I’m always walking a fine line with my migraines and their triggers. A food combo on Wednesday may be fine; the same combo on Friday can lead to a migraine. One day chocolate is fine; another it sends me into a cranium-crusher of a headache. In order to track food intolerances that might be making my IBS worse, I should keep a food diary. I will add a column for headaches; maybe, other than total avoidance, there REALLY is a pattern to food consumption and headaches.
Changes in barometric pressure lead to migraines: we don’t need a barometer to know a front (hot or cold) is coming in. As Bob Dylan said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” – or words to that effect in Subterranean Home Sick Blues. This seems like an area where I COULDN’T take control; the vagrancies of the weather are not something I can influence: I don’t have the special powers of a shaman who can “dance” rain into being for example. But, I can keep a different sort of migraine log: record daily the barometric pressure and other weather conditions in one column and my headaches/migraines in another. Since much evidence remains antidotal on weather and migraines, my log will be another addition to this personal-view-based body of knowledge. PS: thanks to the newly launched migraine.com, I learned of mediclim.com that sends email alerts about potential health-related weather issues.
My neck/neck spasms are another trigger for migraines (and an increase in the level of my chronic facial pain and ondontalgia). My pcp has suggested I go to a spine and sports medicine physical therapy facility for my neck, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis issues. This will involve some negotiations: it appears that the facility is out of network for my health insurance provider (thus causing a deductible and higher out-of-pocket expenses). Since we need to come up with an additional $2,500. just to pay for the insurance this year, somehow more budget cuts will have to be made if I try to take control of my neck spasm-induced migraines. Since we live on one income, close to the bone, some of the few luxuries we afford ourselves will have to go: no more soups from Whole Foods; scones from Starbucks; facial creams and lotions to roll back time. I’ll have to polish up my pr skills, and see what deals I can broker.
I resolve to take charge of my migraines in 2011. If I can avoid them, I can reduce the amount of medication I take for them. These savings can go towards my rehab costs. In 2011, I will be stronger than the headaches! The thought is kinda scary, kinda exciting, and a lot of work. I’ll let you know if it pays off.
For more info on this months headache and migraine blog carnival, see: Somebody Heal Me.
The theme of the December headache & migraine carnival is “How can we make the holidays special despite the need to limit our migraine triggers?” Six folks share their “tips and tricks” for the holiday season.
While you’re there, read about the themes for their next carnivals: jenni at chronicbabe.com wants to know “how you are making the most of the new year,” while the headache & migraine theme is “taking charge of our migraines.” Why not curl up with your laptop and blog about the year to come.
And, by the way, the Patients for A Moment Blog Carnival is “the year in review.” Check out Getting Closer to Myself for details: submission due on December 19th.
Thanksgiving Day turned me into a domestic diva; hopefully it wasn’t that experience that sent me 3 days later to the ER!
A conspiracy of silence: no one in the family (other than me) was to know that my-sister-law, set to host the feast had been hospitalized with a bout of acute pancreatitis from Monday thru Wednesday noon. So apron-adorned in the kitchen redolent with the sweet smell of apple pie, the spiceness of pumpkin, the sharp tang of cranberries, I was a whirlwind of silver polishing and stemware washing. Out in the living room, I ironed what I swear is the longest hand-cut and-edged linen table cloth in the USA (a wedding gift from her sister). I helped set an elegant table (on the mangled linen cloth – I forgot to mention I’m a horrible ironer! lol ) with cut crystal glasses, family heirloom china and silverware and not-so-neatly ironed linen napkins. I sweated my way through making gravy for 14 (I’m used to making it for 2); monitored the person monitoring the yams and stuffing baking in the borrowed ovens next door. I washed more dishes, pots, pains, utensils and serving bowls in one night than I would in 3 months at home. But, we pulled off a full-on feast for 14: heritage turkeys, brown and wild rice pilaf with roasted chestnuts and cranberries, yam casserole, and other trimmings.A nice bottle or two of red wine (I hear it was pleasant and probably expensive), conversation, dessert decisions (pumpkin or apple, ice cream, whipped cream or both) accompanied on the piano by various great-nieces.
I was feeling offish by headhome time some12 hours after I my arrival bearing my maple cranberry sauce and apple pie. By Friday, it was clear that I had crossed over to the dark side: to migrainedom. Throbbing, bloodpounding, mind-numbing. I couldn’t keep up with (or down) my daily meds as Saturday brain thundered into Sunday. (We missed my great-niece’s 7th birthday). I barely acknowledged that hubby was leaving to do the Sunday shopping (thought it was Monday, and he was off to work. I was just off: by Sunday, I was confused (more than normal, lol),my heart was racing; I was hot-cold-hot; my right hand was swollen (still is); my face was puffy; I felt distant from my body/myself – as if I was participating in some advante guard art house movie about myself. I was scary: my husband asked if I wanted to go the ER (after I had been pacing around our little house for hours, mumbling about my sore toes, my migraine, my life.) I came back into myself enough to say: “Yes:” an answer not done lightly – last expedition to the ER with a migraine gave me a headache that lasted another 3 days until my hubby begged my pcp’s office staff to make an emergency appointment for me.
So, off we went – in my slipper shoes too sizes two big without thick socks, hair down, messy and shedding, managed to button my own coat, put on my ball cap, and shuffle out to the car. It’s an strange odyssey: Did I get my clip on sunglasses right. Read the sign – I read it backwards –trying to figure out where we are, concentrate on my breathing and keeping my heart rate down. I managed to make it from the car into ER reception but then I said, I have to sit down, and collapsed into the nearest wheelchair. My hubby had to do all the explaining through out the intake process – I vaguely echoed what he said, finding things getting very surreal again – like I was now I was watching the director’s cut without commentary.
I was wheeled here and there: my stats were out of whack, like me: my heart rate was 100+ (had been that high before cutting back on one med), my blood pressure soared (for me) to 160+/90. Thank goodness the ER was relatively empty when I arrived: I was whisked down to an open ER room, asked more questions. I couldn’t even remember which meds I took daily! and hubby did the best he could: trying to get me to answer a question, rather than to just mimic it. A doctor quickly came by: no lets do a CAT scan, or test or any kind; if you say you have a migraine – then you probably know what’s going on (I really didn’t but hubby helped keep me from sounding like a babbling idiot!)
I thought I’d been there for at least 5 hours (only about 2-3) After rehydration ivs and a migraine busting cocktail iv did the trick, I wanted to go home. I became more lucid, very itchy due to how dry my body was, and thirsty. I had tried that morning to eat a toasted roll, ate only a bit, and drank some swigs of oj. I began to have the post-migraine-because-I’m-withdrawing–from-my- meds images when I closed my eyes — continued longer than usual until Tuesday morning! (I could do a whole blog on that phenomenon). And, my empty stomach began to ache (which I call the hungry hollows: gut-wrenching hunger pangs like dragon’s claws). The search for water was a comedy of errors, and I won’t get into what hubby finally found to get me some water in; let’s just say it wasn’t your typical glass pictured right. (And, thanx to all the folks on Flckr for sharing their pix: the clicking on the images should take you back to their work.)
Released to our own devices, we headed home: I still shuffled but I wasn’t babbling and bursting into tears like I did the in the ER room as I was changing into the gown – well, those things are depressing! lol. My mind speed had increased from about 10 miles an hour to 25; I was hungry; feeling med withdrawal and just wanted to get home. It’s taken several days for me to gain back some of my cognitive functioning (still having trouble typing, wordsmithing, editing and proofing). Monday I was always forgetting which task I was working on: even ran the washer without any clothes in it. I have migraine hangovers (besides the images), that I tried to explain to a friend yesterday. It feels like a colleague used to say: The lights are on, but nobody’s home; a kinda of out-of-body experience. In the days before I had prescription meds for migraines, there was also an endorphin high created by the exquisite release from pain; the moment I would try opening my eyes (as I drifted into and out of a migraine-induced stupor) to find the pain had stopped; the thunderstorm in my brain was gone; the cranium crushing was over.
We learned two good lessons: no matter what, when I have a that bad of a migraine, no matter how much doesn’t stay down, I need to keep taking my daily meds and my prescription migraine pills AND DRINK WATER! And, we need to put together an trip to the ER “bag” with a bottle of water, crackers, a list of my current meds, and other necessary info, a supply of essential meds, hair elastics, lotion, my neck “gel” (poor hubby had to rub my neck most of the time I was lying there with tubes going in). Hopefully there is no ER-necessary health scare in my future, but ya never know. And, hey, I got to keep the slipper socks they put on my frozen tootsies.
PS: I learned that several members of the family had the flu or flu-like symptoms after Thursday, so some of that might have contributed to the headache, nausea and not keeping things down. Gotta go get that flu shot!