Wednesday, October 28, 2009

48 hours of pain

OMG I haven't felt pain like the past 2 days in years.  And I've never had a headache like this.

It started on Monday, I felt weak and tired and on the verge of fainting or collapsing at work so I left at 3:30.  I came home and lay down for an hour or so, and when I got up just around five, my head was positively throbbing.  I'm talking 8 or 9 out of 10.  I took a Maxalt right away and thought I'd be fine as it usually works within an hour or so.... Right?

Wrong...  I couldn't eat dinner.  I couldn't even think about food.  Hubby fended for himself with some soup.  I had Gatorade and arrowroot cookies. I went back to bed around 8:30 and the pain was so bad I was bawling.  Not "there's tears in my eyes" but "I can't control the tears streaming down my cheeks" pain.  And I didn't want to cry because it doesn't help, usually just makes it worse.

I was up and down all night.  Changing ice packs every two hours.  A gravol to settle my stomache.  And more Maxalt at 3 am.  My head didn't hurt in the front above my eyes or in back around the spine it hurt ALL OVER!  An overinflated balloon on the verge of exploding.  Well by 7 am when my alarm went off I knew there would be no way I could go into work. So I called the HR department and left my boss a voicemail and changed my voicemail and crawled, almost literally, back to bed after calling hubby to say I would be staying home.

I don't know if I slept.  I remember getting a fresh ice pack a couple of times before 11:30 when I called hubby to stop off at Walmart on his way home from work.  I needed another ice pack to add to the rotation and more Gatorade.   I wasn't eating anything so I was at least trying to stay hydrated.  Hubby came home and we threw the now third in our collection of ice packs into the freezer.  I grabbed a movie and an ice pack and snuggled into our bed and half watched, half dozed through Memoirs of a Geisha.  I didn't care if I watched or slept.  It was just on to distract my mind from the incessant pain.

My mum called, or I called her, I can't remember, about going to aquabics - that'd be a no.  She told me to go back to bed and call her in a while. I took a third Maxalt in 24 hours (the maximum recommended) and lay down again until hubby came to bed around 8.  I got up realizing I was kinda hungry.... Hmmm.... what to eat?   Back to arrowroot cookies and more Gatorade.  It is the only thing I could imagine stomaching.  I called my mum and we discussed whether or not I should go to emerg for some iv drugs.  I didn't want to go anywhere.  Especially with our hospital on high screening for H1N1.  I didn't want anyone else's germs.  So back to bed with a fresh ice pack I went.

When I got up this morning, now 37 hours from the onset of my headache, it still raged.  I had to have a shower.  I nearly passed out doing so, but after a few minutes I felt level headed enough to make a decision not to drive to work.  I called my sister in law and caught her as she headed out the door.  We luckily live 6 blocks away from each other and work for the same law firm.  She picked me up and off to work I went.  I arranged with hubby to pick me up at noon; I knew I'd never make the full day with all the pain.

People who haven't experienced chronic pain don't understand what you're dealing with when you tell them you've had a headache for 2 days straight.  Not, oh gee, my head's aching either.  I'm talking my head is going to explode if anyone whispers too loudly or if there's a blink of light in the room.  People at work are nice enough, but they just can't comprehend the effort it took me to not just stay in bed again today.  I went in and did what was important and necessary.  I feel very responsible for my duties at work and I'm not trying to shriek them.  Hubby collected me at noon and I came home, had some toast!! (not just arrowroot cookies) and crashed for another hour or so.

By the time supper rolled around I felt alright enough to have some chicken noodle soup and boiled some pasta for hubby.  My head has finally eased to about a 2 / 10 and I can actually say that I feel marginally better.  But after the last 48 hours, any less pain is a vast improvement.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ahhh.... the weekend

Having battled with a cough / cold / flu all week, I'm happy the weekend is here.  I know health professionals are saying stay home when you're sick in case it's H1N1, but they didn't have 2 major files close on Tuesday....

Oddly I haven't had a real headache all week.  My system was too busy fighting cold germs to worry about plaguing me with intense skull pain - works for me!!  But coughing for 12 hours straight Monday and Tuesday were enough of a reminder of my Chiari - my head wanted to split wide open with each cough.  And it was uncontrollable even with Buckleys!

Beyond a cold, there's not much to report.  The weather's cooled off with some wet snow on Wednesday, but it didn't accumulate.  It's been grey and dreary and not a lot of sunshine.  We did have a beautiful red sunset last night as I walked to the pool.  Sad though, sun's down by 7 now, soon to be earlier as we get closer to December 21st....  I hate grey days.  They're so uninspiring.

I'm gearing up for the December 4th and 5th craft show at West Thunder.  I've got a few new beaded angels made.  And there's a parcel at the border I have to run and get this weekend with a few more supplies.  I really have to get downstairs and take inventory of what I have left from last year and get busy on more stuff for this year.  Good thing I'm only doing one show this year!

And countdown is on again.  13 days until I see Dr. Gentili!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Struggle for Balance Continues

I'm trying to find between doing and not over doing it.  If I do a little extra, I end up with a headache...

I taught aquabics twice last week, plus went bowling on Friday and spent most of Saturday snuggled in bed with ice packs. The Maxalt only helps sometimes, not all.  If it doesn't help in the first two hours, it's not going to.  So the only solution is ice packs and a dark room.

This last few weeks has been worse than usual.  I think the combination of stress and fatigue has made my headaches more frequent and more intense.

I'm so looking forward to seeing Dr. Gentili on November 5th.  I just can't wait to know what his opinion is.  Will he have the same mindset at Dr. Haq - surgery, sooner than later? Will he even treat Chiari? Or refer me to someone else? Are there more tests needed?  Am I imagining all this pain?  Like some have said - is it just all in my head?  I have a list of 20 - 25 questions for him, and I'm not optimistic that he'll take the time to answer all of them, but I'm hoping he will.  I'm just looking forward to having answers so maybe I can figure out the next step.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Appointment Postponed

Received a phone message today from Dr. Gentili's office at Toronto Western.  My appointment has been moved from October 26 to November 5th.  Apparently the Dr. cannot see patients on the 26th.

I left my work number for the receptionist and she did call me back this afternoon.  I'm booked for a 10:30 appointment, still giving us plenty of time to get into Toronto.  Then I had to call Porter tonight and change the flights - $50 fee, per person, per flight! Yeouch!!  At least there is a seat sale which ate up 1/2 of that.

Now I have to go back to my family dr. and get him to resign another Travel Grant as he already signed and dated the one for October 26th.  Oh well.  Needed to go back for the end of the month for prescription refills anyway.

Not much else to report.  I had a headache this morning, but thankfully the Maxalt kicked it.  The back of my head was still sore and my neck was tender, but it was more manageable.  Taught aquabics tonight - only 4 ladies, including my mum.  I'm icing my neck now and I'm off to bed soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


That's my blood pressure.

And the Dr. says it's not that low.  He also said when he was screening young women entering the army in World War II....  WWII!! Yes, my Dr. is that old.  He said young women with low blood pressure would just pass out while waiting in line.  Comforting.  So feeling dizzy is just because of my low blood pressure.  His suggestion - salt.  Hmmm, not a great fix in my opinion.

But on a good note, he did approve my travel grant for hubby as my companion for my 2nd opinion visit at Toronto Western hospital on October 26.  Only 19 days to go!!

I've actually felt fairly well the last few days, some dizziness from the low bp, and the usual fatigue, but (touch wood!!!!) no headache.  The pressure at the back of my head is somewhat higher than average but it's not causing a headache right now.  Could be the rainy, cloudy weather. But it's been a couple good days, thankfully!! : )

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Another week sails by

It was quite a week.  Busy, tired, but thankfully only headachey part of it.

Tuesday was a bizarre day.  I woke up without a headache  But my left arm was completely numb.  My face was numb too.  I went to work and was having trouble thinking and seeing and speaking clearly.  I get strange symptoms sometimes with a migraine, but not usually without.  I felt bad enough to call hubby and have him take me to the emerg.

I was in quickly, but the nurses and doctor were all insistent that I had a migraine with no pain. I told the dr. that I have Chiari; he'd heard of it but had to go and look it up when he looked up my June MRI.  The dr. said he didn't think Chiari caused numbness or vision disturbance or anything I was experiencing.  He said I had a migraine without the headache.  He had an iv put in (the poor student nurse!! she got the vein the first time, but I bled all over the place!) and they treated me with Maxeran.  He said it is similar to the Maxalt I take but when I looked up Maxeran it is for nausea moreso than the headache pain.  It's used with chemo patients to help them combat nausea.  Oh well.  I did feel better - at least my arm was not numb and I could focus better.  But I was extremely irritable. And got a headache from trying to lie on the gurney without a pillow...  Strange emergency ward - no pillows - ever!  At least we were in and out in 3 hours.  And slept good that night for a change.

The rest of the week went well.  I felt alright for the most part.  Some fatigue as always.  Some pressure headaches after carrying files at work.  I taught aquabics on Thursday - first class of the fall session.  I felt good to be back at the pool, but I was exhausted at the end.

Count down is on - 21 days to my TO trip!!