Between the “migraine cocktail” that they put me on of Hydromorphone, Ketorolac, and Prochlorperazine, this next round of Prednisone, and getting an all-clear from a brain scan, I’m feeling better. My symptoms were increasing, my health felt like it was declining, and my concentration was getting cloudy. Still, as I neighbored a detoxing addict and someone screaming out in pain, I rightfully seemed an outsider. Who was I complaining about headaches when I could walk-in?
Doctor-Number-Seven was initially overly stern.
I’m sure he hadn’t warmed up to me as a headache sufferer because I agreed with him at the tail-end of my treatment, where he told me I didn’t seem like the type of patient chasing after [street painkillers] – I think one of the two he mentioned was Oxycodone – and through the fog of IV painkillers told him, “nah.” Truthfully, even in my most trying times, I’d really only want painkillers to kill the pain, not to abuse and trip on.
Because I know that, I know that even in my worst states, where I needed to go to the emergency department because my embarrassment over going to take care of an urgent need rather than a life-threatening need was finally less than the overwhelming pain I’d been in. As I told them, the pressure headache was a steady 5/10.
Me giving them such a low score probably made them mad.
I continued and told them that the migraines, caused by light oversensitivity, were closer to an 8/10, where I would be debilitated for between 30 seconds and 2-3 minutes. I started to get these pangs of hypertension which approached 10/10. Yeah, that’s it. He didn’t like that I compared it to a stroke. But, like, man…
That headache went on from 2019 December 28 to 2020 January 14.
What do you expect me to say to my insurance people when I was honestly scared for my health by those pangs? I haven’t been scared by these headaches. Even when they’re just dull pressure that feels like my head’s going to explode, I can still concentrate. Even when the migraines kick it up a notch, I can roll through them.
But when I violently contort based on knocks in my brain…
…Yeah, I’ll call that a fucking stroke, even if it’s not actually a stroke. I’m happy I went because even if I arguably shouldn’t have gone because it wasn’t actually life-threatening, I didn’t know that, and since things were worsening for me by the day, we didn’t know that. We took a brain scan, which I’ll write about in an upcoming essay, which I’ll write about in more detail then. The spoiler summary is that everything is fine there.
What are my next steps in this life and with this health?
Well, the Prednisone is working as it did, but the question becomes why did that help when the Meloxicam did not? Doctor-Number-Five told me that it as halfway between Prednisone and generic over-the-counter medications. If Prednisone is used to treat, among other miracle things with a limited lifetime usage apparently, inflammation, what is causing the inflammation? Is it a spinal issue? Stress from work? Eye strain? Diet?
That’s what Doctors-Number-Eight, -Nine, -Ten, and more have to decide.
I think the moment I cracked through the high-stress of -Seven was when I told him, “I dunno, man, I’m not a doctor.” I mean, sure, here I am listing off all the medications I’ve tried, but when you’re stuck in a perpetual hell, you’ll scratch your way through any way possible. You’ll memorize what worked and what didn’t. I forgot about Cyclobenzaprine.
This level of consciousness probably made him mad, too.
He’s probably more used to neurology patients with more apparent neurological issues, yet here I have Amitriptyline in my active vocabulary. It’s easier to say “amy-trip-ta-lean” than spell it, and when you remember Amy then lean, the rest tends to fill in itself. Actually, just like Doctor-Number-Five, he probably was stressed out because this was outside of his realm of practice.
Still, I’m happy to be on the mend.
I’ve asked the insurance company, finally now responsive – after I told them that I told my management that they haven’t been concerned over my health, about inflammation and ways to treat it. I’ll let them work on doing the research. This is outside of my field of study. Even reading Gray’s Anatomy casually, without concern for memorizing terms or knowing most of the words – just what’s relevant to me, is all so that way when I talk to these next doctors, honorary doctors like the one that had written up an expert opinion that included Botox injections.
Maybe that’ll smooth out some of the wrinkles around my brain.
I’ve had a good, if not sometimes dark, sense of humor toward all this because you can’t not when you wake up thinking “not this shit again.” It’s absurd, and when you believe everything is meaningless so you have to craft your own meaning based on your perceptions as I do, if I can write about it or make it into a joke, then it helps.
What if my headaches were caused by thinking too much?
Well, over these next few months, I’m going to be taking it easier with the hours of work after work. Essays particularly in this series, Media Meandry, and rowing address the physical and mental stresses of life along with releasing that stress so it doesn’t cause any undue tension. I’ll be scheduling more time for relaxation. I’m also doing as much as I can to learn about the body, mind, and headaches.
If these headaches are a chronic condition, I want to minimize their triggers.
I’ve always been a fan of exposure therapy. For me, encountering the stress and overcoming it is useful, and if not overcoming, at least dodging it so I can stab it in the side. I learned this all through sobriety.
Better to face your fears than drink or smoke them away.
|Quotes: Just me.|
|Sources: My personal experiences. My professional experiences based around not knowing whether I can take FMLA and keep my job contributed to the potency of the situation.|
|Inspirations: This “Tripping On [The American Healthcare System]” series is just me reporting on my experiences.|
|Related: Other Sober Living essays.|
|Photo: Even in the midst of my brain letting itself calm down for the first time in some fifteen days, I still had the clarity to think about taking a photo for this essay. It’s evidence to show I was there and location scouting for my second novel.|
|Written On: 2020 January 15 [42 minutes, from 9:35am to 10:17am, while listening to some King Gizzard live albums. WordPress.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 January 15 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|