It started out bleak. A sharp pain behind my left ear, had grown and covered the entire left side of my head, I had a high, and rising temperature, and I was SICK. A quick telemedicine visit and I was scheduled for a Covid test.
Tuesday was worse. Temperature was hovering around 103F, no appetite, and just the general cruds. The pain was migrating to my face. Another day lying in bed, napping, sweating, shivering, and miserable.
I thought for sure I had picked up Covid from somewhere. I wracked my brain to think of where I might have gotten it, as I have been SUPER careful since this pandemic began. The only logical opportunity that came up, was a visit to the local In-n-Out Burgers with a colleague from work. I had to wait for my food before we went out to grab a socially distanced table, and there were several other patrons.
Wednesday morning came, and I woke up with a rash covering the left half of my face. Ugh. Another exchange with my doctor, and a picture sent, and he wanted me to get into their Respiratory Care Clinic. An appointment was made for 1:40 PM, and I was so sick, my wife had to drive me.
The protocol to get in was rather intense:
- Arrive at the parking lot, and call
- They will come and get you
- You switch from your mask to a disposable mask
- They take your temperature
- They lead you into a room
- The nurse calls you on your cell phone to do the check in items
- Then the doctor comes in. The doctor has an assistant who sits outside with the door ajar to take notes on the visit
Really weird. But, it is how to make it work in the Covid era.
Clearly, what I have is shingles. There is concern about it being around my ear, as shingles inside the inner ear can cause permanent hearing loss. Also, it is pretty close to the eye, and that has a similar risk.
But, about 20 minutes later I walk out with a prescription for Valtrex, and Keflex. The Valtrex to treat the shingles (and it does work a charm, albeit with friggin horse pills) and the Keflex is to address any skin infections, a common cofactor in shingles. I was warned that Keflex is a bit hard on the gut.
I could easily win a flatulence contest. And I might need a new toilet. Advice was to take some probiotics. Been eating yogurt, and that does help.
By Friday I was feeling pretty good. Still a rash, but the swelling is less. The pain is way down, the temperature is normal-ish, and the face feels sort of like when the novocain wears off after a filling at the dentist.
Two follow up visits. First was to an ophthalmologist to have a good look at my eye. Phew, totally normal (except for my piss poor vision). The second was an in person visit with my PCP (actually his second, as he was off for the day). All looks good. The post novocain feel is nerve damage, and it can take a few months to go away. Swell, but I can deal with it.
Also, Thursday my test results came back, no Covid.
As I said, whatta week.