I couldn’t catch COVID if I tried, but I managed to get Monkeypox right out of the gate. Go figure!
I’ve been exposed to COVID countless times in the last 2 1/2 years and either had it with no symptoms or just didn’t get it. Granted, I’ve had both shots and two boosters. The old roommate had it, the hubby had it, multiple work exposures, and nothing. One exposure to monkeypox and BAM! My case was apparently mild to moderate, depending on who you ask. I will tell you, it didn’t feel so moderate. In a word, it was shit. Not the worst I’ve ever felt, but definitely in the top 10.
I originally noticed a small rash in my armpit. I’m not prone to rashes so it set off alarm bells. There weren’t many places even available for testing so I ended up at the City Clinic. While there, they noticed a couple bumps in my groin area I hadn’t even noticed yet. They were mostly painless and small, but uniquely different than your average pimple. I now know why they call it a pox. The clinic tested me but testing was delayed due to a major influx of requests and the outbreak being relatively new. While they felt I had it, symptoms were mild so they didn’t offer treatment. The treatment drug, commonly referred to as TPOX, is from the national stockpile and in short supply. While they are using the COVID infrastructure to ramp up production, that doesn’t help those sick now.
I left feeling good and looking forward to a week off work. Even though you primarily catch it through sustained skin contact, it is “possible” to catch it from surfaces. They did advise me to isolate. Fast forward a few days later, the fevers, aches, & chills set in. They were quite unpleasant. The sores started out rather painless and mild w/no signs of spreading. By day four, they had become larger (about the size of a nickel) and little satellite sores were springing up. All of the lymph nodes in my groin area were swollen and very sensitive. Even pressure from laying on my side hurt. Apparently, the pox tends to attack/irritate the nerves and it played havoc with my back. I have a minor bulging disc I manage w/chiropractic care On day four, the aches/chills/back pain were so intense I’d had enough. I went back to the clinic to get treatment. Thankfully, they agreed my case warranted treatment, but only because I had a mild impetigo (staff) co-infection. This could potentially make me infectious longer and it was decided I was worth treating.
I get that the drug was scarce but in that moment I was irritated at the idea of having to plead my case or with the thought of being denied treatment. The drug is actually used to treat smallpox and has been conditionally approved to treat MP. The viruses are similar enough it works on MP as well. My pox were spreading as there were multiple new spots coming up in various places on my body. I won’t lie, in that moment I was just grateful to qualify. I know other folks who weren’t so lucky and they had symptoms worse than mine and were initially denied treatment. Within 24 hours, the fevers/chills were all but gone and the back pain disappeared completely.
Fast forward again to today and I’m headed back to work tomorrow. All the smaller pox spots that sprang up are gone and have new skin over the 5 original spots in my groin that were the largest and most sensitive. You are considered ‘contagious’, even on medicine until the scab falls off and there is new skin. If you shower daily, that can lead to fresh scabs daily. Basically, you’ll notice the ‘pox’ look is gone. You can have red, irritated, and even bumpy skin, but as long as the pox itself is gone, you are good to go. I’ve missed roughly 2 1/2 weeks of work. Lawd, baby jeebus I am bored as hell! Video games and tv only go so far. Most people take 3-4 weeks to heal so I’m slightly ahead of the curve. I think only because I sought treatment.
Of course, the usual crew of judgmental queens are trashing people online for being “slutty”. Except it is not spread only thru sex like traditional STI’s. Many of the folks I know that were exposed and/or contracted it did not get it thru sexual contact. You can get it from any environment where you touch skin with someone. You can be in a bar, a party, a fair, etc. The incubation period is 2-3 weeks so you can have it, have minor bumps or pimples, and not even know you are contagious. For the pissy folks, all I can offer is a sound, “bless your heart.” As for me, what you think of me is really none of my business.
If you aren’t vaccinated, make an effort to do so. If you are in an area w/no outbreaks, it may take you awhile as the vaccine is in short supply. They will most likely prioritize high-risk folks first. However, supply is ramping up. It is recommended to get the vaccine, even if you start showing mild symptoms. Once you develop full symptoms, the vaccine is no longer necessary. You also do not need vaccination once you get over an MP infection.
The government has been a bit slow to ramp up response as it isn’t like COVID. The spread right now is mostly contained to the LGBTI community. And while it may seem like they are doing nothing, that is not the case. The system isn’t designed to mobilize until a certain threshold is reached for diseases like MP. While part of me knows that, it doesn’t help that the other part of me that suffered needlessly isn’t still angry. I do hope they realize due to globalization, the old slow method should be update.
The good news, is vaccine and treatment are both being ramped up. Don’t let the shortage now put you off from getting vaccinated. I can assure you, it is worth the effort. You do not want to go thru the symptoms. Keep checking w/your local sources, usually your health dept, City government website/phone line, and/or insurance provider.
As for me, I’m healed up now and grateful to be over it. I even missed work a little. The one additional downside, I missed a trip to see my two besties for one of their birthdays, which was a deep disappointment. I was borderline by the day of the flight, but I didn’t want to chance it. No on wants to be the one that brings the gift that keeps on giving… lol