Thursday, October 22, 2009

Update Schmupdate

Sometimes I hate coming up with a title.

I shouldn't have promised that I wasn't going to write about shingles in my next entry. It made me not want to write at all. I've been taken over by shingles. I'm all about the shingles. Shingles, shingles, shingles. The funny thing is I think the name sounds sort of fun, don't you? Shingles, jingles, pringles! Wheeee! The reality is it sucks dong-dingles.

I suppose I'm now into the realm of postherpetic neuralgia, though no doctor has actually said I have it. And, I haven't asked any doctor because I don't want to hear it. But my rash is almost all cleared up and yet the pain,...ohhhhhh the pain, it goes on.

But it doesn't constantly go on. The drugs, they are strong and good and fine and good. Yes. They're double good. They really do fool me in to thinking that I'm all better and ready to rock n'roll. I feel sort of guilty taking them because I actually feel a lot better - but I've learned, and keep re-learning that I'm very much NOT BETTER.

Last Saturday I visited the fancy downtown hospital like I do every few days. Unfortunately, my kind young doctor was away on a conference so I was ushered into see an old stodgy looking guy who ordered me to sit and then seemed to be very put-off that I couldn't speak Korean very well. He spent a few minutes scolding me about it and I inwardly groaned, knowing that we were not off to a good start. As he spoke to me in halting English he wrote out everything he was saying - in that scrawly cursive docwriting that they must teach in medical school. I couldn't read what he was writing even if I'd wanted to. His idea was that the medicine wasn't getting the job done and so we would increase the remedy. I was fine with that, even though the oxycodone almost smothers the pain and I was quite satisfied with how it was working. He was going to change the meds, and described the patch I was going to apply and leave on for three days in lieu of popping pills a few times a day. I was interested because I'd been secretly wishing that they would just give me an IV drip that I could drag around. A three day bandaid that would seep narcotics into my bloodstream through my skin sounded intriguing. So I walked out of there with my usual 12 pills a day and two Duragesic® patches. back at home, google told me that the patches would deliver fentanyl into me. Fentanyl: approximately 100 times more potent than morphine. Hello!

So long story longer, I spent another day finishing up my oxycodone and then opened up one of the Durogesic® patches and stuck it on my upper arm. It was just like a bit of tape, clear except for the name written in orange, about 10cm long and 3cm wide. Around 11 o'clock I went to bed and slept for about 12 hours. I noticed when I got up around 8 for a mid-slumber pee that I was wobbly and had to halt a couple of times on the way to the loo to stop myself from careening into the wall as if my apartment was on a great big slant. Around 11, it wasn't an alarm clock that woke me, was more like a fire alarm. The usual fire that was my shingles was back, but in addition all of me was on fire! And freezing! And just crawling! It felt like my skin was trying to abandon ship. I was having side effects, but even worse - the patch wasn't working! I had full on stabby shingle fire, which was something I'd managed to avoid on the oxycodone. I sent a message to my awesome nurse and told her what was happening and she told me to come back in to the hospital and they'd increase the fentanyl or change meds again.

So I went down and saw my favourite doctor who questioned why I'd even been put on the patch anyhow - as it was very useful for people taking scads of pills who couldn't handle all the swallowing, but I can handle the 3 tiny oxy (plus 12 other pills) I was taking a day. He put me back on oxycodone and sent me off to the nurse who puts a needle in my ass and spanks me bye-bye. I went into work to try to beg to NOT be there, as I was feeling creepy and crawly and frankly flu-like. My co-workers eventually conferred and told me I could go home if I needed to, but about 20 minutes before that whatever they'd given me at the hospital had kicked in and I was feeling a lot better. By the time I started my last class at 9, I was feeling pretty fine. Just after I thanked my co-workers for their willingness to cover my classes, I was told that we'd all have the following day off!

The government is proposing to pass laws to regulate private study academies in Korea. Surely there is more information on other sites and when I come across it I'll update with some links. To be honest, I don't care one way or the other - but I thank the hagwon associations that advised everyone to close up shop for a one-day strike and head up to Seoul to protest. None of us went to Seoul, and I sure wasn't going to protest about my unexpected one-day holiday! I decided to lie down around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon for a little nap - and I woke up around 9:30. IN THE MORNING!! That's 17 hours. It seems I'm training for the Sleep Olympics.

So that's what I'm like these days. Slow and dopey. Prone to naps. I've been hoarding sleep like it might not be available anymore at some point in the near future. I can't really not think about shingles, because it has pretty well consumed me. And for the time being I'm okay with that. It's still just one day at a time over here at Shingles Central. I'm just meandering through whatever it is I have to do - shower, eat, work - until I can lay my head down for another nap.

Thanks again to those of you who have wished me well and hoped for my speedy recovery. Your comments and e-mails have meant a great deal to me, really. Being sick anywhere sucks fo sure, but I think it especially sucks in a foreign country. I think I might elaborate on that when it's not time for another nap. I need to especially thank Kevin for his really wonderful and most appreciated e-mail. He's a generous guy, that Kevin is - for even considering me and taking the time to write such a concerned and encouraging note while facing far more serious health issues with his mom. Thank you, my friend.

Let me finish this off by saying that I wish zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


아만다 said...

Did you scold him for not speaking English?

Seriously, hope you get better soon. Or eventually, as the case may be.

Foreigner Joy said...

Yes get better soon. But I hope the doctor isn't just giving you pain meds in hope it will go away some day. But thank good ness for a day off!

Mike Bohemoth said...

Just inform him to save that Doctor House shit for someone else more gullible....and step lively with the synthetic opiates. Can't believe you got ANY pills to manage your pain since every doctor in Korea seems to have adopted the pain-management approach of "quit bitching and endure".

Blog through the pain.


Kevin Kim said...

You're welcome, J, and thanks for your emails as well.


Jelly said...

Thanks people!

Mike, I'm going to have to spend a lot of time catching up on your blog. There was a time I thought you'd given up blogging. I'm glad you haven't!

Joy, I've been thinking about your comment for a week and I don't understand it: "But I hope the doctor isn't just giving you pain meds in hope it will go away some day." I don't know what that means! As opposed to giving me pain meds in the hopes I'll have it forever?

Foreigner Joy said...

Ah sorry about that Jelly. Didn't mean to be vague. I just meant that maybe they could be treating you better by doing more tests instead of just giving you pain meds.

In my experience taking pain meds for a long time can cause more problems in the future. But really I Am not a doctor. I was just worried they were giving you the pain meds and sending you on your way so you wont be a bother,

I am going to read your latest post. and catch up.