You know, it’s funny how the mind forgets about things that aren’t pleasant. 

Over the weekend, I felt sluggish. Nauseated. And that is very rare for me. My gums were very sore. And getting worse instead of better.

By Monday I felt like I had the flu. And I’ve only had the flu twice in my life. But I recall how it felt.

Monday morning I called the dentist first thing. Something is wrong, I told her. 

At first I thought my mouth was just sore from having my teeth cleaned. 

I went in and the dentist and hygienist looked at my mouth. Then she looked at my records, and said: “Looks like you might have what you had a year and a half ago after we worked on your teeth.”


“Do you recall that you got shingles after we worked on your teeth?”

No, I’d happily forgotten all about it. 

Because shingles in your mouth, which then spreads to other places, isn’t something you want to remember.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m not as young as I once was and I have enough worrisome things on my mind. Like most folks.

Over the weekend, I recall my head hurt. I wondered if I was getting migraines again. I haven’t had migraines since I left Texas. 

I couldn’t get in to see my doctor Monday. I went yesterday afternoon. 

I told her I’d never been so aware of my tongue. I have lived 60 years and I don’t recall my tongue feeling too big for my mouth. It’s hard to sleep at night when your tongue can’t find a place to go.

She said that was normal in this instance.

Normal? I thought I was losing my mind. Laying awake at night wondering where to put my tongue so I could go to sleep.

I dragged myself in there in the 100 degree heat. Naturally there were no handicapped spots in front. I was ready to crawl in a hole and cover my head with a tarp till autumn. 

Only to have her tell me what I pretty much already knew.

Last time, the dentist had told me, it was on the left. This time it is on the right. 

It started in my back upper teeth. Or rather, the gums over them. Which are red and swollen and angry. 

Then my forehead. Then I started feeling it on the right side of my lips. 

Then my right cheek. My eyelid. My right lower back. 

In the middle of the night Monday night, I woke up and it was on the roof of my mouth. I could feel the sore ridges of it with my overly large tongue.

How could I have forgotten that experience when I paid for three crowns and subsequently got shingles?

After the dentist visit on Monday, I went home and got Abi to go to the vet to get her stitches out where they removed a little cyst on her head. 

I told the vet that she wakes up coughing despite my running cool steam all night. And I give her Benadryl tablets that they’d told me to give her. 

Yes, they said, it likely is collapsing trachea. They x-rayed her chest, but didn’t see it. But, she told me, it doesn’t always show up unless they’re coughing.

Charlie has it too, I think. Just not as bad. 

All this makes me sad. 

My babies are sick. I am sick. I don’t care if I am sick as long as I can take care of my babies. 

I need my babies to be okay.

They’re 11 years old, and I’m looking at the computer screen right now and its blurry through tears because the very thought of not having my babies one day just terrifies me.  

The vet gave me another prescription for Abi and handed me another one to take to a pharmacy. I took it to Walgreens and the price for cough syrup was $60 for 2 ounces. I hesitantly declined. 

I felt horribly guilty and cried because I felt like I wasn’t taking good care of Abi. 

I got her some regular generic cough medicine yesterday. I still feel bad because I always get my pupsters what they need. I take good care of them.

Lordy Pete. it’s so hot and I feel miserable. I got a malt on the way home from the doctor. And then had to get medicine (for shingles and pain; hydrocodone I’m not crazy about. But if it will help me eat, I guess I’ll try it.)  

That malt tasted so good. I haven’t been able to eat much since I had my teeth cleaned over a week ago. I sucked that chocolate malt right down. 

I’m not too anxious to have any more dental work done at the moment. Even if I already could only eat on the right side, and now the right side has shingles.

Seems like the whole world is crazy right now. 

People wanting to spread violence and others inciting violence. 

People dead this week that were alive and well and going about their lives just a week ago. 

What has happened to people?  

Every time I turn on CNN I brace myself for what might have happened while I was taking a shower or sleeping or eating my lunch. 

Because it sure seems like a lot of bad stuff is happening right now. 

The whole world is like my shingles. Red with pent up anger, and spreading. With no end in sight. 

There will be an end to my shingles, I’m sure. 

But I don’t know about the rest of the world outside my door.

There were people in this world already starving and needing clean water. Dying of diseases that should have been conquered years ago. 

Then inexplicably there are those that have so much hate in their hearts that they feel compelled to hurt others by whatever means available to them.

I don’t get it. I really don’t get it. 

But you have to have hope. You can’t give up hope.




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  1. Brenda so sorry to hear what you are going through with your shingles and the pups also not good. In the US, do you have pet insurance? Just wondering if something like that would cover meds or stuff the pups might need?

  2. Oh Brenda, sorry I'm so late to respond. I was flying yesterday to visit my brother and too exhausted last nite to look at anything. Oh dang it,Shingles how awful. My Don had them once on his back and they kicked his butt. He was given two types of medicine which I have no idea what they were. I like the idea of the bland diet. I'd also suggest getting some frozen fruit and making your own smoothies. Sorry to hear about Abi. Just try not to think of what might happen it's just not going to be for now you are sick and it's all overwhelming. You and the pupsters just rest. We all love you and want to see you well.

  3. Dear Brenda, I'm so sorry you are suffering so much with shingles. I have had only a very, very mild case without much pain at all, but I know that it can be extremely painful and I can't imagine having it in your mouth. Although, a few years ago I got a herpes infection in my mouth on the inside of my lips and then a staph infection in my throat. I couldn't eat for nearly two weeks and ended up being hospitalized. I still have the scar tissue on the inside of my lips. That was very painful and awful. I lost ten pounds during that episode. Which I could stand to lose, but not that way!

    I think it is strange, too, that you have gotten shingles both times after seeing that dentist. You might want ask your doctor if something she is using–a method or implement could have caused the shingles to be active. I know the dental issues you've been facing have caused you stress, so maybe that is the major factor. It's just curious that it would happen both times.

    And then, also, you are stressed about your doggies' health and that adds another burden to your immune system. Then, when we are feeling physically and emotionally really bad I think our mind gravitates to negative tho'ts really easily–like all the violence and hatred in the world, etc. I would suggest you not watch the news until you are better, and focus on whatever makes you happy if you can. The negative input and thinking is not good for your immune system. Take a vacation from worry. That will help the pupsters, too. They can pick up on the negative energy you put out. Just take it easy and remember that you are a good person, a good pupster mommy and you are going to get well.

    I send you love, hugs, and healing energy.

    p.s. Perhaps some music you love would be good, too.

  4. Wow! So sorry to hear you are going through the pain of shingles. I've heard it is terribly painful. It must even more so in your mouth because you have to eat, drink and swallow. I get canker sores sometimes which are painful to I can't imagine shingles. Sorry to hear about Abi. i lost my dear Kayla in 2014 when she was 11 and my other senior will be 15 next month. I was so devastated every time I'd lose a pup tht I would go out and rescue another one to heal my heart. Just enjoy them in the now moment and don't look ahead. I'm sure you will have many more years with them. Hope you're better soon. It sucks beinng ill and having fur babies that are not feeling well either. Thinking of you and sending hugs, Sandy P.S. I've been reading for the past couple of days and decided to comment today.

  5. You have to be miserable. I have never heard of that I your mouth. My friend had them on her face. She was miserable but thought it was an allergy for awhile. I got the shot. My insurance paid for it. I'm not sure if Inwas on Medicare then.
    My Yorkie had the trachea issue. Also bad teeth and ear infections . It kills you when they don't feel well. You are good mama to your pups.
    The world is a mess. Our country is at an all time low as far as I am concerned. Hoping and praying for things to get better.

  6. I'm so sorry you're feeling so bad. I've never had shingles, but my mom has, and says that it was the most painful thing she has ever experienced! I hope you feel better very, very soon. It's so clear from reading your blog, just how much you love your pups. Try not to feel bad for having to decline $60.00 cough syrup. You take great care of them. And they know it!

  7. I am so sorry to hear all of this. I hope and pray that everything improves for you very quickly. Stay strong and have faith. You have many friends who care! (((hugs))) Goodness always prevails over evil in the end!

  8. I hopethe medicine you got will help with your shingles pain. I had shingles several years ago from the tip of my thumb all of the way up my arm. The shingles pain started at least a couple of weeks before the ugly sores appeared. I was told to get a vaccination for shingles, but have managed to put it off for years now. Maybe I better go ahead and get it soon.

    I hope your little Abi's trchea problems will improve. My little Fuzzy Pomeranian is almost 12 and has some trachea problems that cause him to cough and try to catch his breath occasionally. I hope his doesn't get worse.

    Take care. I hope you and Abi will both feel better soon.

  9. Oh Brenda. I truly feel your pain as I am experiencing an outbreak on the roof of my mouth…for probably the 100th time. That ole herpes virus lives in your spinal fluid and depending on where it's located in your spine, is where it attacks the body. So my outbreaks are always from the neck and up. I've dealt with this for 56 years (since I was 10 years old) and I do have some advice I've gleaned from 50+ years of dealing with it. The virus will lie dormant until your body is fighting an illness or is stressed. This naturally weakens the immune system and allows the virus to flare up. It can manifest itself as either shingles (a cluster of blisters) or as a 'fever blister' most commonly on the nose or lips where the skin is thinnest. As long as the blisters are in your mouth, I would strongly advise a very bland diet…any thing spicy will exacerbate the pain. My foods of choice are mashed potatoes and plain pasta, cottage cheese or plain yogurt. Basically bland and/or white food. LOL. A good way to tell when you are getting an outbreak is you will feel herpetic neuralgia in the affected area. To me, it feels like cold fire. Several years ago I finally found a doctor who would prescribe Valtrex as a daily dose instead of just a couple of days treatment. I take these daily for 18 months, then take myself off of them for 6 months to protect my liver. I'm currently in the 5th month of no meds, and hence the outbreak in my mouth and I'm expecting some to pop up on my lips soon. This week and last I've been dealing with a sinus infection…the underlying cause of this weeks outbreak. This virus is a nasty old thing and I'm so sorry you're having to deal with it. Maybe the next time you go to the dentist you can discuss your predisposition to an outbreak with him/her? Baby Oragel will help numb the pain if it's keeping you awake at night. Also works if you just have to eat something spicy. If you have an outbreak on your outer skin, there's a great product that works well. It's called Abreva and you can buy it at the drugstore. If you start feeling the herpetic neuralgia start with it immediately. It will help with the blistering and relieve some of the pain and lessen the length of time the blister lasts. Mine went from about 20'days to about 7. I'm never without my tube of it. I carry it in my purse so I can always be ready to fight off an attack. I hope some of this info is helpful. And I'm praying you are feeling much better today.

  10. Oh no, Brenda, when I read the word shingles, I just shuddered. I am so sorry. I hope that you and the pups feel much better very, very soon.

  11. Feel better soon Brenda and last summer the Urgent care prescribed my daughter cough medicine also, which wasn't covered under insurance. It too was 60 bucks. I declined and purchased the over the counter brand. It did the trick just fine.

  12. Dear Brenda, I'm so sorry to hear you are all under the weather. I so much enjoy hearing about your pups, as it reminds me of the few years I took care of my aunts 2 little Yorkies, Piper June & Nacho Joe. They were getting quite old when my aunt passed away from colon cancer. Her sister was also dying of breast cancer & asked me to take the dogs. Which I did with great love. I actually had never had a Yorkie before, as I usually have big STD Poodles…, as it turned out our poodles loved the Yorkies too. Be kind to yourself while you are all healing up. Thinking of you & sending healing white light for you all. ♥

  13. Wow, incredible eloquence and feeling.
    Things are not like this everywhere. When my kid had meningitis, we got into the doctor immediately and then into the hospital immediately and we never paid a cent. Socialized medicine. I love it. Choose your doctor. Pay according to your income, not your health. Sensible. Including for dentistry.
    As for current events, I recently heard an interesting podcast about why people choose violence:
    It just doesn't have to be so.

  14. Brenda, I've been enjoying your blog for a while but have never posted any comments. I just wanted to say I'm so sorry for how lousy you feel, and your pups. I pray you and they feel better very quickly. Don't feel guilty about the medicine – we all have to make decisions like that, and you should rest knowing you are a very good mom to those pups. We can't do everything, we do the best we can. I, like you, get so discouraged with the news and world events. I read this yesterday and it encourages me to be different: "Faith, hope and love are the three eternities. To look up and not down, that is Faith; to look forward and not back, that is Hope; and then to look out and not in, that is Love." -Rev.Edward Everett Hale, 1907. Here's to looking up, forward and out.

  15. So sorry for all your suffering. Sending you hugs (((��)))! Try to rest as much as you can and stay out of the heat if you can. Hope the cough syrup helps your babies

  16. I'm sorry to hear you're not feeling well. My hubby had shingles and he was miserable. I hope you're on an anti-viral and it's helping. XOXO

  17. What a mess! of pain that is for you & the pupsters. I have a lump in my throat for you. Get as much rest as possible. You are so right: the world is an angry mess. Thank heavens life isn't static. Sandy

  18. I'm so very sorry–it just doesn't seem to end, does it? My little dog is 12; I've lost so many during my life, I hate to face that again. A friend of mine had shingles in her eye!! You're right about all the hate in the world today. We'll have to band together and share the Hope and Love. I hope you are feeling better very soon.

  19. Shingles in the mouth! That sounds even worse than regular shingles which are horrible. And sick pups on top of it all! Sounds like you need to take very good care of yourself right now. The state of the world and our country is worriesome and even frightening. You are so right, we must have hope. Please take care.

  20. I'm so sorry to hear you have shingles. And with your dogs not feeling well either it seems like it's just too much. I know when you live alone and don't feel well it seems worse. Y have experienced this several times since my husband passed away. Don't worry about the world around us there​ will always be some mess going on and we can't do much about it. Concentrate on getting better yourself and rest as much as you can. Try and enjoy your free show out on your patio or watch something funny on TV. Sending good thoughts your way.

  21. oh dearest bean.
    the pain in your words … both physical and emotional.
    I've read every comment. so much love being sent to you. when I was release last week from the hospital I had to have a prescription filled to keep from getting blood clots until they do the paddle conversion. it was $470.00
    who has THAT kind of money??? the pharmacist got the company to get it down to 175.00 which I charged.
    I brush my teeth twice… sometimes 3 times a day.
    and I floss.
    the one time I had them cleaned at a dentist's office the hygienist had literally gone to deep around all my gums. I had terrible pain and couldn't eat for days. I vowed never to let them do that again. and my teeth are just fine.
    don't ever go back to them! xo♥
    too much invasive stuff is done to us now. it's ridiculous. get well dear bean. just rest and get well. you and precious little abi both.

  22. I know how you feel about the babies, I feel the same way about my girls. My Lily will be 15 in September, and she was diagnosed with cancer about 5 years ago so I feel lucky she's still with me. The vet at that time said the first indication of her going downhill will be if her appetite declines. So far, that has not happened, although every time she is hesitant to eat her morning Glucosamine cookie or her morning vitamin I get awfully worried that this is the beginning of the end. My poor old girl, and then the Monkey has siezures and that scares the heck out of me. I hope you feel better quickly, my friend. xo

  23. Brenda, how horrible for you. And sorry ABI is not doing so well. I know how hard it is when your babies start getting old and have health problems. I went through this with my sweet dog Romeo, and now that he is gone for almost a year and a half my heart is a bit better, but I still miss him terribly and think of him all the time. Enjoy every moment you still have them.

  24. oh I feel for you Brenda, I've had shingles on my neck and side, but not in my mouth. I know you must feel terrible. on the outside at least you can put calamine lotion on to stop the pain and itch. Rest and take your meds. Praying for you and the pupsters! xo

    1. The two times I've had shingles were in my mouth. I have lesions inside my mouth. The rest of that side of my body hurts, but there are no lesions outside my mouth. I guess the dental hygienist probing inside my mouth must have unleashed this somehow. Not sure how.

  25. Brenda, I am so sorry to hear about your shingles flair up. It's so painful I know. Your sweet pups are so special and it's hard to start thinking 'end of life' for them. My Mom and I are going through that now with her cat Sam. He is still in the 'having more good days then bad' stage but that will change. I was so devastated when I lost my Charlie and I will miss him always, but Annie Belle has brought some joy back for sure. Just do the best you can. The world is a mess and all I can do is try to make my little piece of it the best I can. Hugs!

  26. Bless your heart. I've had shingles on my face. Added to the fact that it is extremely painful, I looked like Jimmy Durante on a bad day. We all have good days and bad days and then we have days that just overwhelm us. On those days sometimes all we can do is pray. Just know there are many who are praying for you and your little ones.

  27. Brenda, I am so sorry you are in pain and the fur babies are not well. I hope the meds help both you and the pupsters.

    Hope you have a quick recovery. Sending healing thoughts, Janie

  28. I am so sorry to hear you are having so many personal troubles right now. I understand your worry of losing you fur babies and not being able to care for them the wa you need too. The cost is so high for medicine but we do what we can to help and love them. I am sending prayers to you all that your days become less painful.

  29. So sorry you and Abi aren't feeling your best. I can tell in your writing that the pain you are experiencing and the concern you have for your fur babies are taking a toll on you. But I have to admit, you analysis of this world today is correct. Some folks are simply hateful for no reason. Everything seems upside down, but I hope and I pray things will calm down and mellow out soon. Take care of yourself and your pupsters. And know that you are taking excellent care of your babies. They couldn't have a better human mom.

  30. Oh, Brenda I am sorry you are feeling so poorly. Strange things can happen to all of us. Life is very delicate. One day your fine and the next your not doing so well. Life as you know it can change in minutes. From your own health to terrorist attacks. We just never know. But, just as you said a tread of hope is powerful. Thank goodness for hope. I hope you can get feeling better. Reality is we are all getting ololder even our little fur babies. I too dread the day they leave me. But as they say, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Love them while they are with you. You're so good to them. Better days will be ahead.

  31. I hope with each new day you will see improvements in your health and also in your fur babies' health. I so enjoy your posts. Makes we feel like we are sitting out in your beautiful patio just visiting!!!

  32. Hang in there Brenda, things will get better for you. Some days, it just seems that everything happens at once. Prayers that you and your pupsters will be better soon.

  33. Oh Brenda, all this brought tears to my eyes, I am so sorry you feel ill, I didn't know you could get shingles in your mouth. Is this caused by something they do at the dentist?
    I know what you mean about the pupsters, I must say they don't look 11 years old, you look after them so well.

    I do hope you are feeling better soon.

  34. Your analogy of the mouth situation to the world situation is apt. Dental procedures of any kind tend to disrupt the mucosa of the oral cavity and allow bacteria and virus to gain entry and have their way. disruptions in the world seem to allow extreme human emotion and behavior to gain entry and have their way.

    Please take extra good care of yourself and allow time for healing. You understand this so perfectly with your pets and now you must apply this to yourself. And, yes, woohoo for a good malt!!

  35. Hi. I never heard of shingles inside of the mouth before now. I looked it up and it is caused by the virus being in the trigeminal nerve, which serves the eyes, jaw and mouth. So I'm guessing that when you get your teeth cleaned, the dormant virus in the nerve is “awakened” and the result is the blisters inside of your mouth. Sounds so awful and I hate to hear you have it. Just yesterday at my physical my doctor suggested I get the shingles virus since I'm over 60, but he said it is around $200! He said to check with my insurance to see if any of that cost will be covered. So I need to check. You can still get the vaccine even if you've had shingles already, so it could be something you want to look into and see if your insurance will cover it.

    I'm sorry you are stressed out over your health issues and those of the pups. I know you feel the need to put their care first, but if you don't take care of yourself and something happens to you so that you can't care for them, then that would be really bad. You have to take care of yourself so that you are around to take care of them. Very tough situation to have to choose. I pray that you and your pups receive the care you need to stay healthy.

    1. Check your pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, etc many of them will give you the shingles shot for a lot less than your doctor. They will check your insurance first and let you know what is covered. That is what I did.

  36. Oh Brenda, too much happening at once! I am so sorry you have shingles in your mouth. Sounds awful. I'm glad you got to the dentist and dr in time and were able to get medicine to help you. Please take care of yourself. And as far as your little doggies, I'm sorry they've been sick, too. We've discussed the collapsing trachea before, as my mom's little dog (Pomeranian) has had this, too. She's around the same age as your dogs. Very common in these little breeds. Mom's dog is doing much better now though – she's taking her to a natural practitioner and she's also now on a raw food diet. If you want my mom's email address so you can converse with her, just let me know and I'll be happy to pass along her info. Blessings to you and your sweet pups.

  37. You are so right, Brenda…at the end where you said 'you can't give up hope'…because we know that without hope we are nothing.

    I am sorry that you have shingles. They are so miserable. After seeing what people that came into the hospital went through having shingles I got the shot as soon as I was able to do so.

    I feel for your pups, too, Brenda…and when we don't feel good I think we get more emotional and then think some sad thoughts about 'what will happen when….' I hope and pray that your boys live long lives yet and the truth is that the OTC cough meds are probably 90% as effective as the prescription ones.

    Tomorrow will be a better day! Love to you- Diana

  38. Brenda my heart aches for your pain both physically and mentally right now. Shingles are horribly painful and debilitating.I know you are worried about Abi. I have two pupsters also and would have declined $60 cough medicine for them and myself. I know it doesn't help but I am sorry for your pain and I wish you a quick recovery.

  39. Goodness, Brenda, I sure hope you are feeling better very soon. You sound miserable and I know you worry about the pups. Things seem to come in waves for some reason. I dropped my iPhone in the toilet yesterday so of course it doesn't work now – very frustrating but I know that's a small thing in the big picture of life. Hang in there – things have to get better from here, right?

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