Well, I had great plans for my ten days off -- work on the apartment, organize the office, deep-clean the kitchen, read, and study Haskell!
So much for best-laid plans. Just before Christmas I came down with a shingles infection, which started in my right eye.
Shingles is a reactivation of the herpes zoster or "varicella" virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox. I did a near all-nighter the Monday a week before Christmas, which might not have been too bad, but then the following night we had a sick baby and I was also unable to sleep. That was apparently enough stress to cause the virus to reactivate.
Shingles is painful. I have become intimately familiar with two new types of pain, which I call the blowtorch and the nightstick. The blowtorch is a feeling like my skin is being burned by an open flame and is bubbling. That is the sensation of the blisters forming, although it comes at other random times too. The nightstick is deep pain along the nerves of my face, where they feel like I've been beaten. That produces a tremendous amount of muscle tension in my jaw, and around the base of my skull as well, where large areas are still hyper-sensitive to touch.
Valtrex (an anti-retroviral drug) also has nasty side effects. I got waves of fever and chills, often back-to-back. It also caused nausea, diziness, and strange visions. I'm off the Valtrex now, so thankfully those side effects have gone away.
For most of my ten days off work I was fairly incapacitated: unable to see, unable to read, lying in bed with fever or chills and with strange pains, covered with blisters and scabs. When I got out of bed, I was dizzy, stumbling around the house looking like a crazed sunburned pirate with an eye-patch on.
Anyway, I am now back at work. The scabs are gone, although my face is still visibly splotchy. My right eye is still swollen and there is still some pain. I am still using an antibiotic gel in my eye, which means my right eye is still hazy, so I am not driving yet. I see my regular doctor today and the ophthalmologist again tomorrow. I think the likely outcome is that my vision will not be significantly damaged. It seems like the pain will persist at reduced level for at least a while longer.
Dear reader, I sincerely hope you had a better holiday than mine. And if not, God bless you!