photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “migraine

Hell Week (Revisited)

I can’t begin to describe the hell I’ve endured this past week. I’m sure by now my professors think I’m making up stories, but nope, this really is my life!

Before Carl (our cat who was ill with Feline AIDS) died last week, he tripped me at the stove as I was carrying a skillet full of boiling water. Rather than step on Carl, I took the hit- straight to the stomach. Image

It’s doing better now, and I explained to my professors that I have a severe burn on my belly and need a few days to get myself together. But that’s the good part!

Then my dog, Chance, bit my right ring finger when my son and his girlfriend were over (he was momentarily confused) and when I went to pick him up and move him, he snapped on my finger:

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I should have gone to the ER but I don’t like needles, so I chose to care for it at home. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I was a top med student at one time, so I’m right up there with a home nurse. (Sort of.) I understood going in, that there are two major infections to watch out for with a cat or dog bite: staph infection and then there’s the reeeeeally bad one- Pasteurella. People have died from that crap!

I took my chances. Already, my immune system is very tough: I take probiotics daily and a vast array of herbal supplements and have for years. I know that the first 24-48 hours is the most crucial time to watch out for signs or symptoms of a systemic infection. By the second day, I was already experiencing mild delirium, nausea, tremors, chills, night sweats, and a headache. For me, the headache bothered me the most, because I have a history of migraines. If I didn’t knock that headache out fast, it could grow into a migraine. Which is exactly what happened. And then came the vomiting. I couldn’t eat or drink anything for two days.

This went on for a few more days and I finally fell into deep sleep, after my Mom brought over some Phenergan and was able to knock me out, mercifully.  I wrote my professors explaining the situation (the severe burn my cat gave me and the bite my dog gave me) and realized how ridiculous it all sounded, so I sent pics too.

Yesterday was the first day I was able to actually get out of bed; I’ve spent the past two days catching up on schoolwork- 7 assignments and a massive Abnormal Psychology exam, but, I’m caught up again. I can only type with two fingers still, but at least I’m back at work and in the land of the living!

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Praying Down the Rain

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“Oh my goodness, I have a screaming migraine and it’s that time of the month. Is there anything else worse than that for a woman?” I asked.

“Is there anything worse than that for a man?!” Josh answered.

He has a valid point.
I knew it was too good to be true that I wouldn’t get a migraine, especially after mentioning it only yesterday. I awoke this morning with a skull-crushing migraine. it’s 1:15 a.m. and it’s now been almost 24 hours (straight) that I’ve had this. And that’s with pain medication. After several years of battling these things, you really do learn to live with them. I shop, cook, clean, write, do schoolwork- I do everything with a migraine and there really are no words to describe the pain. “Intense” just doesn’t do it and keep in mind that I chose to give birth to 3 children “naturally”, so I would know a thing or two about serious pain. This pain is far worse than childbirth. I didn’t cry or scream when I gave birth to my children. I went in like a soldier- no baby stuff! (Well, ok, “baby stuff” but no “sissy stuff”.) When I delivered my oldest daughter, Heidi, the woman down the hall was screaming her head off. I politely asked the nurse to ask her if she could be a bit quieter because she was distracting me. (Yep, true story, I’m afraid.)

My point is that I believe in “mind over matter”. I went in believing I could control my own pain during childbirth and I certainly did, or at least I psyched myself out to believe that I didn’t have to yell or scream or fall apart during it. (It worked.) So yes, I can take some massive pain. These migraines are no joke! I cry. Lots. I can’t liken it to any other pain I’ve ever known. Because this kind of pain comes with nausea, so it’s not enough that you feel as if your head is being sawn in half (from the back) but also, you get the added benefits of feeling like you’re going to barf continuously. Without ceasing. For 24 and 48 hours straight. It’s there when you go to sleep and it’s there when you wake up and it turns your dreams into night terrors.

Barfing and babies and pain and stuff really does have something to do with praying down the rain. That’s coming up.

In all of this pain, I can be grateful that my prayers were answered. I was in the kitchen yesterday and was so hot and miserable. I said a little prayer: “God, please let it cool down. Send the rain, Lord,” I said. And that was it. No big prayer meeting. It was said in one breath and with little after thought.

I woke up this morning and immediately was surprised. It was almost cold in the room! I looked out the window and the sky was grey and congested. My prayers had been answered, speedily. But it seems I traded in my “speed dial” prayer for a heavy dose of pain. I got the cool air and the rain, but my head was a total mess.

I remember a time when it was raining torrentially and Josh and I were helping a friend move. I was in a pickup truck and there was nobody around.

“God, could you hold off the rain so we can get this stuff moved?” I asked.

It didn’t rain for almost two months afterwards. We had one of the biggest droughts we’d had in years. And another time, I was walking home with a few bags of groceries. Not sure what the car story (or lack of it) was at the time, I just remember walking about a mile or so in the rain. No picnic.

“Lord, please make the rain stop.” And that was all I said. It stopped within the next 2 minutes. I could hardly believe it.

So yes. Now we have rain.
My head is screaming so badly at the moment. I have to go and lie down. The pain is reaching the “maddening” stage and I feel like I could smash glass. 24 hours of relentless pain is right up there with torture. I’m simply exhausted.

The peppermint tea is a small comfort.
Josh made homemade chicken soup.
That was a huge comfort.

🙂

Time to collapse.


Absolute Value is Always Positive

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Absolute value is always positive. (Nice to know.)

It’s been almost 100 degrees every day in this place: the sun is screaming hot and the air is stifling. We lay around like rags covering the furniture. We have an AC but we need three. Tomorrow we’ll get a couple more.

It’s 1:34 a.m. and it’s deliciously cool in here at the moment. Josh and I are considering exchanging our days and nights so we can work in the cool hours and sleep in the heat. It’s likely.

To recap for the day, we took a mile walk at the park after eating chicken salad sandwiches. The mile walk is a fair trade for a frozen pumpkin yogurt in a large waffle cone. Not that I have to, mind you. I still have a kicking little figure (even at 43) and although I rarely exercise, I do take very good care of my cells, particularly from the inside out. I’ve learned that if your cells are healthy, the rest of you follows. People are quite hung up on “the big picture” with their bodies- over all weight, etc. and I really think the answer to good body maintenance is in blood cleansing, colon cleansing, and proper oxidation. (Because well…proper oxidation does cleanse the blood.)

I really can’t get started on colon cleansing at 1:40 in the morning. Don’t I have better things to write about?

Which brings me right back to absolute value.
I’ve manages to bring my grade up a whole notch in pre-calculus. Just that word “precalculus” used to scare the crap out of me. Who knew that I’m actually pretty good at it? Go figure. I love it, and, I find it very easy to understand. (Hence my notes above.) Let’s see…let’s see…I scored a 50 out of 50 on a monster assignment in Health Psychology- didn’t see that one coming.

Josh is fiddling around with his gadgets and electronics- he continues to amaze me with his inventions. He’s always building something. I hear him now singing and playing his guitar. He’s happy. So am I. :0)

My head is throbbing and I’m sure I should go to bed but I have some reading to do in Public Speaking. Bob is out with friends, and Meatball has come home again! I may have forgotten to mention that Meatball (our 17 lb. cat) went missing several days ago. Alas, Josh rescued him earlier today. Josh is picking away “hillbilly style” now and having a downright foot-stomping jamboree in the other room.

“Wow, you sound really good,” I said to him.

“I sound like Hank Williams, don’t I?” He asked me.

“No,” I said. “You sound like Josh trying to sound like Hank Williams.”

There’s a celebratory vibe hanging in the air now. It’s 1:51.
I think we’re celebrating the cool night air! We know we’re going to be comfortable for at least 6 more hours. I’ve just realized that I haven’t had a migraine in quite some time.

Speaking of which, it’s time to hit the books.


Beef. It’s what’s for Dinner.

It’s been a crazy day.

Josh and I slept in. (Or thought we would.)

The sister-in-law called with the reminder that she had my $100 that she owed me.
She also reminded me that she dropped it off with someone else and I would need to retrieve it. Nice.
After having our coffee, we left, and made our rounds around town.

We got some gas then were off to pay a bill on the west side of town. From there, we split to the GFS Foodstore to pick up some (very, very good) beef ribs:

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From there, we were off to the park to pound out a mile (right at 15 minutes). Naturally, my head felt like raw heck when I woke up but pushed through the day regardless. What choice do I have?

Following the mile at the park, we hit up the Dollar Tree for T.P., paper towels, shampoo and such. We also found these nifty health pills that are loaded with Gotu Kola, Ginko, Acai berry and green tea extract. (Some of my favourite things.) We grabbed several packs along with some 5 minute Vitamin B12 power shooters and downed them in the car, along with some of the herbal pills. Afterwards, we were off to the Family Dollar where I repaid a debt I owed.

“Excuse me,” I said to the cashier. “I owe your partner, the elderly woman who’s in pain all the time, 3 cents. I’ve decided to pay 5 because she let me slide the other day.”

And with that, I gave the cashier five pennies, and with a quick smile, I left.

(My daughter, Brianna, brought to my attention the other day that I needed to go out and do a random act of kindness. I’m thinking that may qualify to some degree? Perhaps I’m a cheapskate.)

After letting several people cut in front of me  on a busy street (and making an old man smile), we ran back to the Dollar Tree, picked up some BBQ sauce…after popping into Sav-A-Lot for some milk and butter (the latter of which I have renamed “Better than Sex”- but not really) and then returned home.

Ignoring the nagging pain in my head, I stepped out onto my back deck and decided to spruce it up a bit.

The before pic:

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And after:

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I’ve got these interesting little seed thingies falling from the tree. They look like birdseed. Not sure what they are:

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It’s almost 7 and I’m acutely aware more and more that I’m making it particularly easy for a stalker to keep up with me. (I’m quite sure at this point that Mr. Broihier is following my every move. And to that I say, “Mr. Broihier, you indeed still suck, sir!”)

I had plans of sipping a frozen margarita on the deck with Marlene Dietrich’s bio, but no…no… I’m off to slow cook the ribs and catch up on Wheel of Fortune.

Another day gone…


Wretched Mess

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Today has been one of the most wretched days of my life. I’ve had the worst migraine that I’ve ever had, and it has been a doosy. I started my day with a strong dose of cayenne and ginger (as usual) , followed by a small  cup of medicinal tea. I was grossly nauseous, and so went back to bed. I tried to read some of my Bette Davis/Joan Crawford dual biography, but was too sick. The pain was mostly in the back of my head, exactly where my cyst is, and it was swelling- massive pressure was building up and as usual, it felt as if I’d been shot in the back of the head- but this is actually worse. When a person is shot in the head, more times than not, they die. If they don’t die, they’re rushed to the hospital and given large doses of morphine, stadol, demerol, or something of that nature so they’re not suffering. In my case, I have to sit it out. Minutes feel like hours. Words are too simple to describe this kind of ongoing pain.

I haven’t taken a phenergan in over a month, but I tried to take one half and be very still. Eventually though, my stomach revolted. My son asked, “Do you want me to bring you the trash can, mom?”

“No, I don’t want to throw up in front of everybody,” I said.

Two minutes later I ran to the bathroom and “worshipped the porcelain god” as the saying goes. Now if you’ve never thrown up a fairly large amount of cayenne pepper, you haven’t really lived yet. My whole head was on fire! My nasal passages felt as if somebody’d sprayed acid into them and I was crying tears that actually burned. (Not boo-hoo crying, but phsyiologically.) Also, the pain was exacerbated by the fact that I had a new surge of fiery adrenaline coursing through my body, particularly in my head.

I made it back to my bed and by God’s good mercy, was able to sleep. I woke up feeling like raw heck, drank a bit more of my medicinal tea (poppy seed tea, which actually works to kill the pain, if you can keep it down), and after five more hours of intense agony- ordered Chinese. (Might I recommend the moo shu beef? General Tso’s chicken is also a tasty dish, and crab rangoons make a great appeteizer. This is what I ordered, along with a coke and a few Pepsi’s.)

It is now 12:45 a.m. and the pain is still pretty intense (it’s moved around to my front right eye socket). Ibuprofin is a joke, but I took two anyway. It’s been three weeks since I’ve stopped taking my Lortab and Ambien. My liver was beginning to tell me that I couldn’t keep taking pills and remain “healthy”. Granted, I never exceeded 10 mg. at one time, which is the equivalent of 1 blue Lortab, (but seldom took even that much). This is part of the reason why I decided to become certified in Substance Abuse- I know far too many people who have been reduced to a mere statistic, having lost everything (including themselves) to drugs.

I’ve become passionate in my search for a homeopathic solution: pain management without having to take pharmaceutical chemicals. Poppy seed tea can be taken at small doses to combat severe pain, such as the pain from my arachnoid cyst, while still allowing me to function. Naturally, if you take a larger amount, you can get higher than a kite, but if I wanted to get high, I’d just smoke a joint. I like to be in control of my faculties though. This is part of the reason why I quit drinking liquor over five years ago. If I chose to not take anything at all, I’d be limited to “getting out of bed to pee” and that’s about it. I can’t live that way. So after much consideration and trial and error, I’m sticking with my cayenne, ginger, and med. tea, when necessary.

I do get more migraines this way (not taking pharmaceutical drugs) and some days it’s sheer agony, like today, but my liver feels 80% better.

Through it all, I’m able to say, “Thank you God for this pain. I still choose to praise you, and lift up Your Name.”

When I compare my pain, to the pain that Jesus had to endure, I shudder to think that I could even complain. I still have two eyes that see, and a heart that loves- two working hands, a family that I love and that loves me. I have much to be thankful for.

Much to be thankful for. 🙂


The Marriage of Black and White

 

I’m realizing only today why I’m so creative. Because I’ve had to improvize my whole life. Having next to nothing to work with, forces you to try harder. You have no choice but to experiment because you really don’t know what else to do. Over time, your style becomes defined, refined, and unmistakable.

Having to sell my rig, more than once, I was left with only my Canon G3. It’s a 4 MP dinosaur. Because I had nothing else, I decided to not only learn how to shoot in B&W + manual, but revel in it.

That was about two years ago. I’ve been shooting for about 7, but B&W rules me. I’m completely infatuated with the marriage between light and shadows. To me, black and white is already a story. The images within an image become the actors on the stage, or props, I suppose, but even if you have only one blank wall, and a cheap camera set up to photograph that wall, with a bit of natural window lighting hitting it (through parted curtains, say), then the clouds passing over the sun become the filters. The passing clouds increase and decrease the gamma and contrast naturally.

The story of B&W is one of masculinity and femininity. Life and death. Hot and cold. Love and hate. When stripped down to their very elements, they are in their most powerful state. I have little interest at the moment in HDR, filters of this or that kind- and while they’re great (and I have experience in those as well) I can’t escape the beauty of being stripped down to almost nothing, and simply working with what ya got.

That’s not to say I photograph things in the nude.

I’m experimenting with a new webcam I got. It’s a cheapie $18.00 Logitech. But it’s capable of shooting in B&W (Heaven……….!) and so I’ve been sitting here in my computer chair, painting shadow swans on my wall with my hands. When I move my hands back and forth to and away from my chest, the shadows become elongated horizontally. Such a simple action. But it changes the dynamics of everything.

And here are some snappies:

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This is generally how I feel several times a week.
“Ahhh…..close the curtains!”

(Migraines make the light absolutely unbearable.) Oh, and I wasn’t faking it. I did indeed wake up with a migraine.
I intentionally bleached the lighting, and jacked up the gamma so the blacks would be double heavy.

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Choppy, grainy, bleeding contrast, toasted exposure- what’s not to love?

(Yes, yes, I’m kidding.) But the shadows on my neck from my fingers are intentional.

It’s a fair statement to say that I am obsessed with shadows.

Perhaps I’ll post a video today.

Perhaps not.