Shingles pain seems to be killing my dad.

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My father got shingles in July and it's now early October. It has been debilitating for him and I'm worried that he's not going to last much longer.

The doctors have tried so many different drugs trying to get the pain under control, but nothing seems to work. He isn't eating a lot and he's definitely not getting enough fluids even though we try to get him to drink Gator Aid regularly because his sodium levels have been so low.

He has fallen a number of times and three times he's been taken to the ER because of it. Each time we find out his sodium levels were extremely low and he was dehydrated, but I cannot stand over him and make sure he keeps getting enough fluids.

He's 88 and my mother is 93, and we are very fortunate to have them in a wonderful assisted living facility. My mother, who has dementia, is flourishing, while my dad seems to be getting worse. I feel so sorry for him and it's very difficult to see him suffering and not be able to help.

Also, I don't want to keep either of my parents going when their quality of life is no longer good. I don't want that for myself. If my dad can get better and enjoy life again, that would be wonderful, but if he can't than I pray for an end to his misery.

I'm hoping someone can tell me their experience with this sort of thing. This is such a difficult time for everyone and I hate the hills and valleys, although I know that's part of the process.

24 Comments

My mother has Shingles and is 98 1/2..(99 in November)..She too experienced lots of pain...She was put on medication for the Shingles (3 times a day) and a pain pill (3 times a day) she was told if she needed more pain meds...she could take 1 tylenol extra strength and 1 advil in between the pain meds...she's doing much better...*started in September*...I find keeping Mom's mind occupied keeps her from thinking about the pain..(I know this isn't easy)...I'm retired so I can spend more time with her...She also has some dementia too..Hang in there keep feeding him gatorade and give him foods he loves...he deserves it at his age.. HANG IN THERE!!!
My 86 year old Mother had shingles 3 years ago and still has pain. She was given Cymbalta 40 mg and it seems to help a little. The pain is there but seems to just be an annoyance. Have you tried that. It is terrible and it can last forever I am told. I also think if you keep their mind occupied and involved in something it does help. It is when they are bored that it seems that she notices it the most.
Did you know once you have Shingles you CAN get it again...I'm told if you get the 'shot' you won't get it again...I took care of Mom with Shingles not remembering if I had Chicken pox or she doesn't remember if I did...so I got the shot just to be safe...
My 99 year old Grandmother has shingles, i think it may be what does her in. She can't get her mind of of them. I have read you can get the shingles after the vaccine, just not as severe. i have had them, but in elderly it seems much worse. We had to put her in the nursing home and she won't do anything but lay in bed and moan. It's really terrible
My father had shingles at 65 yrs immediately after he retired. He found them uncomfortable and painful but being a younger senior at that point--he kept to his routine, eating and drinking as normal. He did take naps when he had them which was new for him.
I would get him drinking and see if he can have some ensure or like products if he doesn't want to eat. Everything is worse on an empty stomach and dehydrated.
I would get the doctor or another doctor to re evaluate his progress since he is still in pain. It seems to me they could reduce his pain level at least.

Elizabeth
Thank you everyone for responding. Things went downhill drastically after I posted this. My dad ended up in the hospital a week ago and we were sure he was dying. Even though we had tried to keep him hydrated and eating, apparently it wasn't happening. When I talked to Dad's doctor, he told me this is the worst case of post shingles pain he's ever seen.

We reached the point where the goal was to try to get the point where the pain was under control and then put him in the nursing home, which is basically what happened. He's been there since Friday and has actually rallied to some extent, but he's not looking good. He's lost a lot of weight and still doesn't have much of an appetite. The nursing home is a good one and I'm able to visit daily. We are also working with hospice to make sure Dad stays as comfortable as possible.

My mother has some dementia, but she was an RN and is handling this unbelievably well. She is very loving towards him and reassuring, but when I talk to her later she tells me she is surprised he's lasted this long.

Shingles is horrible, especially in the elderly. I know the nerves are damaged and it's much harder for them to repair themselves as we age. After seeing what my dad has been going through I immediately got vaccinated as well. It's especially difficult to see my dad going downhill AND having so much pain.
My Grandmother went from hospital to nursing home. I always thought it would be her heart or cancer, not shingles. She is so dopy from the pain meds, can't seem to do anything
TheirDaughter, sorry to hear that your dad's health has decline. I know you n your mom are doing all y'all can do help your dad feel as comfortable as possible. I hope they r able to find a pain med that will help ease his pain from the shingles. Please keep us posted.
Grandaughter, sorry to hear about your Grandmother as well as it seems like she is going through similar situation. I had no idea that elders could get the shingles. I know its easier said than words but, try to look at the pain meds r keeping grandma from feeling the aweful pain from the shingles.
I hope you two keep us posted on how they r doing n don't forget to take care of yourself too.
I had shingles as a twenty year old . Very painful and I didn't even know enough to go to get pain meds. I did find something that helped which is why I'm writing. Find something silk or silky (poelester) Excuse spelling. To place over the painful area. Don't let scratchy fabrics touch the area. Ask the dr. if acupuncture would be helpful to block pain. (NO, it's not used on the painful area.) God bless! Sending hugs! Chonie
Well, what's even worse for my dad is he got shingles on the right side of his face and his eye!!! I didn't know you get shingles in your eye. And, apparently, even if he was to get over this current pain, it might not last. My uncle got shingles when he was in his 60s and I had met one other person who had it years ago. Now it seems like an epidemic, but my dad's doctor said it's because people are living so much longer and their immune systems are weaker.

And, what's also frustrating is you feel as though you have a choice of allowing your loved one to deal with the pain or have him/her so doped up he/she hardly knows what's going on. Please, if you haven't been vaccinated, do it now!

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