pain in the…face: part three

The rule of thumb is the faster you seek treatment for herpes zoster, the sooner the damaged nerves heal, and the sooner the pain subsides. I didn’t know what the mess on the right side of my face was, but thought it was a drug reaction to an antibiotic my dentist gave me after root canal surgery. This story has no happy moments! Sorry. Root canal. At least it’s something normal people have done, not one of these one in a million or 39 examples in 150 years of records (or whatever it was) deals!

The chain of events is a blur. All I know is I made an appointment to see my doctor, the veteran MD who’d never seen a worse case of herpes zoster in all his years practicing medicine. It was a week or more after onset before I saw my doctor, plenty of time for the disease process to really foul up my facial nerves! He sent me to a regional hospital immediately because the disease threatened both my hearing on the right side and my right eye.

Sorry for the aside. Back to where I scream and call on Satan or God to end my pain and gain a follower. You know, the goat sacrifice.

I took prescription painkillers (the narcotic painkiller oxycodone) for a short time after I was diagnosed. Strong stuff. The stuff druggies pay hundreds of dollars to procure for their habits. I belong to a different tribe: The sooner I can stop taking painkillers, the better. I just don’t like the idea of addiction, no matter how miserable I am.

Once I stopped the painkillers, I had mostly good times, with occasional sharp pains in the corner of my right eye that cut their way down to the bottom corner of my nose. It’s difficult to explain herpes zoster pain. A burning itch with knives stabbing a hundred times a second? Severe, at any rate, drop you to your knees strong. I couldn’t drive across town for fear a pain attack might happen. If it did, all I could do was stop the car, scream as loud as I could till the pain subsided, then struggle to get home.

If the pain happened at home, I either heated a wet towel to boiling hot and wrapped my head in it or splashed icy water on my face. I guess either way interrupted the pain signals transmitted from my face to my brain. These methods worked at any rate, though sometimes I had to try both to get relief.

By “occasional”, I mean at least once a day, sometimes as many as four pain attacks in the early days. I discovered if I touched a certain spot on my back or another on my head, I could trigger a pain attack. Gad! You know I fought touching those spots! I couldn’t believe they existed, so…! Instant icy water or steaming towel time, every time I yielded to the temptation!

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X X-mas

People ask me, “Doug, what exactly was it you did at the factory before you retired? The answer is more difficult than the job I did. I analyzed data “and stuff”! I made charts that no one used, it turned out, but that would have been of great value had they taken the time to look at them.

Anyway, I created this one last chart showing my finances in vague and altered form to foil the math-proficient. Hee! Hee!

Half of this year, I was dealing with BlueCross BlueShield to re-establish health insurance. I DO have it again, at a cost of nearly 50% of my income! God love AMERICA! On December 15th, BC BS will debit my account for four months’ insurance. At once. To the tune of significantly over $4000. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

When it became clear that the debit would happen, of course, I had to talk really fast with my financial advisor. God bless my financial advisor!

When I started to get all whiney about all that money going out of one account into another so I wouldn’t get another $30 charge for insufficient funds and another $10 charge for accepting a transfer of funds into my depleted checking account, my financial advisor reminded me many people don’t have money they can transfer from one account to another.

(Fie on 1st National Bank anyway! Ho! Ho! Ho!)

He got me thinking.

Christmas will be rough this year but I have many blessings, in no order:

1. Mom is doing well at the care center and will be 97 in February! Praise the Lord!

2. My insurance is outrageous because I have one heck of a precondition, one that makes no insurance suicide, BUT, I have insurance: Millions of Americans don’t. Shame on AMERICA! The Lord provided for me! America?

3. I have food and a warm place to live, even if the rent is going up to well over $600 a month in January. Insurance and rent take over 70% of my income a month! But I have enough. Many don’t. The Lord provides what I need!

4. Seven years ago, I nearly died of Wegener’s granulomatosis. I thank the Lord that I have been in remission for 5 years 8 months! I should be dead!

5. My brother, sisters, and their families are doing well! Praise the Lord!

6. No one in the family died or was hospitalized! Thank you Heavenly Father!

Count your blessings this Christmas, and know that the greatest gift of all is Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of God’s promise to us in John 3:16. So, it turns out “The Greatest Gift Of All” wasn’t that gift-wrapped Lexus in the driveway or that 52 inch HD LED television in the front room afterall!

God’s blessing on you this season!

Doug ~ AKA weggieboy