First off- who the fuck named it... "Shingles." Certainly, no one (and I mean no one) who ever had it. In Denmark it's called "Hell Fire," and that certainly is way, way closer to the truth. "Shingles" sounds like something you get at the local hardware along with a Phillips Head to do some minor home repair. This stuff is serious- serious fucking pain writ large. I had kidney stones last year (which someone described as the male version of giving birth), that's a cool walk in the park compared to this shit.
Although specifics can vary from individual to individual, it can start with a general discomfort on a certain area of your skin usually covering one side of your torso- no big deal. Then after a week, a rash begins to develop, expand and redden- mine formed one blood red, happy face from the front of my chest, continuing under my left arm and then up the shoulder on my back. In short, it looked like a Great White chomped me in half. Then came the blisters... and the pain. On a scale of 1 to 10... easily a 15. I got some calamine lotion, and it immediately cooled and soothed somewhat for about half an hour. Then it dried, and contracted and... burst practically every one of those damn blisters. Pain level up to 20... 25 now; we're talking bona fide 3rd degree burn pain on a very significant portion of your body! Let's get this straight- your body actually manifests the actual equivalent of 3rd degree burns... Holy Freakin' Stigmata!
I spent the night tossing, turning and generally making some pretty pitiful sounds till I finally fell asleep from exhaustion around 4AM. The second night was a repeat, and in desperation got myself to the ER around 7AM where they gave me two giant oxycontin, and... nothing. Finally, someone walked in with a needle, I didn't bother looking- but it hurt like a son of a bitch. Then... all was at peace, no pain, no strife, just universal love and happiness; and I just sat there with one serious, shit eatin' grin on my face! I was pain free till 3PM, and haven't been since- that was on July 26.
The rash itself is almost completely healed, but the pain persists and extends well beyond what was the visible rash; it has subsided- the equivalent of a first degree burn during the day, second towards evening. I do take a small dosage of oxycontin ("hillbilly heroine") at night which helps take the edge off the pain and allows me sleep (for some thoroughly evil reason, it hurts even more at night), during the day- off the counter stuff, more placebo than anything else.
Doctors say there is no real pain relief for this kind of nerve damage, and I'm guessing whatever was in that needle's a bit too potent for anyone's long term good. A friend tells me it can well last... six months. I sure hope not- I wouldn't wish this on anyone, not even my worst enemy (except for, ya know: Hitler, Trump, the Conservative/Republican trolls on comment threads who use the term "Libtard"). Oh, and it's caused by the Chicken Pox virus that remains dormant in your body for twenty, thirty, forty years... one in three of you will get it.