Thursday, August 13, 2015

shingles vaccine from hell!!

I am strongly pro-vaccine.  It's delightful that children aren't stuck in iron lungs nowadays.  I remember having the mumps and am glad my kids didn't have to suffer that way.  My grandmother died of cervical cancer, and I'm happy my daughters can get a vaccine that will dramatically decrease their chances of getting that cancer.  Etc.., etc.. But now I have met the shingles vaccine, and it has kicked my ass.

The other day I had a physical, with a new-to-me doctor.  The main takeaway was that your DH is officially an old.  I turned fifty, and I have arthritis in my knees.  It is time for me to get a colonoscopy.  And I was subjected to a shingles vaccine.

I was happy to get the shingles vaccine, as one of  my colleagues at my volunteer job had a debilitating case of the shingles and was ill for a month.  She went through hell, and that was fresh in my mind.

But the morning after the shingles vaccine, I woke up with my arm swollen, discolored, and itchy.  It was very dramatic looking, a huge, dark red circle protruding from my arm.  I went ahead and left for my volunteer shift, working in a wildlife rehab clinic.  About an hour into my shift I began to feel lightheaded and faint.  I took a break and went to the break room, where I hydrated myself and ate a bunch of peanut brittle on the excuse that raising my blood sugar might help.  Once my blood was surely fizzing with sugar, I went back to work.  I felt like I was going to faint.  My colleagues said I was flushed.  I went and sat outside in the shade, and before I knew it, an hour had passed by.  I went back inside.  Although everyone urged me to go home, I didn't want to make Iris uber Alles leave early, as it was her last weekday volunteer shift before school started.  Eventually we left, and I drove cautiously.

At home I took to my bed.  My arm worsened.  I began feeling violent stabbing pains, and flu symptoms were starting.  Dr. Google was inconclusive.  It seemed like I was having a worse reaction than normal, but since my breathing was okay, it seemed safe.  But I was miserable.  If I stood up, I felt dizzy and faint, so I avoided that.  I emailed my doctor.  I whined.

The next day I woke up with a pounding headache, but the pain had subsided in my arm.  It was still swollen, sore, and discolored, but it mainly only hurt if it were touched.  My doctor wrote back saying that the dizziness was enough of a concern that I should have gone to the E.R.

My love for vaccines has been tested.  I love all but this one.  The sad part is that this vaccine is only good for five years, so it isn't going to be that long before the time to get it again rolls around.

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