Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bad Migraine Haiku

Besides trying to write my own migraine classifications, I’ve been trying to write Bad Migraine Haikus. I found a website called Bad Haiku. This is what the site had to say about them.

“I know that there are many rules to take into consideration when writing formal haiku, but the advantage of bad haiku is that you don't really have to follow any of them. On this site, most people do 17 syllable haiku structured in a 5 / 7 / 5 form.

So, basically, if (so ba si cally if)
you can speak in syllables (u can speak in syl la bles)
you can write haiku. (u can write hai ku)”

Here are my first two attempts:

My brain is pounding
Pinball bumping pain third ball
Migraines never tilt

Drama Queen on drugs,
for her migraines, not her soul.
Still in pain, she cries.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Our Body, The Universe Within

Inspired by The Chronic Babe article What does a migraine look like? Bodyworlds offers some perpsective by Michelle Milen-Rogovin about The BodyWorlds2 exhibit and migraines, I went to the Detroit Science Center this weekend to see a similar exhibit called Our Body, The Universe Within hoping that I would gain the same insights.

“Our Body: The Universe Within exposes the inner workings of human anatomy by presenting actual human specimens, anatomical displays, reproductions of historic anatomical artwork and much more. By presenting an artful, compelling and dignified environment, guests can connect with the human artifacts on a personal level that helps them to better understand their own bodies”

I had thought about going to see this before, but the squeamish factor kept me away. Since I am a vegetarian, I don’t even like seeing a steak taking a ride on the conveyor belt at the cash register at the grocery store, and I was worried the dead body thing might be too much for me as well. I got a little freaked out at the mummy exhibit at The British Museum once.

Still after reading the article, I thought if I could gain some insight into what’s going on in my head, maybe it might be worth it.

At The Science Center, I looked to see if they might have complimentary barf bags at the entrance, in case you felt sick, but I didn’t see any. Ahead of me in line was a mother with a twelve-year-old boy. He didn’t look nervous at all. I told myself, if he could handle it, I could, too.

The show was tastefully presented with classical music in the background and artistic lighting. Mostly the human artifacts looked like skeletons with salmon filets on them to be honest. I was able to see nerves, tendons, muscles, etc, and a few brains. Some of it was cool, and some of it was gross.

I wish I could say I had a moment of enlightenment during the exhibit, but I felt no bolt of inspirational lightening. I couldn’t say, “This is why head hurts so much.” I wish I could have come home and written a beautiful essay about my insights into migraines like Michelle Melin-Rogovi, but I was just glad that I acted like an adult and I didn’t throw up.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Types of Migraines

After my conversation with my friend where I tried to unsuccessfully explain how different my migraines can be, I decided to start a list of my own migraine classifications. I don't know if I'm going to show it to her yet, but it made me feel better just writing it. Here is my list so far:

The Hail Mary
This is the type of migraine where I am in so much pain that I think I am going to die and the Virgin Mary is going to come get me at any moment to take me to heaven.

Taxi Please!
I'm not going to die, but I'm terrified to drive to work

The Serial Killer
An invisible serial killer is stabbing the top of my skull with a very sharp knife.

Flaming Nora (also known as the flaming skull from Ghost Rider)
The inside of my skull feels like it is on fire.

The Medusa
The veins and arteries in my head are pulsing so bad that it feels like snakes are moving inside my head.

This is self-explanatory.

The Monster
This is when I am trapped at work with a migraine and I am screaming inside “The Light! The Light!” as if I am a vampire, or I am stuck in the bathroom, making ungodly noises like a werewolf, because I am getting sick.

Brave Little Soldier

This is a mild to moderate migraine, where I take my migraine drugs and I try to go on with my day like a brave little soldier.

The Reduced Intelligence (also known as Dumb Shit or Low Wattage Girl)
This is a mild pain migraine, but I find I cannot concentrate on much of anything and I ending up watching crap reality shows like I love New York and I think I am watching good television.

Jitter Bug
This is a combination of nasty PMS and a Migraine. I am feeling very insecure while at the same time, feeling as if I am going to come out of my skin from the pain and pressure from a migraine. This is the type of migraine where running with scissors seems like a logical thing to do.

These types of migraines can be combined together to create even more interesting migraines. The Serial Killer and The Barfomatic frequently love to join up together.

What's on your migraine classification list??

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

You always have a migraine!

I woke up this morning with considerable migraine pain, but seeing how I just got back from vacation at work, I thought I would take my migraine drugs and soldier onto work. A dear friend called me early to chat about my vacation and during the conservation, she asked me what was wrong, that I didn't sound like my normal self.

I told her that I had a migraine to which she replied "Don't you usually have a migraine? You always have one. That shouldn't be anything new to you. Why would that make a difference?"

That really caught me off guard, considering she is one of my closest friends. I thought about it for a moment and replied that like the Eskimos having different words for snow, I have different types of varying migraine pain. There is the "I think I'm going to die" type pain, or the "I'm not going to die, but I'm terrified to drive to work" pain. What about the "I'm going to puke in the next three seconds" pain or the "I think I can get myself to work and get through the day" type pain?

There was a huge silence after I explained, and I could sense that she still didn't understand. I'm not sure what else I could have said, but it made me feel very alone when I got off the phone with her.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Vacation Success!

I just got back from my vacation in Mackinaw, Michigan, and I have to say it was a successful trip because for once I was able to manage my migraines during the summer. The weather was 77 degrees, and I wore my floppy hat with my sunglasses every day. I drank lots of water and I took frequent breaks. In the morning, I drank a V8 and I made sure I ate lots of protein like scrambled eggs.

On the island, I was able to do everything I wanted to do like take a carriage tour around the island, walk on the balcony at The Grand Hotel, visit a butterfly house, stop at all the souvenirs shops and even eat a small piece of chocolate fudge without my head exploding.

The serious migraine pain didn't start until the trip home, but I was so happy that I had so much fun on the island, that it didn't seem like that big of a deal.

I'm so thankful to all the migraine girls online who gave me such wonderful advice on how to handle migraines under the summer sun!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Vacation Migraine Barbie

Migraine Barbie is ready for vacation in Mackinaw Island, Michigan. She has a water bottle to keep hydrated and there are lots of migraine drugs in her tote bag. My cat stole her barbie sized floppy hat, so she will have to buy another one when she gets there. Thank goodness, she still has her stylish sunglasses!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another Stinky Situation

I was finally proactive about a stinky situation at work. Remembering what happened with the "lilac' incident a while back, when a co-worker's flowers were making were making me nauseous when I had a migraine, I decided to do something about another "smelly" situation. Yesterday, a co-worker girl was giving herself a manicure at her desk with fingernail polish remover and nail polish, and once more, I was back in nauseous city.

I thought about saying something directly to her, but she's not the sweet, kindly lady of the office with her grandmother's flowers from her garden. This girl is a little scary, as if she might beat you up in the parking lot after work, so I sent my team leader an email saying, "Can you send out a friendly reminder email about smells in the office. Someone in my direction over here is doing her nails with polish and nail polish remover and it's making me nauseous with my migraine."

Well, it worked. She sent out an email memo saying "Just a friendly note to all to be courteous of your neighbors who may have sensitivity to overbearing scents, odors (primarily heavy perfumes, colognes, nail care products). Please be conscious of using such items as many are allergic or have allergy related issues around such scents/odors."

And the girl put her smelly shit away. Yeah for being proactive!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Great American Hydration Taste Test

I’ve been trying to find the best beverage to stay hydrated during my upcoming vacation, so I’ve been conducting by own taste tests to see what I like best. Mostly, I’m a caffeine free pop kind of girl, except for my recent drama with Glaceau Rescue Water, which has left me mentally scared after they changed their formula.

As I’ve been trying new beverages, I learned that I don’t like Splenda. It gives me this weird tang in my mouth that is hard to describe. It’s not exactly burning, but more like a chemical reaction, and this sensation lingers in my mouth for a very long time.

Therefore, I thought I could avoid it by looking for labels marked with Splenda, but it turns out some vitamin waters like Dasani Plus hide Splenda in their ingredients under the name “sucralose.” I thought Splenda had the trademark but apparently not.

Next, I started trying Gatorades, which I’m mostly tossing into the “yuckville” category. The only one I finished drinking was Gatorade Rain which tasted like a watered down berry coolade. I’m trying to find the lemonade one to see how that tastes.

I’m almost at the point where I wish I could make my own Migraine Chick “migraine blaster” beverage. It would have green tea, chamomile, B vitamins, magnesium and electrolytes. Plus, some pain killers thrown in.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Floppy Hat Success!

I recruited another friend yesterday to go floppy hat shopping with me. We first went to Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor and once again "the attack of the giant melon" prevented me from finding any suitable head gear.

Next we tried downtown Ann Arbor, thinking some of the trendy stores might have something, like Urban Outfitters, etc. The last store we went to was Bivouac on South State Street.

I found my floppy hat!! It's a Solar Roller Hat by OR Women, designed and tested for women by women, and it has UPF 30+ SolarShield. It's not too tight and it appears to be crushable, so I don't have to worry about shoving it into a tote bag. And it only cost $28.00, which for Bivouac is cheap.

Now if I can only get my new hat away from my stuffed migraine bear, I might have a chance at having a good vacation in Mackinaw!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Migraine Barbie and The Chocolate!

Barbie only had one piece of chocolate before her migraine struck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Pain and Independence

How does pain affect your independence? Do you push yourself too hard? Do you hide the fact that you're in pain? Is it hard to ask for help?

I was invited to address these questions, along with several other people who blog about pain, by HowToCopeWithPain. To see all the other posts, go to the How To Cope With Pain blog.

“M” is for Migraine

I think one of the hardest things for me to do is asking for help, especially when I have a migraine. Here is an example of how a simple task like driving to work and parking my car became a crisis when I combined being a migraine chick with being too overly independent.

The other day, I woke up with a blazing migraine, feeling a lot like the flaming skull in the movie “Ghost Rider”, and I really wanted to stay home sick, but I had already called in sick three times this month. I considered calling a friend to drive me to work, but I didn’t want to impose on her and I thought I could manage on my own.

Pushing on, I took my migraine drugs, dressed as comfortable as I could in khakis and a cotton blouse, and I drove myself the twenty miles to work, where my building is located in a sprawling office park with several service drives and a nearby expressway. Never having been good with directions, I only know one way in and out of the parking lot.

That morning, I found several orange cones blocking the entrance to the parking lot. Huh? I glanced around, realizing there was a work crew blacktopping that section of the parking lot. There had no memos or warnings about this!

Feeling my head pain cranking up, I took a few deep breaths. All I wanted to do was park my car and stagger into work like a zombie. I didn’t need this today.

Trying to stay calm, I located another nearby entrance where I saw some cars parked in another section, but I found the spots were all taken and there was nowhere to turn around because the exit was blocked by more orange cones. Therefore, I had back down the row of cars to get out of the mess. My nerves were fraying by the second.

At this point, I saw a co-worker, who I know by face but not by name. She was walking into the building, apparently having found a coveted parking spot. For a second, I considered asking her for help, but I didn’t embarrass myself by saying I had a migraine and I couldn’t even find an alternate place to park my car at the building where I had been working for the last three years.

Back on the street, I drove around to the other side of the building. I had heard there was another parking lot, but I had never been on the other side and I couldn't find the driveway.

By now, my head was going nuts. I was nearly crying by now, which was making my migraine a lot worse. The sunlight was killing me even with my sunglasses, and my stomach was twisting with nausea.

With my burning pain brain feeling like it was bouncing around the inside of my skull, I tried to consider my options. I could keep driving around like a lunatic until I had a break down or I could just go home, or I could call my team leader inside the building and have her help me get to the right spot.

Digging into my purse, I found my cell phone and dialed my team leader. Thankfully, she answered. The conversation started with my saying “Please don’t think I’m an idiot, but I’ve got a migraine and I find a place to park my car,” and it finished with her getting me to a parking spot.

As I was getting out of my car, it occurred to me this wouldn't have happened if I weren’t so hell bent on being independent even with a migraine. If I had just asked my friend for a ride to work, I could have avoided this. If I had just asked that co-worker to help me find another parking spot, I could have avoided this. And look when I did ask for help the sky didn't come crashing down.

Walking toward the building, I suddenly looked back at my car; worried that I would forget where I parked by the end of the day. Towering over my car was aisle sign. Oh, that was going to be easy to remember, I thought, staring at the huge letter. “M” is for "Migraine."

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Girl with the Giant Melon

I discovered something about myself yesterday that I never knew before. I have a large melon for a head. I embarked on what would soon be a shopping quest with a girlfriend to find a floppy hat to keep the sun off my head during my upcoming vacation.

How do I know it was a quest? My definition for a shopping quest is when I have to go to two more stores to find a particular item.

I went to seven stores at the mall and not one floppy hat fit my head!

Then we decided to go to an Army surplus store thinking we might find something there. Again, nothing fit my head. I tried a boonie hats, Tilley hats, floppy hats, and straw cowboy hats. The only thing that fit me was a metal helmet!

By then, I was completely complex ridden about the size of my melon. I kept saying to my friend “I have a huge melon. This is why I have migraines because my brain and my skull are so large.”

Then she pointed out my hair. I have a lot of hair. It is very thick, wavy and shoulder length. She said my hair was altering the size of my head.

So, I felt a little better, but I still need to find a floppy hat. The quest continues next weekend.