the nerve pain with the riding mower when I hit unlevel potholes in my yard. Any other pain is normal tired back pain.

10:00 PM – Going to bed

We have people over but I need to take the Gabapentin on a regular basis. It hasn’t been making me tired, but just in case I went to bed and left my wife to entertain. I did take the pain killer around 6PM. It was hurting too much again. The rash is itching and when I touch it, the pain is much more than the itch. The pain from the scratching is much worse than the itch. It’s not a pain I can describe except that it feels like a electrical shock right on top of the skin. Little pricks are making it itch.

April 25

6:30 AM – Wake up.

The nerve pain is there. Either I’m getting used to it or it’s not as bad. Though my rash I slowly fading, it is hurting more and itching more.

11:00 AM – Had enough of this itch

I went to the store and bought Calamine location. I had tried sunburn spray a couple times because it has lidocaine, but it only worked for a couple minutes. The Calamine location is working better.

2:00 PM – Not to bad other than this itch

I try not to drop my elbow down on my right side because it makes my rash itch. The worst itch is where the two or three blisters are the rest is just that irritating shocking pain feeling. I can’t imagine people who have had the full-blown Shingles.

4:30 PM – Home from work

I take a couple Advil

6:00 PM – I worked out (a little)

I tried a light workout. I haven’t had a decent workout in two weeks and I might as well start trying to work up to that now. I did 50 pullups, 50 dips, band curls and 50 wide pushups. All have of normal excep the band curls. I feel like I can do anything except situps are out of the question. Even pullups if you have never done them are a better stomach workout than plank. Pushups work the stomach a little but it didn’t effect me—only the pullups I could really feel the nerve—but no real pain.

8:00 PM – Calamine is working

The Calamine lotion seems to be working. Better than sunburn spray with lidocaine. I still have that shock sensation. Taking the Gabapentin and an Advil and laying down for the night.

April 26 – Not a bad night sleep

5:10 AM – Snooze

5:20 AM – Snooze

5:30 AM – Gotta get up.

If I can hit snooze twice, I must not be hurting bad enough to get out of bed and do anything about it. At least that’s the way I look at it. The trouble with not having a lot of pain is I don’t know if the Gabapentin is working or the Advil got me through the night. When I say Advil, I could be taking Advil or the grocery store knock-off. I’ll just say Advil because it’s familiar and I’m not going to keep writing Naproxen Sodium (which I just scrolled up and copy-pasted). I take one Advil and one Gabapentin because it’s not making me drowsy.

6:45 AM – Work

I’m at work for the first time in two weeks. It’s a good feeling when you have a co-worker that doesn’t leave a bunch for you to do. Today will be busy but not a lot of running around hopefully.

6:45 PM – Moving around a lot today including a lot of fast walking from 9:30AM until 2:00PM.

2:30 PM – Leave work to get 2nd Covid-19 shot

3:30 PM – Got my shot at exactly 3:30PM. Before that, was sitting in the car starting to feel pain in my stomach area and it’s not hunger. Have I even mentioned I got my 1st Covid shot on March 29? About ten days before I got Shingles. Interesting because there are cases of Shingles a few days after the Moderna shot. I read the article where a Vegas doctor reported it. Even he said the few cases he has seen is not enough to think it’s related, but these occurrences need to be mentioned in case we find there are a lot of people getting Shingles shortly after the shot. If it’s not reported, we don’t know. Reporting these things isn’t trying to alarm anyone. Not reporting these things could be a catastrophe. A year from now my hunch is there won’t be a significant amount of Shingles cases any different from any other year. Also, I’m not thrilled about getting the shot, but I also don’t think it can hurt me so I’m doing it like I would any other vaccine. I don’t get the flu vaccine. Never has worked for me. Maybe when I’m a little less healthy and older.

7:30 – Itching BAD

My stomach is itching very much, but I can run my fingers lightly across my shirt and not feel pain. In 30 minutes I plan on taking the Gabapentin and I’ll probably not get tired, but I’m tired now anyway, so we’ll see. I’ll take on Advil to get me through the night. I don’t think I’ll back off the Advil until Friday when I know I won’t have any obligations the next morning.

The other thing that is not lost on me is if I have a bad reaction to this second dose of Moderna.

April 27 – Another decent night sleep

5:10 AM – Snooze

5:20 AM – Snooze

5:30 AM – Must get up. My first though is I fell asleep about midnight last night then I remember I had the 2nd Covid shot. Technically, not Covid, but you know what I mean. I don’t know which I am tired from. I’m not in a lot of pain. Some, but not bad. Seems to be getting better. I think the Gabapentin is working. I take one Gabapentin and two Advil.

10:30 AM – Starting to feel like crap

I’m not experiencing a lot of pain, but I am getting light-headed and what feels like early flu symptoms. I’m walking a lot today and this is not helping. I take a seat for a half hour. Finish my energy drink and eat lunch. I take an Advil.

11:30 AM – Still light flu

I knew this would happen after the 2nd Moderna shot so I’m not worried. It will last a day or two or three and hopefully this flu feeling will pass as well as the nerve and skin pain. I move my office this week so I’m not looking forward to that. Notice I have not taken Codeine since the Advil started doing the job.

5:30 PM – I’m home and I’m lying in bed.

I’m HUNGRY. I foraged and took an Advil. Feeling better and taking a rest.

8:00 PM – Still having some flu type symptoms. Took medicine and fell asleep quickly.

April 28

2:00 AM – Wake up to rash pain

The rash is healing well, but it hurts. I’ve had a decent sleep until now.

5:30 AM – I’ve snoozed twice now. I’m feeling fine as far as the Covid shot, but my back hurts a little. One Gabapentin and one Advil.

10:00 AM – Feeling almost fine but have a lot to do. Not taking a chance so I took an Advil.

4:00 PM – Skin is burning again and I have my daughters birthday dinner. Took an Advil. Feeling better after 30 minutes

8:30 PM – Good through dinner. Took three Gabapentin and no Advil. Lathered up with Calamine lotion and off to bed. Getting used to the early bed routine. Things are better so the entries should be getting further apart.

April 30

4:00 PM

The last couple days I have not had much issue with the nerve pain, but the itching is constant as the rash continues to fade. There is pain too. I went 24 hours without an Advil and came to regret it last night at my daughter’s dance recital. I found that cupping my hand over my shirt where it itched or hurt and just pushing, no scratching, relieved the itch while not causing much pain if any. Most of the itch is toward the back of my ribs and right on my lower spine.

I do wonder if the 2nd Moderna shot “compromised” my immune system.

Today I moved a lot of boxes at work as we’re moving to another floor. Not to strenuous, but the constant rubbing of my shirt on my skin was irritating. I’m going to take an Advil now to see if the pain on my skin goes away. The shirt coming off is going to make a big difference on my skin. Nerve pain is so little I’m going to try a lazy workout.

5:10 PM

So the recipe for a Shingles workout is three weeks on Gabapentin, two Advil and no shirt. I didn't work out hard as this was only my 3rd workout since this all started. My youngest daughter told me today my stomach is getting soft. That's not the kind of honesty we are trying to teach her. Anyway, it's motivating. I prepped and sealed differently spiced flavors of chicken breast for my lunches and dinners next week. I haven't gained weight though. I think the lack of working out and eating less well has balanced out my fat gain to muscle loss. At 50 years old that is not easy to correct. Especially if I have postherpetic neuralgia or PHN.

May 1

5:00 AM

My “rash” started to itch very much around 10PM last night. I finally fell asleep until 4AM when I scratched gently for 30 minutes before jumping in the shower because I’m afraid I’m going to spread it all over my body. This is torture. It feels like little pricks of glass and rubbing them, grinds the glass into my body. The closest I’ve experienced to this is having rubbed on fiber insulation or the time when I was a kid in my swimsuit trunks, rubbed my butt and back up and down an old, green, corrugated fiberglass window as I waited for the office to open. Yes, the city pool used green corrugated fiberglass in place of where a window would be, I suppose so a little light would shine through and into the office, but glass was too expensive. The pool is still there. I could check my facts for that memory if it hasn’t changed, but that’s what I remember. I was eight or nine. Maybe ten. I had to go home and let the fibers “work their way out” my dad said.

I’ve been searching the internet for the miracle cure again and learning that the pain is easier to treat than the itch. Also, science does not have an explanation for PHN and itching. Ugh. People can have this for years and injure themselves scratching. Can I imagine writing a Shingles journal for a year? No. Not if it was that same thing to report – “Still itching”. I’d update once a month or so.

6:30 AM

I just received my bill. I’m not happy. This is ridiculous. Recall that I tried two facilities that turned me away because they are unable to scan and didn’t bother seeing me so I had to go to the emergency room to see what was wrong. The receptionist couldn’t tell me the admission charge and had she, I would have gone home. By the next morning I’d know it was shingles and that would have removed the emergency charge of $3125.00! Of which insurance covered nothing because they were out of network.

And that CT scan I was worried about? I’m lucky the insurance company paid as much as they did. The Emergency Center charged $8937.11! to which I am obligated to pay $4147.21. Unfreaking believable. For Shingles. The admission charge is upsetting because I asked what it would cost and she said she didn’t know. The charge for the CT scan? The doctor had a very good idea it was Shingles before putting me in the scanner. What a racket!

For a cost reference, this is 2021. The average American made $4508 per month in 2019. (Latest figures I found)

It’s not universal health care we need. It’s honesty in the profession. I can’t imagine what other procedures they would milk if the government was writing the checks. No wonder so many “emergency” centers are popping up. I think they are getting ready for universal health care and how much money they will rake in since the government spends too much on everything and literally prints money when they need it. We’ll see where this goes.

2:30 PM

For now the itch is gone. Maybe stress taketh it away. Tiny bit on my belly when my shirt touches it. However, I was reading that it comes and goes a few times a day. Some people in the day, some at night. I’m not sure when would be best for me as I need to see people during the day, but I can only get my sleep at night.

3:30 PM

Had another decent workout. It only itches when I put the shirt back on. Nothing on the skin. No itching.

7:15 PM

I had to put a shirt on. Just a decency thing with my daughter having a friend over. I’m about to call it quits and go to my room for the night so I can take my shirt off. It’s starting to itch pretty bad again and I do want some sleep tonight. I can’t sleep in or the dogs will pee and poop in the house.

May 2

2:00 AM – Wake up

I had fallen asleep right away. I just woke up to itching and a little pain on the skin. No nerve pain. I keep thinking about the bill too and it’s keeping me from falling back to sleep. I want to hold a sign outside their door or hand out pamphlets letting people know what the charge will be for entering their facility and that even though your question an IV and a CT scan, they will tell you it is needed. You will be in pain and have to accept what they say, because even when they know damn well what is happening to you, you will be sent to 5 minute CT scan so they can bill the insurance company 8 thousand dollars for process on a machine that looks older than the building and depreciated even more so.

I continue to take my Gabapentin prescribed by my primary physician. Three at night, one in the morning.

10:15 AM The itch didn’t go away

The itch didn’t go away, but it wasn’t unbearable and I fell back to sleep about 4AM. I have not taken an Advil. I’m going to skip until tonight to see if it’s necessary. I am wearing a shirt now and every touch of the shirt to my stomach gives me a little shock and itch. Sounds like PHN still going to war on my body. SHock & ITch. I think I’ll do another workout now.

1:30 PM – The bill could be less than I thought

While writing my letter to the Emergency Center, I found some literature they gave me that basically says not to be alarmed at what looks like a bill from your insurance company of the amount you are obligated to pay. The EC says this is most likely not what I will pay if I need to pay anything at all. It could take months to work out the cost.

May 5

9:00 PM

Didn’t want to sound like a broken record so took a few days off. Basically it’s been off and on. I had little nerve pain for a couple days but itched like crazy. The itch would move from the front to the back and if anything touches the skin it very annoying. I’ve scratched knowing it was going to be painful as soon as I stopped. I just brace for it. Seem to mostly itch at night. Last night was one of the worst. The fan was on me all night and it gave me that shock sensation the who time. The alternative was pulling the covers over me to block the fan, except the fabric had the same effect. Nerve pain in my back all day and some in the front. Three Gabapentin at night and two in the morning.

I wanted to work out when I got home, so I took an Advil for the first time in several days. About 30 minutes later I had my self a fine workout including some slant board situps without pain. I only did half the situps as normal because I don’t like to kill myself on my way back. I could have finished though if I wanted to regret it tomorrow. I think part of the itch coming on at night is much more of my skin is touched by the bedding and my weight on the bed instead of a light shirt on my skin. I think I said as much a few days ago.

May 7

8:30 PM

The last two days have been rough with the itching. If I keep moving it subsides and there has been some nerve pain, but more a discomfort than pain. I did have another okay workout. The itch though is keeping me from sleeping, so I’ve been tired at work. It’s hard to believe I’m still itching as bad as I am when the rash is basically gone. I guess it’s the nerve still sending a signal to the skin and the skin is confused so it itches.

I could not use the picture from yesterday because I realized I was red from scratching. I’ve not scratched yet so can’t wait to do so after getting a picture. Before today, and hopefully not tonight again, the choice has been do I scratch the itch knowing it will be a painful sting when I do? Or do I let the itch of a hundred mosquitos run its course.? Not a fun choice to make. Many times I have been able to press my hand against the itch and even softly rub it through my shirt, but even that can return some pain. I did have to take two Advil about noon today to get me through some physical work because my back was hurting. The nerve in my back that is. For a short time today the nerve in the front was tight, but it wasn’t hurting.

May 8

6:00 AM – Really feeling old

Because I didn’t get a lot of sleep this week I fell asleep before 10:00 PM last night, which was Friday! I “slept” until 5:30 AM. But I didn’t actually sleep until then because at some point my wife came home from a friends house and turned on the fan so it was on all night. I spoke to her about having the fan on and she did turn it away from us like I did the other night, but it was too much even to have any air on it at all. The skin is hurting on my stomach and back. I’m cold so I put a shirt on and will deal with that. I took a Tylenol. Curious to see if that does anything.

May 10 – Getting better

Last night wasn’t so great, but not bad. Today was the best day yet. Had a tiny itch spell on te ribs that didn’t last long. I did stay busy so that helped. I itch a little now and sore to rub it, but I just had my first full workout and then went on a 3.5 mile bike ride. Still taking the meds. I’ll call my doctor tomorrow. Should have called today. They take two days to return a call. Also, I think the Tylenol did help.

May 11 - Morning

I called my doctor and left a voicemail. I called the pharmacy and talked to the pharmacist. I explained I was running out of Gabapentin and I need a refill because it’s not going to last until the 17th. He said he can’t refill until the 14th, I had 90 pills and that should have lasted.  I told the pharmacist the bottle does say 3 per day at bedtime but the doctor told me to take one in the morning also if necessary and it didn’t make me tired. He said well, let me check your insurance did I call my doctor. I told him I left a message. He says fast like he didn’t even look it up but didn’t want to argue with me that the insurance will not let him refill until the 14th unless my doctors says differently. I told him the 14 is fine. I can manage it until then.

May 11 – The doctor called 40 hours early

4:30 PM

Actually, my doctor’s nurse called and told me that I definitely need to get a refill of Gabapentin and when I have about 9 days left, to make an appointment to come in so the doctor can talk to me about weening me off of the Gabapentin. I have needed to stretch it out and have been taking on in the morning and two at night. Well, the nerve pain has returned somewhat, and the skin is still burning at times, so I know I still need it. No negative side effects that I can tell though—except for not taking it as much.

Overall, I’m definitely on the better side of this ordeal.

May 12 –The dog almost killed me

6:00 PM

Okay, the dog didn’t almost kill me, but I’m not feeling that great today and my wife and I were walking back to the house with our dogs when the puppy slammed into the back of my legs, rolled my ankle and put me to my knees. My stomach muscle began to cramp at the moment I hit the ground. So weird. I’m thinking damn I hate shingles and damn I’m getting old and damn that dog and my wife is laughing, damn her. But I’m sure it was a funny sight. I said effit and went to my back with arms stretched over my head in full drama cause I had to stretch out my stomach muscle. The dog started apologizing the way dogs do by licking my face and neck. So I told him it was okay and slowly got up. Then our other dog laid next to where I was, maybe in sympathy, because that is not something he would normally do. Normally he would be playfully attacking me, but he’s such a smart dog, he knew I wasn’t playing.

May 17

Been much better, but the updates are sparse more because of a lack of time and a lack of Internet. A contractor cut the cable at the house and after coming out the next day and failing to fix it, we have to wait for a week because the rain is coming down hard this week. Anyway…

Had my prescription refilled and self-medicated from one Gabapentin in the morning and one at night to one in the morning and two at night fully expecting to have three at night after a few days because Thursday night was not a good night. Friday wasn’t much better, but I took two Advil.

However, today is Monday (afternoon) and I just had a great workout. I have a little tug over my right kidney, but the nerve pain is gone for over a day and only sometimes does the skin hurt in the front. I do itch here and there, but it doesn’t have me contemplating the afterlife. I mean, is it true that if I would go to Hell, I’d have to endure my present state for an eternity? If that is the case, I’ll try harder to relieve these irritations before tempting my fate. So, I’m sticking with one Gabby in the morn and two at night. Yes, I’m calling her Gabby. It’s taken a while, but we’re an item now.

June 4

There is never really pain now, just discomfort sometimes. The skin to the right of my belly button is numb to pinch, but uncomfortable to rub. My back hurts every once in a while, but only for a minute. The problem now is I have forgotten to take the Gabapentin on a couple occasions and I notice in the morning when the skin on my back has a pinch feeling to it or the nerve (which feels like a deep muscle) feels tight. The only part of my workout I hesitate to go all out is situps. This does hurt and not in a muscle straining way. Feels like something is going to separate inside me even thought I don’t think anything will. I get a little worried this will never go away, but it is not debilitating. More of something I would need to come to terms with like a person might complain about a nagging knee when it’s going to rain.

July 19

It’s been 6 weeks and I’m not inhibited by anything. However, I do get a tingle or itch sometimes anywhere I had the rash.

Next step is I’ll look into getting the vaccine.


I’m getting periodic updates that the insurance company is covering certain things. I keep getting “This is not a bill” bills. The ones that shock you and tell you not worry, everything is being worked out. Well one thing has been consistent and that is the $8000 charge for the CAT scan. I decided to write the insurance company about the charge and how I’m certain the doctor knew I had Shingles when he put me through the CAT scan even though I was concerned about he charge.

September 14

The insurance company wrote back today informing me they won’t be paying it. I didn’t ask them to pay for it. I hoped they would be a patient advocate for me and have them explain the necessity of the scan. They basically said the doctor said I needed it. (Eye roll). Looks like I need to go straight to the facility and work it out with them. Will post when I make progress. I still don’t have a bill from them. I’ll have to see a final from the insurance company or the bill from the medical center.

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