Back (almost) to the Land of the Living!!

The eyes have it … opthalmic shingles!! (My eyes, not those of Lulu-Cat).

For more than 2 of the last 4 months I’ve been in the hospital recovering from ophthalmic shingles – a terrible malady from which I am still suffering – though recovery seems to be on the way.

Can’t yet correctly focus my right eye, and the pain, though not nearly as severe, has eased considerably. The only ‘good’ aspect of being in the hospital was the first 4 hours after each six-hourly morphine injection, of which I received 4 injections every 24 hours (my thighs were thoroughly ‘tracked’). I could think reasonably straight and actually sleep a bit during the first 4 hours after the injection. After 4 hours, the pain began again and by the 5th hour it became intolerable. The only way to describe it is as if you had boiling oil poured into your ear and eye socket


Now, it is just shooting pains, together with tremendous soreness and ‘burning’. Learning to live with pain… And I do want to say, that in spite of all of the Bad Press about medical treatment and hospitals in Africa, my doctors and the hospital were / are excellent. I will write a little blog about that, in the future.

Many, many Apologies for not answering a number of messages – and especially to Ken Albala, for whom I was unable to do the food and culture entries – I did try! And who called me on my mobile phone about the 2nd day after I got out of the hospital the first time, but I think I did not make so much sense on the phone – in fact, a couple of days later I was put back into the hospital for further treatment…. Also to Karen Resta, who called the Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika trying to find me!  (No, Karen, hospitals here do not have telephones in patients’ rooms…)

Still not possible to really work at the computer, but gradually I hope to get back up to speed! Ah yes, and I returned to discover that the hard disk of my ‘good’ computer has broken and cannot be repaired. 1000’s of files and photos, lost…

What have I done – or not done – to disturb the gods and goddesses so thoroughly?

About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
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22 Responses to Back (almost) to the Land of the Living!!

  1. Pingback: ‘Recipes’ for Treating the Eyes: The Papyrus Ebers & My Opthalmic Shingles | DIANABUJA'S BLOG

  2. yolanda says:

    you are my favourite bujumbura food blogger!

    get well soon, and best wishes,



  3. Ken Albala says:

    SO Glad to hear you’re on the way to recovery. I found replacement authors of course. Oh well. Next time. Ken


    • dianabuja says:

      Thanks, Ken – very glad you found replacement authors – now I feel less guilty! Still, at least in my head, I (think that) I had some interesting points to make in the articles. Ah well, next time!


  4. Rachel Laudan says:


    What a nightmare. So glad you got good treatment. The one good thing is that the internet enabled all your friends to try to find out what was happening, even if none of us actually succeeded in helping. Welcome back to the world.


    • dianabuja says:

      Yes, Rachel – a real nightmre! And the internet is wonderful – remembering just abut 15 years ago, heading a project in western Sudan (el-Obeid) where there was only a telegraph but that had its advantages, too, because the homeoffice couldn’t send reams of emails about how and what to do – from the States!


  5. Οh Diana, it’s so painful the battle with herpes!
    Best wishes for a quick and complete recovery! 🙂


  6. Rebecca says:

    This is one club I do not feel glad to welcome you to- I am so sorry to learn that you have had an outbreak of shingles in the eyes, I hope that you have access to acyclovir there, and that it works for you!


    • dianabuja says:

      Rebecca, thanks – and acyclovir I did take, which helped. Hope you are well and I do enjoy your blog!


  7. Oh my, Diana, that is so terrible. Like many, I have been wondering how you have been doing. I have heard that the pain of shingles is indescribable, but your description certainly makes me sense a slight bit just what you’re enduring.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.


  8. gary says:

    Sorry to hear all this — I can completely identify with your suffering.

    I had the same thing, some 30 years ago (I caught it in the hospital of all places). I remember not believing the doctor when he told me that it would take 4 months and that there was nothing he could do about the pain.

    I still have scars around and above my left eye.


    • dianabuja says:

      Oh Gary! That is terrible! Didn’t the doctor give you codeine or morphine ( the latter in the begining)? Both helped me from not being encouraged to just amble off of the edge of the earth… Such pain!


      • Gary says:

        He did not offer anything… of course it was the late sixties (apparently I’d forgotten how long ago it actually was — or I can’t count), so perhaps the doctor was concerned about drug abuse.

        It doesn’t matter anymore — we’re mercifully unable to vividly recall old pain, and the doctor lost his license to practice a few years after the event.If I believed in such things, I’d chalk it up to karma.


        • dianabuja says:

          ha-ha! No doubt, lost liscence due to not treating your pain! And yes, interesting how extreme pain is eventually forgotten – just how it ‘felt’. Good thing.


    • dianabuja says:
  9. Karen says:

    I am so glad that the worst is over, Diana. You didn’t have to do a single thing to disturb the gods and goddesses ~ they are just like that. xo


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