Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Shingles: You Hear About It All the Time


My husband's parents had a visit from relatives who live in another state. They had not seen each other for awhile and decided to continue catching up on news, health news over dinner. What a lovely conversation 'shingles' is ... over dinner... My father-in-law had a case which covered his left arm and part of his side. I don't know how many people have had someone they know get shingles but it is NOT something you get over fast nor is it something easily dealt with. My mom had it and lived in her nightgown, not leaving her house, for about 6 weeks. My father-in-law had it when he went to the hospital and then to rehab; it even affect his left arm where he could not raise it up. It took him about 2 months and had to continue with physical therapy.
(picture from Bing). The Mayo Clinic says: Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who's had chickenpox may develop shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus can enter your nervous system and lie dormant for years. Eventually, it may reactivate and travel along nerve pathways to your skin — producing shingles. Symptoms can start early before you even see it: pain, burning, numbness or tingling; a red rash that begins a few days after the pain; fluid filled blisters that ooze then crust over; itching; some people get fever and chills, general achiness, headache and fatigue.
The one good thing that my father-in-law had was that he was already in the hospital when the rash manifested itself and was able to get the medicine intravenously right away. I took my mother to her doctor a couple of days after -- we were thinking it had to do with a new soap!! The doctor gave her medicine but it took a lot longer to have an effect on it. All in all -- it is very painful. Like I was told, even wearing clothes can hurt, putting a sheet over you can hurt. gives possible reasons why the chicken pox virus can rear its ugly head again: an aging immune system (most common in those over 50 -- YEA ME!!), stress ( OK - #2 for me), medications that weaken immunity like chemo or meds given after transplants, infections that weaken immunity - like HIV.
Although you cannot catch shingles like you can chicken pox, it is best if you are wary, to stay away or use gloves while the patient has blisters that have not healed.
The Mayo Clinic also lists possible complications. Postherpetic neuralgia. For some people, shingles pain continues long after the blisters have cleared. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia, and it occurs when damaged nerve fibers send confused and exaggerated messages of pain from your skin to your brain.
Vision loss. Shingles in or around an eye (ophthalmic shingles) can cause painful eye infections that may result in vision loss.
Neurological problems. Depending on which nerves are affected, shingles can cause an inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), facial paralysis, or hearing or balance problems.
Skin infections. If shingles blisters aren't properly treated, bacterial skin infections may develop.


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You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.

A Caregiver's Poem

I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!

Grandma’s Pearls of Wisdom:
(picture from Caregivers Blog)

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.

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