My husband noticed a place on his shoulder that was both itchy and sore. He wondered if he’d been bitten by something, or if it was a reaction to a plant scratch. The next day, there were distinct red marks which developed into blisters over 24 hours. We managed to see the GP the following afternoon and she told us that we were lucky to be seeing her since the antiviral drugs she was prescribing had to be started within 72 hours of the start of the symptoms. She reassured me that shingles was not an air-borne virus and therefore it was alright for us to visit grandchildren and continue normal life. The trouble really began about a week after the blisters appeared. My husband reported feeling as though someone was sticking a red hot poker into his shoulder and at the same time, if he rubbed the shoulder, the skin felt numb! Our GP said that this problem would go away when the rash healed.
But it didn’t. The pain was so great that he could only sleep on his other side, and even then if he moved a bit and the sheets moved on his shoulder, the pain would wake him up. Our daughter brought us the Shingles Support Society’s PHN information pack which included medicines that the GP could prescibe, so we asked to try them. It was dissapointing at first as the pain is not immediately banned, he had to take the drugs for several weeks before he noticed a difference. But now he is glad he persevered as the stabbing pains are much reduced – they still happen occasionally but instead of being so severe that he has to drop what he’s doing and just breathe, ow he can carry on through them. He has started to drive again now, something he couldn’t risk doing when the pain was hitting him badly.