Saturday, April 27, 2013

rhymes with shingles

What’s that? Despite the nauseating feeling you experience upon breathing you’re interested in swallowing a pill the size of a deck of cards five times a day for seven days? Accompanied by a strange rash and general feeling of total body malaise? WELL HOLD THE EVERLOVING PHONE. Shingles it is!

I would be remiss if I did not tell you – I have shingles. That’s right. All you discerning readers who thought that my casual mention of “shingles” in my last post was just another one of my whimsical, hyperbolic, and melodramatic cries for attention? Well, you were right. But on Friday I confirmed what I feared all along! since approximately 48 hours ago. The red, vesicular rash on the right side of my abdomen that alternately feels itchy and ultra-sensitive has been with us – all of us! we are the world[1]! etc. – since Monday. But it wasn’t until rapid-fire consultation with five different physicians[2] that I had the pleasure of a confirmed diagnosis and VERY AGGRESSIVE treatment plan – pills, deck of cards, take by mouth basically every 15 minutes, etc. – to follow.

So here I am, REALLY, REALLY needing to get back to like, being a competent and together lawyer, because I can only be excused for so many doctors appointments in one 72 hour period unsure whether the intermittent waves of nausea and sudden predilection for bland carbohydrates – and distaste for, no, ABSOLUTE DISGUST FOR, chocolate and sweets[3] – have more to do with the toxic horse pills or the gaggle of cells hopefully-developing-normally in my uterus[4]. Also, let’s be honest – the absurdity of having shingles during my first trimester, after trying desperately to get and stay pregnant for 14 months is really, truly HILARIOUS[5]. <end scene>

[1] The best kind of vintage MTV. Also, Bethenny Frankel has totally been rocking an MJ look lately. (Yeah, that’s right, I just referenced Bethenny Frankel. What of it?)
[2] Doctor #1 (primary care doctor): <takes one look> It looks like zoster[2]. I’m giving you a prescription for Acyclovir, one pill, five times a day, for seven days. The OBs say it won’t affect the pregnancy.
Doctor #2 (OB who primary care doctor has consulted regarding treatment because, hellopregnantohmygodFETUS! and who has kindly run up five flights of stairs to inspect me herself): <panting – you know, from running – takes one look> I agree with [Doctor #1]. It looks like zoster. Cue: many reassuring words about how zoster has no effect on a developing fetus despite what you may have read on webmd/the treatment is completely safe in pregnancy.
[Intermission, i.e. Thursday evening, in which C, on call at the hospital, where I have just been for two hours, is basically having an aneurysm and freaking the fuck out. Unsatisfied with merely two opinions, he pulls strings so that I can see an infectious disease doctor first thing Friday morning.]
Doctor #3 (infectious disease fellow): <takes one, slightly longer look> It looks like zoster to me. But I want to bring in the attending to see what she thinks.
Doctor #4 (infectious disease attending): <deep in concentration, even breaks out a little flashlight for some serious inspection, which naturally makes me feel like I’m in a spy thriller because obviously> Hmmmmm. I’m not sure it’s zoster. I would stop taking the medication. If it is zoster, it’s mild and it should resolve on its own. There’s no evidence that Acyclovir harms a pregnancy but you’re so early on and there just isn’t a lot of evidence on the effect of Acyclovir in pregnancy. Call your OB and see what she thinks.
<Sarah, *face palm*, panicked, having already taken 3 doses of what now appears to be fetus poison, etc.>
Doctor #5 (my “high risk[2]” obstetrician who I haven’t actually been properly referred to yet because I haven’t actually had my first ultrasound with the fertility clinic but whose nurse suffers through my calls regardless): YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST FINISH THE ENTIRE CYCLE OF MEDICATION. THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.
[3] The horror! But seriously, folks. Let us take a moment to mourn the loss of this very important food interest. And please check back for my absolutely captivating forthcoming post detailing the CATASTOPHIC changes in my quibbling, disgusting, only-eats-starch diet which I continue to resist (unsuccessfully). You know, between the waves of nausea and fear of scurvy. 
[4] I know, I know. Nausea plus strong food aversions plus boobs-so-sore-no-touching! is, potentially, good news. But like my dear friend Tina Fey says, “My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.” <it’s like she knows me!>
[5] I am nearly certain that this baby is ripping up my medical bills. Good baby.


  1. See! I told you you'd find your "pregnancy voice!"

    No, just kidding. This is seriously awful news. I've heard can be extremely painful. How are you feeling (aside from the obvious anxiety)? So sorry you're dealing with this. UGH.

    But, the good news is, the other symptoms you're describing sound word for word perfect to me as pregnancy symptoms. Or, at least, like MY pregnancy symptoms.

    Welcome to the beautiful world of being pregnant (with shingles??).

  2. Oh man, I'd be scared/possibly develop chin acne too. I tend to be pretty neurotically anti-pharmeceuticals most of the time, and when pregnant, well...I understand what you're saying. I hope this clears up soon! I know of several women who have as an early pregnancy symptom a complete knock-down in their immune systems, so probably this is a good (if unpleasant) sign!?!

    Also, can I just say that I kind of love seeing you call that little thing baby? Warm fuzzy. Hope you're feeling better soon, and you guys look after each other!

  3. Ugh. Shingles. Well, at least you're not growing a third arm, right?

    Really, though. Crap. I'm sorry. This sounds pretty high up there on the unpleasant scale. (But I still feel giddy when I remember that you're pregnant, even if the memory is cued by a viral infection!) I hope it clears up really really soon. Along with the chocolate aversion. Because THAT is a real tragedy.

  4. Best. Footnotes. Ever. (Also, super bummer re: zoster-- sorry dear!)

  5. Oh no! Sending sympathy your way (for what it's worth!)

  6. Ack!! This? This is not what you need, not only from a discomfort but perhaps moreso from an anxiety perspective. Yuck. Hoping this passes SOON.

  7. Crappy, crappy, crappy. So not what you need now. Hoping it resloves asap.

  8. Oh no! My dad had shingles and they are NO FUN. I can't imagine having them during pregnancy. After having this baby you should look into getting the shingles vaccine- once you have shingles you are at risk for getting it over and over again. I hope it clears up soon!

  9. Gurrrrl, I feel you. I got shingles in the very brief time I was pregnant and still have red patches where they were. Sucks! Hope yours go away really quickly.

    1. What?! For real? Unbelievable. My OB said she also has another first trimester patient with them. Apparently something about your immune system being down so that it doesn't reject the fetus, plus some other medical babble.
      Anyway, I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Shouldn't we be like, excused from this kind of bs, having you know, already gone through infertility? Hang in there.

  10. Omg, are you serious?! Why do so many people get shingles these days? You poor thing... that is not fun. Is it super unsightly? Hopefully you can hide it and it starts to go away fast. One dude I know on FB started posting all these gross photos of his shingles, which he had clearly let go for WAY too long... I highly recommend against doing that.