As soon as I saw her get off the bus, I bent and gently hugged her without coming into contact with her swollen face. I lifted her hair to note a couple of "rashy" spots on her scalp. After seeing the doctor, he called in a colleague and they decided that Mom has shingles. Then he turns to me and says, "I hope you've had chicken pox because this is highly contagious..." oh sh___!!! I don't remember having it but did have measles 3 times, we're hoping that one of those was chicken pox and that I have immunity.
Poor mom has only been out of isolation a week and now she'll go back in. And, I can't go see her until I get the results of a blood test to determine if I'm immune or not. She was looking forward to my visit and I planned to take her cousin there for a visit with pie and coffee - that's all on hold now. As for me, I need to stay optimistic and pray the virus away because chicken pox in adults can get bad.
I think the ER missed the shingles diagnosis because it doesn't normally show up on the face and scalp. Mom's had it in the past on her back around her waist. The doctor said they look for "geometry" or lines where the pox appear - it has definite boundaries. In this case, the pox are quite concentrated on the upper left side of her head. Picture this; the "bottom" boundary is an imaginary a line from under her nose horizontally toward her ear and around the back of her head. The other "line" goes from her left nostril up straight over her forehead and over the top to the nape of her neck. It was just all swollen and painful looking. She's on a pain patch to help with her arthritis so the infection doesn't hurt as bad as it might otherwise. So - now we're both in a sort of isolation - she must stay in her room and I have to stay away from others and her - for now anyway. Damn.
Shingles on the face, shingles around the eye, shingles on the head, scabby rash red swelling swollen eye face