On Thursday, I started to feel weak but I couldn’t explain why. I took the afternoon off from work. Then in the evening, even after a long nap and a painkiller, I still didn’t feel better and my right arm was feeling itchy in places, so of course I scratched! Soon after, I got blisters everywhere. I thought they looked like chicken pox. But I already had the pox as a kid so I cannot have it again!
The next day, I took the day off again as I was feeling worse and G helped me get an appointment to a private doctor. My TAJ card expired (again); why is it that whenever I badly needed a doctor, my social insurance card is expired….but I digress.
I am sure my usual GP would have examined me anyway despite the expired card, seeing as I needed urgent help, but she would have sent me to a specialist who 1) might be fully booked for the next 4 months and cannot see me, and 2) doesn’t speak English so help me God.
So I was at this clinic near Wessényi where even the desk staff speaks English (and I am sure German too). I only needed to wait a while until i was asked in to see Doctor Harmos, an affable doctor. He checked the spots on my arm, made sure that there was nothing anywhere else on my body, and told me I have herpes zoster. Apparently, I was already the third person that day to see him with this condition. He said if you get the chicken pox as a kid, the virus doesn’t go away; it stays in your nerves, just dormant. Many years down the line, the virus will get reactivated, if the immune system is weak. The virus will manifest symptoms similar to chicken pox, although the red spots will be concentrated in one area of the body, instead of all over (as in the case of chicken pox).
He explained what I can do for the next couple of weeks. He then gives me prescription meds plus painkillers, which I think I really needed! He told me I needed lots of rest and sleep and no taxing physical activities. OK, I can do that!
In hindsight, I wish I had asked for something that will help me sleep. This thing, shingles (övsömör in Hungarian) causes me so much misery! It is very difficult for me to sleep because of the stabbing pain in my arm, even after taking painkillers.
If it’s not painful, it’s itchy! I made a DIY anti-itch bandage to keep me from scratching while I am asleep. I actually first learned about this when I was suffering from allergies – it was a suggestion from an eczema-related forum. I cover the spots with damp paper towels then wrap everything with cling wrap to keep the towels in place and to not get my clothes or bed wet.
So that is how life is looking so far for me this month. This is wasn’t what I expected to start 2021 with, but it is what it is. I do trust my doctor (and the Hungarian health care system, in general, despite the criticisms), and I do hope I will recover from this illness and the accompanying misery soon!
Dr Harmos Ferenc
Address: 1073 Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 14. 1/1. (doorbell 16)
Languages: Hungarian, English, German