My name is Ana and I am 50 year old English lass. I am currently working in Atlanta Georgia (USA). When I was back in England in march I had indigestion pains in my upper chest. They came and went.
Then on April 13th I had a wee itch on my right shoulder blade. I thought it was a thread from my shirt so changed shirts. Then I got 2 bug bites on my right breast just where my bra line is.
Over that weekend my 'indigestion pain' became constant. I went to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. They did EKG and chest x ray and found nothing. The Dr examined me and saw the 'bug bites' and diagnosed me with Shingles. The rash spread across my right breast, under my right arm an across the upper portion of my back to my spine. The chest pain continued and I was put on Oycodene and acyclovire and sent home
One week later I got up in the morning and found I had a massive headache and I could not bend my head forwards and hated light.A migraine.....I get them about once a year. I had lifted a box the day before helping a desperate friend move (stupid) so assumed I had pulled something which caused me to have a migraine. I had a chiroparactor appointment that morning. I explained the symptons of my 'neck pull' and she sent me to the Dr and told me she theought I had Meningitus.
My Dr is just up the street and saw me that morning. She saw that I had very restricted movement of my head up or down and left to right (classic test for meningitus).She sent me to the ER. They gave me a lumbar puncture (successful on first try) and we waited for the results. it came back that i had meningitus but they did not know which type. They admitted me and put me in isolation. I was on Acyclovire and Morphine drips and fluid drip.
After 2 days in hospital the pain got worse and I could not eat. They put me on a morphine drip but I kept throwing up so they had to change to something called 'Delotted' which is stronger than morphine. They also gave me Fenagrin injections into deep muscle to stop the nausea. They put the delotted on a pump.
I was in hospital for 8 days total and when released I could not walk as I was so week. My head pain in hospital was a 10 at times and the pain meds only ever got it to 7.
My shingles compared to the meningitus was not that painful. However, I had lost feeling under my right armpit and the right armpit sweated and the left did not. I also still had the chest pain.
It is 3 months later and in terms of the shingles: I have regained feeling under my armpit. The chest pains have stopped being constant and only occur when I cough or sneeze. I am left with a big knot under my right shoulder blade and my shoulder and neck muscles sometimes spasm/contract giving me a neck ache. But massage has helped with this and the knot is reducing.
As for the meningitus: I have good days...and bad days.... I always seem to have headache at a number 2-4 pain level which is great considering I was at 7-10 before. Some days I have number 1! I always lean my chin to my chest and that gives me a gauge of the inflamation in my meningies. I do get tired very easily. I sort of hit a wall and have to lay down.
The Dr's think that the shingles virus went to my spine and thus causing the meningitus. They thankfully treated the shingles within the critical 48 hours of the rash appearing and they treated the meningitus within 8 hours of the headache appearing.
I have stopped work and just do one thing a day. Go to the bank or food shopping. I have read this site avidly and are listening to your sage advice and trying not to do too much.
I believe that helping my friend move and not resting when I had a bad case of shingles, is what shifted it into Meningitus.
I believe I am incredibly lucky to have been ill in the U.S. because they assume the worst case scenario when you walk into the Er. Where as in U.K. they work up from the least. So in England they send you home telling you that you have a migraine or flu. A week later they realise you have not but your meningitus has really done a lot of damage by then.
But...in America they do not have a web site like this so I am thankful that I have support.
I have worries that you may be able to help me with:
I worry that this will come back.
I want to know about people describing emotional problems. Like what? What do I need to look out for?
Thank you all for being on this blog and helping folks like me out,