Can’t Stand the Pain 痛不欲生

I always believe I was a tough guy!

Able to ride 40+ KM back home with my right hand seriously injured after accident and even managed to fully recover within two months after my Coronary Artery Bypass Graft operation.

I remained strong throughout and never felt desperate.

However, I finally reacquaint myself in 2023!

Woke up on the first day of 2023, I felt slightly painful with my waist. Assuming that was muscle soreness, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Few days later, I noticed that rash any blisters appeared on the left side of my waist. As this seemed to be abnormal, I immediately contacted my GP. Just as what most of those “UK concerned media” had emphasised, the recent NHS strike made the failing NHS system completely crumbled and the earliest appointment I could get was on the 25th of the month!

I have no choice but to contact my niece who was a doctor in Scotland. She told me that I got Shingles and advised me to refer to medical information as published by Scotland NHS for details. (Relevant information from UK NHS can be found here)





2023 年第一天醒來覺得腰部有點痛,以為是一般肌肉痛,沒有多加理會,數天後左邊腰部驚現皮疹及長出很多小水泡,看來情况有點不妙,即時預約 GP。 正如很多「UK關注媒體」所強調,英國的 NHS 醫療系統問題多多,再加上醫護罷工,最快的空檔竟然是 25 號!

無計可施下,唯有請教在蘇格蘭任職醫生的姪女,最後確認是 Shingles生蛇)。 為讓我對病情多些認識,她叫我參考 Scotland NHS 針對 Shingles 的醫療資訊。(UK NHS 相關的資訊在這裡

Unlike what were stated in NHS medical information, I didn’t have much discomforts during the initial stage of Shingles. There was no sign of complication and I was able to recover with just taking two Paracetamol caplets before sleep. I felt really great as those blisters started to flatten and dry out by mid-January.

To my surprise, what actually followed was continuous severe pain. Burning pains on my back and tingling around my abdomen appeared all day long which rendered me unable to sleep.

與 NHS 的資料有點不同,發病初期我沒有太大的不適,睡前食兩粒 Paracetamol 便足以應付,期間亦沒有甚麽併發症,十多天後水泡逐漸凋謝及結痂,心𥚃慶幸自己康復得頗不錯。 可是隨之而來卻是連綿不絕的劇痛,背部似被火燒,而腹部就像觸電,那種痛楚令我無法入睡。

My niece said that I might need much stronger pain killer and advised me to seek for help from pharmacy.

Having some understanding on my situation, the pharmacist at Boots considered my case was quite severe and recommended me to seek emergency appointment from my GP. I was so lucky that the GP surgery I registered did provide Emergency Service support. Upon filling up the online request form together with brief description of my situation and attached pictures of those blisters, I imediately got a telephone consultation within half an hour.

As I was already in the recovery stage, antiviral medicines against Shingles was not necessary. My GP just prescribed Codeine, a much stronger pain killer for me.

姪女說可能要服食更強的止痛藥,建議我去 pharmacy 問問。

Boots 的 pharmacist 聽了我的描述後覺得情況頗嚴重,提醒我應找自己的 GP 要求一個緊急支援,看看可否早點應診。 還好我登記的 GP surgery 有提供 Emergency Service,填完 online request form,簡要地說明自己的情況及附上身上水泡相片後,不到半小時便有醫生跟進。

由于我已在康復中,醫生說毋須注射疫苗,只給我強力止痛藥 Codeine

As prescribed, I had to take one to two tablets of Codeine along with Paracetamol for every four hours. Throughout that period, I finished one box of Paracetamol every two days in order to ease my pain. Fortunately Paracetamol was really affordable in UK at around 37p (about HKD 3.5) per box. Possibly this would be a nightmare should I need to buy it in Hong Kong!

As time had passed, was Codeine really eased my pain?

I had no clues! What I knew was the pain still haunting me and got immense everyday. I became so extremely sensitive to the pain that I hardly could sleep!

My friend once asked me if I got any better. To be honest, I was so depressed and overwhelmed with pain that i would rather die!

Given that Shingles would cause damages to the nerve around the rash and blisters, my niece suspected that I was suffering from Postherpetic neuralgia, a kind of relatively uncommon complication that nerve cords got damaged as a result of Shingles. Normal pain killers could not help and alternate treatment on how the body should react to pain, had to be taken.

It just happened that my original medical appointment was about to arrive. Based on the past treatment history, my doctor prescribed Amitriptyline to me, an antidepressant that changed the way the brain to interpret pain.

第二天早上到 Boots 取藥,每四小時一至兩粒,與 Paracetamol 一起服食,這段時間,每兩天便叫完一盒 Paracetamol,只好不停地到超市入貨,還好價錢一點都不貴,37p(約 HKD 3.5)一盒,如果在香港,單是買藥的費用恐怕已嚇你一驚!

日子一天一天地過去,Codeine 有用嗎?


有朋友問我病情有否好轉,情緒低落的我那刻心中只有四個字,「 痛不欲生 」!

由于 Shingles 會破壞患處的神經線,姪女估計我患上 Postherpetic neuralgia(帶狀疱疹後神經痛),是一種稍為不常見的後遺症,止痛藥已不能解决問題,要針對診治神經痛。 剛巧原本預約的診症時段已到,醫生瞭解完我的病情及參考之前用過的藥,最後給了我一種抗抑鬱藥 Amitriptyline,它能改變大腦對身體痛楚之演繹,以治療我的苦痛!

After taking Amitriptyline for more than a week, the pain gradually disappeared.

It took about seven weeks before my life finally returned to normal and the past painful experience would definitely remain in my heart forever!



Shingles was caused by reactivation of dormant virus in the body when the immune system had problem. Recalled that while I was infected with Covid-19 in last November and flu during Christmas holiday, my health certainly got deteriorated which inevitably made me more vulnerable to Shingles.

To speed up the recovery, strengthening of my health condition would be the prime objective. My great bike trainer would definitely be back on the stage!

Shingles 的主因是免疫力差而引致潛伏在體內的病毒活躍起來。回想去年十一月確診 Covid-19 後,十二月尾又再染上感冒,身體狀態早已變差,免疫力下降,難免終逃不過生蛇的命運。

隨着病情續漸康復,當務之急是要重新鍛鍊好身體,避免引發其他健康問題,家中的 Bike Trainer 又要再次出動了!

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21 replies »

  1. 疫情期間頭痛到想死,家庭醫生也開過Amitriptyline(如沒記錯),後來好番,檢查身體時提起此事,醫生才說我當時吃的是抗抑鬱藥。很多人在疫情期間都有抑鬱導致身體出現問題,我應是其中一個。不過那時自己不覺得自己是抑鬱。你可能未夠年紀打shingle的疫苗,美國在疫情期間也建議老人家打這隻疫苗。神經痛我好理解,之前就試過,真的痛不欲生,那次我是痛到要吃類固醇七天。

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