Wednesday, April 18, 2012

...Sometimes It Snows in April...

Kids, with their icky selves, have been the bright spot of my day lately.

Some of the more intelligent conversations I’ve had in a long time have been with people under the age of 6. I guess because they wonder about stuff other than gas prices and relationships. Some of the more curious ones will really try to figure things out when you talk to them about stuff. They have imagination and not much reasoning which makes for interesting theories.

I was replacing a bowl of chips with salt free popcorn on a snack table when I mentioned casually to this one kid that I always had an addiction to salt that I’ve never been able to shake. I said I wish I never even tasted the stuff. He told me he felt the same way about blue paint.

I will be the first to tell you that Crayola paint has the most delectable smell but I’ve never sampled the flavor. I won’t either. But I made a mental note to keep my eyes on that little guy the next time we sat the watercolors out on the tables.

About a year ago, I started experiencing what is now a growing batch of new symptoms that coincide with my headaches. They range from bizarre to disconcerting to ring the alarm.

As usual, I ignored them for as long as I could, but they were getting bad enough for me to struggle through the day or otherwise say or do the sort of thing that would make people look at me funny. 

So earlier this year I tried a neurologist and after she blew me off due to what I can only imagine was an inability to read a CT Scan, I finally made an appointment with the Head People.

I knew a few others that had gone and got help, but most of them required surgery or drugs, two things I hope to outrun until I die, but we are bordering on desperate times, so I crossed the border for some desperate measures.

They definitely worked me over with testing and by the end of the day I was exhausted but I had an early diagnosis: basilar, or basilar-type migraines.

They wanted to do additional testing because they aren’t convinced they can rule out epilepsy based on the symptoms.

They also found some strange dealings on my spine and aren’t sure if I’m a very young person with osteoarthritis (common neither to my age, race, health or family background) or if it’s something else. (I can’t believe the last neurologist had this information and never called me back about it.) They prescribed two drugs including Topamax, an anti-convulsant that ironically makes you convulse if you stop taking it, and Indocin, the brand name for indomethacin.


I don’t feel comfortable with any drug name that includes the words “indo” and “meth” in it. Maybe it’s just me, but, no, I don’t see that happening.

Quick intermission to enjoy the song everyone immediately launches into whenever I tell them about my prescriptions

(Mista Grimm – Indo Smoke)

Perhaps the most interesting and possibly effective part of my nearly 9 hour appointment was the visit with the psychotherapist.

I’ve been to therapy twice in my life. The first time the woman was a poor listener and eager to get me on drugs. The second was a great listener. Too bad she was taking everything she heard from me back to share with mutual friends.

This doctor with the Head People talked to me about my feelings as it related to my pain but also helped me to sort out my feelings in general. I keep using the word “feelings” but it occurred to me for the first time ever during this session that I don’t have any.

It’s hard to explain but it’s kind of like in the movies where someone gets shot and instead of falling down dead, they stand there a minute looking at the shooter and then say something like, “I can’t believe you just shot me.”

I am aware of certain feelings that I have, I have an intellectual understanding of the feelings, but I don’t necessarily feel the feelings. I experience them but I don’t feel them.

So now imagine the aforementioned shooting victim walking away from the shooting. Going home, working out, catching up on some stuff, then heading to bed. The next day they get up and go to work and run the rat race again…still having been shot and not treated for it. Slowest, and probably messiest, death ever. Not good.

He asked me about work and after admitting that my job satisfaction was way down from where it used to be, he asked me about stress.

“I know that it’s a stressful situation but I don’t think that I feel stress, or if I do, I don’t recognize my mind or body reacting to a stressful situation.”

“You mentioned that you rarely miss work for your headaches and just muddle through it. Do you ever skip family functions because of a headache?”

“I hardly skip anything I have to do.” Inside my head I noted, “It’s the stuff I want to do that keeps getting skipped.” I probably should have said that out loud.

“Do you think you have the feelings that you would most commonly associate with depression?” he asked and my response was instant.

“I think I have an awareness of the thoughts, but…” and I couldn’t finish the thought.

I had previously wondered if I could be depressed and not know it. His question made me wonder again.

“Do the headaches depress you sometimes?” he asked. “Sometimes the idea of being in pain hurts worse than the pain itself with people in chronic pain.”

That was an easy one.

“Yes. I get tired of not feeling well. I get tired of not knowing why. It doesn’t make me feel good to sit and do nothing. I keep wondering what I’m doing wrong.

“Every doctor is so insistent that it’s in my head and there’s nothing physically wrong, but I know if I could control it, I would.”

We talked about biofeedback and the possibility of learning how to control the pain response.

“Basilar migraines are real. They’re rooted in a neurological condition. There’s a physical cause to it and it is not in your mind, but we can treat it with the medications and you seem open  and committed to the alternative therapies, so we’ll figure it out together. You may never be pain free, but we can work to make the pain not so painful so that you are not your headache.”

That was one of the nicest things any medical professional has ever said to me, not barring that nurse who told me I had beautiful veins.

I have an MRI scheduled and some follow up appointments, and everyone is hopeful that we’ll have some new insight soon.

I’m hopeful in general.

I’ve always felt that my health was probably one of the bigger obstacles to everything else in my life, so maybe getting this under control will be whatever it is I think I’m looking for to get going to a better me.

I’ve secretly believed that there’s some very small, stupid detail in the history of my life that I’m overlooking and if I can see it and deal with it, everything will be okay.

Or, maybe everything is already okay and that’s what I’m overlooking.

I prefer his L8 EP to the Wasted Daylight one, but they’re both pretty awesome.
Check this guy out and get the free download here
January Elh – Today

Dwele – Truth

Andre Cymone – Living in the New Wave

And take a moment for the man at that sock hop in the sky... Dick Clark

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