Archives for posts with tag: did I mention that headache?

Nothing like spending 8 hours of precious limited lifetime in the freakin’ ER to remind me how much I enjoy doing just about anything else. LOL

I’m okay. Just middle-aged. 😉

I resented the request to go to the ER, in the first place. I negotiated with my primary care physician like I was making a deal with the devil, when I finally spoke to her. I made work more important than my health and went in to the office yesterday still dealing with the ferocious headache that continues to plague me. The nurse in Neurology finally reached me directly yesterday mid-morning, and was fairly firm about seeing me immediately if possible. Damn it. I interrupted a productive work day figuring I’d go/come back, no problem…

8 hours, 2 blood draws, 2 IV insertions (1 failed), and 3 separate CT scans later… we ruled out most of the scariest stuff for adults in my age group worried about a headache. We’ve narrowed it down to… a headache. <sigh> No, for real? Back to Neurology. I can’t be mad. I got some first-rate care (and one failed attempt at an IV insertion that was both painful, and hurt like fire when imaging attempted to make use of it), and a chance to enjoy “Hospital ER” as a sort of live-action drama with all the pettiness human beings can bring to bear, as I quietly eavesdropped the conversations from the tiny treatment room I spent most of my time in.

Luck of the draw – I got a really good young doctor in residency. Because he’s a psychiatric resident, he “got me” on an entirely other level, and was able to do more to support me as a patient. The noise and lights and aggressively purposeful busy-ness of the ER aggravated other symptoms a lot (a lot), and that could have been a distraction for an MD who didn’t fully understand what seeing a c-PTSD diagnosis in my charts could mean. This one did. I wish he would be my full-time primary care doctor! By the time he actually saw me I was literally in tears from the noise; he took steps to ease it, first thing (ear plugs, a closed door, another closed door). Suddenly the experience was so much easier. I gotta say, hospital ERs are not actually designed to “heal” people as much as “repair” them. The noise, the actual moment-to-moment callousness (seriously, just watch, you’ll see it) of being entirely practical and attempting to be efficient, too, while serving as many customers as possible as quickly as feasible. The bright lights and infernal beeping of machinery and grinding or sliding of automatic doors. The repetitive nature of all of it just hammers at my consciousness – no stillness. Even the waiting is noisy. Nothing soothing. And for a place of healing? Holy crap they are going at such a breakneck pace that simple self-care stuff is entirely overlooked. They keep people there for hours and hours without calories or drinking water. lol Fuuuuuuck. Hospital ERs are no place for the ill.

Today is a whole new day. I’m definitely ready to begin again. LOL


I woke with a headache and a snarl, and I also woke rather slowly and with great effort. I slept poorly, both restless and wakeful, I didn’t get the rest I need. It is a new day.

My pounding head reminds me that although there are no loose bits rattling around inside, this fragile eggshell is cracked. I smirk at myself, aware that some of my tendencies – things like linguistic complexity where none is required, “being deep” in casual conversations, the peculiar awareness of and communication via living metaphors, the likelihood that I will take something sarcastic at face value, the difficulty ending a conversation, oh, just a whole bunch of things, really… “quirks”, eccentricities, moments of weird – are complex outcomes of a brain injury, of PTSD, of surviving some nasty shit by learning to cope with it. I can say I’m “broken” with something like a comfortable feeling of familiarity. I used to let it define me… differently.

For awhile I fought it. I refused to define myself in terms of the chaos and damage. I refused to “be” broken. Other times, I wallowed in it. Yielded to the damage. Gave in to the chaos. Gave up on changing anything.

Time passes. Change is.

This morning I woke up snarling at myself. Frustrated by the headache. Annoyed by feeling so groggy. Eager to get to the coffee…

I am unsure whether it is the caffeine, the comfort of the hot mug, or the slow familiar waking ritual of making it, then drinking it, that serves so well to put the day on track. It does though. It does put the day on track, generally. This moment of warmth – literal and metaphorical warmth – enjoyed alone each morning, a moment to “get my head right”, and get past the headache, or the arthritis stiffness, or the stuffy nose, or the lingering recollection of a bad dream, or… well, whatever the waking moments of consciousness throw at me. I’ve got that cup of coffee to help me turn things around. Does it actually matter to me what the mechanism of action actually is? Not in the slightest.

Be broken, if it helps. Grieve if you are hurting. It’s not especially helpful to squash down all the feelings with a lot of “shouldn’t” and “don’t” and extra helpings of criticism taken from the words of others, and reformed in your own words and returned to your narrative as your own thoughts. No one needs guilt or shame on top of the things that already suck so much – and those things don’t only weigh us down and hold us back from going on with things, they also tend to stop us embracing what is authentically good about who we are – chaos and damage and all. Some of this broken shit frustrates me, daily. Some of this broken shit is part of who I am.

“Broken” 14″ x 18″ acrylic and mixed media with glow.

Some of my most cherished individual qualities are very likely specific to my brain injury – or my PTSD. Some are things I like most about myself, others are things that other people have indicated they really appreciate about me. I’ve no intention of “fixing” those things. Don’t want to. Don’t need to. What if fixing the rest would also, by necessity, fix those things as well…? This thought is one underlying my focus on “being the woman I most want to be” rather than focusing on “fixing all the things wrong with me”; some of the things I may think are “wrong with me” in one moment, or from one perspective, may actually be very “right with me”, after all. 🙂

I’m rambling. Sipping my coffee. Grateful to have taken the time to really wake up before going on to other things. I take time to appreciate the value in waking up early enough to let myself really become my best self before I go on with my day. I pause to wonder how I got through so many years of launching myself from bed first thing, and immediately dressing and getting out the door quickly; it seemed efficient at the time. It was a grueling and fairly punishing routine, in practice, and I often treated people who are unfortunate enough to interact with me very early in the morning fairly badly, especially in that first hour after waking. I’m not suggesting that getting up at 4:30 am to depart for work at 7 am would be “the right choice” for everyone, there are other needs, and other ways. This just works for me. By 6 am, I am feeling mostly human. Awake. Aware. More able to respond, and less likely to react. The headache has dissipated. It feels like a lovely morning.

It feels like I can begin again. 🙂

I woke with a headache. It’s the sort of indescribably awful headache that I generally stop just short of mentioning at all, leaving others around me under the impression I am either in a bad mood, or possibly a bad human being. I’m neither, as far as I can tell. I just have this headache. Today’s headache is a strange combination that feels a bit like a caffeine headache, and a bit like a headache from being dehydrated, without actually feeling like either – or both – and it exists in a different location in my head than either of those, too. (Have enough headaches, and I suspect anyone begins to categorize, label, or describe them by known characteristics.) This headache seems also to coexist with a ludicrously high number of spelling errors, to include trying to spell words with semi-colons, and feeling momentarily puzzled by it; that just didn’t look right at all. lol I am struggling to write, backing  up again and again to correct spelling; the habit of someone who learned to type before spell check.

Yesterday ended well. It was quite lovely and chill and a very sweet evening at home with my partners. I enjoyed it.

Yesterday, ending well.

Yesterday, ending well.

Yeah. This headache… there won’t be many words today. This morning I will redirect my efforts to self-care, and work on easing this headache, and doing so without panic, stress, frustration, or any sense of pressure that might source from an internal sense that I must succeed. I’ll do what I know works, first, and continue to practice good practices; I will finish my coffee, drink more water, do more yoga, and take time to contemplate recent lovely happenings and moments and letting them fill my consciousness with small moments of great joy. Even if my headache doesn’t dissipate, I will enjoy those things because I enjoy them, anyway. They may help the headache. I’ll also give thought to the headache remedies on hand (we have several, including over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories in both generic and brand name options, feverfew in my garden, and an assortment of useful herbal tinctures), and this particular headache, make a choice and hope for the best. I know I would be well-served to be utterly faithful in the witch doctor nostrums provided by the pharmaceutical industry; everything works more efficiently when we believe.  Placebo effect. LOL I am just a shade too cynical for that, generally, to my own detriment.

One thing or another will work. Already, the moments of meditation between paragraphs, the thoughtful contemplation of small joys in life, have shifted the focus of my awareness; this ‘headache’ isn’t truly a headache, after all. It’s more obvious as I become more fully awake, more aware of my body in space, more attuned to each sensation through that awareness; this is my arthritic back crying out for relief. Sometime during the night I took some position that gave my back relief, and it became a headache later. The yoga is helping, too. I pause between paragraphs this morning for a moment of meditation, an asana, a few cleansing breaths. It’s helping the headache; and I’m more aware of my arthritis pain. That’s actually a good thing. I’m listening to my body, and taking care of me.

Today is a good day for honest, compassionate, attentive self-care. Today is a good day to accept and nurture this fragile vessel in which I reside. Today is a good day to celebrate small things, and enjoy small moments. Today is a good day to be vulnerable, frank, and supportive of myself and others. Today is a good day to change the world.