Monday, November 20, 2006

Observations on a Migraine and the Way It Completely Disrupts My Life!

My amazing father left me with a legacy of wonderful things.

He gave me his sense of humor, his unconditional love and acceptance, and 20 years of great memories. Unfortunately, he also passed down his medical history – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and migraines.

Now, I am grateful I only suffer the occasional migraine. I know there are those who live in constant pain from migraines. Their pain is so intense it become debilitating and prevents them from living a normal life. Brett’s sister is one such example.

So, my occasional migraine is not such a big deal in the scope of things. However, being a migraine sufferer, I can tell you it is also no picnic.

Due to my blessedly limited experience, I can now tell the vague differences between headaches. There are slight headaches, normal headaches, pounding headaches, throbbing headaches and then the warp speed blast in migraine territory.

Personally, I’ve only ever gone to the migraine stage of throwing up, sobbing, and rocking back and forth from the pain – but, believe it or not, some people get it worse. There have been reports of people taking a gun to their head to try and stop the pain. My own sister-in-law once said she got to the point where all she wanted was for someone to crack her head open to just relieve the constant, paralyzing anguish.

Most doctors believe that migraines have “triggers” – something in a person’s body make-up that brings on a migraine. The problem? Everyone has different triggers, and some people (like me) don’t know what they are.

We have suspicions, of course. I think the barometric pressure and allergies (ragweed, smoke) may contribute to my occasional migraine, but I’m not really sure. And, at this point in time, there’s not a lot doctors can do to treat a migraine. It is one of the most horrible ailments in modern medicine today, and (sadly) there’s no cure.

Today I am in MRM (Migraine Recovery Mode). It’s that all-over-achy feeling the day after a migraine – when you feel like you’re recovering from someone beating your head in with a baseball bat. I called in to work and am now sitting here sipping hot green tea and feeling somewhat philosophical.

Yesterday started out like a regular Sunday. We got up a little later but still managed to make it to morning service at church. I felt a slight (and what I assumed was normal) headache when we went Dollar Store shopping after church.

But the migraine was starting to take over by the time we started grocery shopping. And by the time we got home and put groceries away, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed; put the covers over my head and just cry.

So, that’s what I did.

Brett went to evening church, and when he got home, things were worse. I had gone into my throwing up, sobbing, and rocking back and forth phase. He got me some aspirin and a cold pack and tried (for a sweet but non-nurturing person) to sympathize.

The thing that amazes me is how confused Brett gets when I’m incapacitated for any measure of time.

I do a lot of work around the house. To be fair, he does a lot of work, too, but it’s more occasional stuff – taking out the garbage, mowing the yard, cleaning ducts, etc. I do the everyday stuff that HAS to get done – dishes, laundry, cleaning, feeding the rabbits, cleaning up after the rabbits – stuff like that.

Well, last night, Brett took the initiative and washed all the produce for the rabbits and packaged it for the week. That’s a prolonged process and one I usually do. So, that was very nice.

I also asked if he could clean their litter box. I could tell he was a little annoyed – “Can’t that wait until tomorrow?” he asked me.

In my head, I know what he’s saying – that I’ll feel better by tomorrow and then (of course) I can do it, instead of him. That irradiated me. Still does. Cleaning the litter box is definitely NOT a glamour job, but it’s not hard to do, and I do it every week. I also “do” the vegetables every week. He can’t do it for one week? He loves the rabbits as much as I do, but when it comes to caring for them, he’s a little bit of a disappointment.

I pointed out to him that the litter box was full, full, full – and I usually do clean it out on Sunday. “Okay, okay,” he says and then lies down on the bed next to me to “rest for just a minute.”

The next thing I know, it’s 12:30 a.m. and all the lights in our room are still on. My aching head is berating me for those stupid lights. I shake Brett lightly and ask him to go turn off the lights – knowing full well that this extended “rest” is his way of “getting out” of cleaning the litter box, but not caring, since all I want is the blessed coolness of dark at this point.

“In a minute,” he tells me, rolling over. I can’t help it. The time for politeness is past. My migraine is a tough task master. “NOW!” I practically scream, clutching my head.

“Fine!” Acting more irritated at the inconvenience than sympathetic (although I would have thought he’d have been happy to have avoided the litter box task) he rolls out of bed, stomps over to the light switch, and flicks it off.

Too tired and in too much pain to care, I promptly fell asleep.

This morning, I am feeling better, although still in MRM. I got up and called in to work – I’d be no good to them today. Then, I went downstairs to make a nice hot cup of tea.

And saw them.

All the dishes Brett used to wash the produce – piled high on the countertop. Understandably, this caused me some irritation. Now, still in MRM, I have the task of washing dishes AND cleaning the rabbits’ litter box.

I’m tempted to leave it all be.

The thing is - I’m always telling Brett that a household job isn’t done – until it’s done. You can’t make dinner and leave all the dirty dishes – that’s part of the job. You can’t do laundry and leave clean clothes piled on the bed for someone else to fold – that’s part of the job. You can’t stuff the garbage so full that eventually the other person has to take it out – that’s part of the job.

It’s frustrating to be in MRM and still have to think about functioning.

So, I’ve decided not to do it. At least not now. I’m going to have another cup of tea, a bagel, and curl up on the couch.

Let the world and my chores wait. No one else will do them for me, obviously, so I say they can all wait until I’m ready.

And I’m not ready yet!

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