Tag Archives: migraines

Travel Musings

In theory, I’d love to travel to a bunch of cool places ~ England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Israel, etc. ~ but practicalities always quench my wanderlust. First, the cost. Second, the time. Third, my migraines. It’s not only long plane flights that mess with my head, but everything about changes in my environment ~ food, sleep, weather, etc. ~ are pain triggers as well. I also don’t like to leave my furbaby. Right now, it’s an emotional challenge for me to go away for more than two nights in a row, but luckily I have a trusted friend to come over and take care of Gatsby.

I thought I had blogged about my idea for a post-retirement (and post-kitty) epic U.S. trip, but apparently I only discussed it on Facebook. My previous plan was to take train rides from the Pacific Northwest across the country. I’d see Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, etc.; then onto Chicago, Philly, and NYC; up to Boston, Vermont, NH, and Maine; down to DC, Nashville, Atlanta, and New Orleans; over to New Mexico and Utah; smoosh Yellowstone in there somewhere… basically see lots of new places, plus old friends (and meet friends in person with whom I’ve been corresponding for decades). But I’m not sure this is a good plan any longer, given the state of railroads these days. Dunno if I want to drive thousands and thousands of miles alone when I’m old, but…

I have this fantasy that after I retire (and after my kitty has rainbow-bridged), I could get rid of most of my stuff and do this epic trip in a comfy vehicle. But still… so much driving! Oww, my neck hurts just thinking about it. After the trip is over (three-four months, who knows?), I could figure out where to resettle in California, in a less expensive area away from the coast.

Be nice to visit Canada at some point too. That reminds me: I still haven’t bothered to get a passport after all that fuss to finally obtain my birth certificate. Yes, I am legal! I know, it was iffy there for a while, lol. But all this road-trippin’ is only a fantasy. It’s not like this crazy vacay would be cheap ~ I’d need to stay in a lot of motels and buy a lot of snadwiches. Not to mention gas!

The furthest I ever go these days is the Bay Area, which luckily is fabulous, and not only because my awesome daughter lives there with her awesome fiance and their awesome puppy. But mostly because of that. 😍

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Anything, Everything

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Anything is not possible; everything is not possible. We can begin there. If you disagree with those premises, I think you would be part of another conversation, Childhood Myths 101. Just down the hall.

I’ve always enjoyed fantasy though. It doesn’t seem incompatible to me, to disbelieve in the supernatural and also to entertain the possibility of impossible things. Maybe once, a long time ago, more things seemed possible to me. I think that must be true.

Fiction has to be more “believable” now to me in some ways however for me to escape into it. Forex, I’ll go along with time travel, but I won’t accept a character with a posh apartment overlooking Central Park on a waiter’s salary and no other means of support. Nope. I’m hyper-aware of economics in movies now. It really irritates me when writers give their characters homes and cars way out of their apparent budget sans explanation. But it’s fine if they stick a ghost in that same house. No problem.

It’s very trendy now, ever since Gone Girl perhaps, to give us unreliable narrator/s. One of the first times I can recall digging into such a story was as a teenager with Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing. It didn’t hold up as well on a much later re-read, but regardless it set the concept for me that an unreliably told story was something I enjoyed. The reader has to do more work and I don’t mind that at all. A friend mentioned that Hereditary could be viewed in this light, as a story told completely through the eyes of the schizophrenic son with no supernatural elements involved at all. Interesting idea!

One of the criticisms of romance novels is that they’re “formulaic,” but to the romance reader that’s not a bug but a feature. We want to know going in that no matter how bad the odds look for the future of this couple, no matter how much they appear to “hate” each other when they first meet, and no matter how many miles separate them, they will end up together at the end. The pleasure is in watching them navigate all the obstacles set in their path, knowing they will overcome them because they love each other, simple as that (as opposed to real life where people break up over the dumbest things). I don’t enjoy romances when the protags aren’t struggling to be with each other and it’s only a twist of fate which throws them together at the last mo. Unsatisfying!

I think the Jennifer Crusie romance novel Faking It about art forgery/fraud would make a good movie. Someone should get on that.

I sometimes enjoy an action/adventure movie where the protag (or anti-hero) takes crazy risks when I know he’ll prevail. It’s funny how these films aren’t usually dismissed as “formulaic” while romcoms are, maybe because they’re marketed more to men. It’s fine to be formulaic if we’re talking car chases and gunfights! I never hear 007 flicks disparaged like that. Anyway, I like these on occasion, even though we never get to see the ones where a hero takes a risk, fails, and ends up on disability for the rest of his life. There’s a lot of various suspension of disbeliefs necessary in many of the action movies too, such as why the hero never misses with one shot while managing to dodge a hail of bullets from professional assassins, etc.

I’m ready for some good dramas ~ I was telling peeps this last night. The Seagull was good and I want to see a few more on that level or better. Complex, character-driven stories that stick with me for a while. But I don’t know if any of those are coming up in my area. On my list now: Distorted, The Cakemaker, Mamma Mia, Puzzle, The Spy Who Dumped Me. Assuming any of these end up playing conveniently near me, that is. So tired of seeing my local theaters all overloaded with blockbusters on every screen. BORING. Do not want to see dinos, migraine triggery cartoons, or Star Wars #857. Changed my mind on The King, since it’s not actually about him but the 2016 election. Gahhhhhhhh! Talk about a horror movie.

I go to the movies to ESCAPE from that.

MP5: The Seagull

seagull movie

I wouldn’t have even known about this movie, except for a couple of my eagle-eyed friends having spotted it playing in Irvine earlier and chirping excitedly about it. All of us love Saoirse Ronan ~ the first time I saw her was in Lady Bird, which I thought was fab, but my peeps didn’t get into that flick so much. Anyway, a different friend and I winged our way to Westpark 8 yesterday to check out The Seagull.

First, the acting was incredible. What a cast! Annette Bening. Love her. She was superb as the aging, jealous, petty yet complex matriarch. Saoirse was wonderful. Elizabeth Moss was great. And Brian freaking Dennehy! Everyone else was amazing as well.

Second, the first third of the movie was boring AF. My friends disagree and it’s true I am not known for my patience. But I was literally tapping my foot and yawning. It dragged on and on setting up these characters. This would have worked better in writing. I could totally imagine reading The Seagull as a romance novel and becoming engaged after skimming through the beginning. Country house, games, clothing, flirtations, play within a play, yada, etc.

Third, once things began to happen, the movie fully enchanted me. It was the age-old story, perfectly summarized by the J. Geils Band in “Love Stinks” (“you love her, but she loves him, and he loves somebody else; you just can’t win”), but there are no new stories, so everything depends on how you tell the ones we have. The Seagull is a great one, which we would expect, given that it’s based on the play by Anton Chekhov.

I got confused at the end and thought they messed up the movie, but that was just my brainfog. In my defense, that’s actually happened to me in a movie and the audience began yelling that the film was all screwed up. I took migraine meds yesterday and started taking allergy meds too because I’m tired of being itchy and stuffy along with suffering stabby pain. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep, since that sometimes happens with allergy meds, but my sleep was “normal.”

After I got things sorted out in my mind, all was excellent again. I recommend this movie, as long as you’re chill with a slow start.

Not sure which movie I’ll see next. Not everything plays conveniently to my location.

Conflicting Philosophies on Chronic Pain

In honor (lol) of migraine awareness month, here is another poast on the topic.

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There are two basic ways of dealing with chronic pain, and neither is “right” nor “wrong.” They are simply different. One may work for you, or the other might be more helpful. One may be more useful at certain times in your life (say 9-5) and the other at different times (nights and weekends, possibly). I’m just throwing some ideas on the table and clarifying them for myself via the written word, as I do.

1. Fake it ’til ya make it.

This is the traditional approach of visualizing the thing you want (a happy, pain-free existence) by pretending you already have it and smiling, acting cheerful, never mentioning your ailments, etc. Just ignore the throbby slammy hammer pounding itself through your eyeball and soon you won’t even notice it’s there cuz you’ll be having so much freakin’ fun! Seriously this sometimes works for me a little if only because I just don’t even want to talk about the fact that I’m feeling awful (especially in the office), since it doesn’t help anything and why bother; while I might not be chipper I can get immersed in a task, and there are times (if I’m lucky) the pain may subside somewhat.

2. Eff that ~ lying is stressful.

What a relief to read on the migraine site that we don’t have to fake it. As if it isn’t stressful enough to suffer from migraines, we also have to deal with society’s pressure to always be happy and smile. Why? Because we make other people uncomfortable if we don’t. Well, that’s their problem, isn’t it? Our problem is that we’re in horrible pain, nauseated, dizzy, etc. They’ll just have to deal with the fact that we aren’t flippin’ cheerful at the mo. This is my preferred approach outside of work. If I’m in pain, I’m not gonna lie about it to my family and friends. If I need to rest at home, that’s what I’ll do. Why the heck would I lie, say I feel great, go out to a loud, bright movie, and throw up? Dumb!

“Not trying to be positive all the time is a radical act of self-care.” ~ Kerrie Smyres, from the above-linked article.

It’s Migraine Awareness Month!

Good thing I opened this reminder email to be aware of migraines as I literally just took a sumatriptan. Hah.

I haven’t done much migraine bloggery lately because nothing much has changed. I’m still suffering constantly and the pain greatly impacts my life. As my fellow migraineurs know, it’s not only the actual days of pain that ruin events, but the fear of pain and the avoidance of triggers which make us just as anxious, not to mention the side effects of any meds. We don’t drink or smoke, and we avoid loud crowded places, travel, perfume, bright sun, cold wind, etc. We try to stick to routines as best we can. I don’t need a bunch of suggestions in comments ~ I’ve been on top of migraine news for decades, have read all the ideas of things to try and give up, have tried many, and if I haven’t tried something there’s a good reason for it.

Right now, I’m on a low-carb diet, just to see what happens with respect to migraines. I was optimistic at first, but now I’m back to “normal” with a 3-day horrible wave of pain. I like the diet though in general. It feels good to eat meat again (sorry cows) and I’ve been tired of my habits for a while. Obviously sugar is bad, and my lazy way of eating wasn’t healthy (cookies for dinner!), even if I didn’t gain weight. It’s great to have salad and avos daily, cheese, nuts (in moderation), lox, etc. I haven’t actually eaten much meat ~ one small steak so far and a small bowl of beef soup. Mostly I have salad with a little chicken on top, and I eat eggs frequently. I’ve been doing this for around two weeks, though more seriously for this last week.

The problem with the diet overall is nausea. Besides laziness, one of the reasons I ate so many carbiful meals was not only because they were yummy but also they were gentle on my tummy. My tummy does not want salad or meat in the morning (and sometimes not later in the day); it doesn’t always want the traditional egg breakfast either. There aren’t many breakfast choices that are appealing on the low-carb plan. Luckily, I’m not that hungry on it, but skipping meals is not good for the migraine sitch. In fact, it might be triggering some of this current wave of pain. This is a dilemma that could be easily solved with a bagel, lol.

Peeps do this diet to lose weight, but I don’t know what I weigh because my scale failed (I think I got water in the battery compartment when I washed the floor) and I threw it out. I’ve been too lazy to buy another one. This is a really bizarre turn of events! I’ve never been sans scale, and I’m curious to see how long I can last. I do have a doctor’s appointment coming up, so it’s not as though I’ll be completely in the dark.

I can always hope for a new miracle cure. The drug companies are always researching new migraine meds ~ our heads are big biz. I guess I should feel lucky that there are so many of us suffering together.

 

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Glittertrails

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I’m glad I’m not famous, or every st00pid thing I’ve written would be immortalized forever. Remember when we used to shoot the shit with friends and those convos would drift off into the aether, lost with our hangovers? If there was any brilliant philosophical insight or poetic piece of pretty, they’d be gone too, poof. But now we tweet and fb our every stray strand of emotion, and hopefully no one screencaps it since we’re nobodies. I myself have deleted more things than I’ve poasted. Yes, while you’re all sleeping, I walk the cyberbeaches in the moonlight and erase my footprints. Well, I used to do a lot more of that; now I do it only sporadically.

While I was poking around the otter day, searching for lost writings, I found this piece of poast* which I really like, even out of context, and will share it with my loyal blogfans.

Laurel Canyon. The summer of nineteen seventy-nine. I am my own gaslighter. I drive too fast on these curvy roads, but I am made of silk and butter, and I slide around danger like an egg on a sizzling skillet, close to the edge, but always slipping back to the center before anything terrible happens. Something would happen soon. I run through the scenarios in my mind every time I leave the house. There are times I believe the bad thing has already occurred and I scour old newspapers for the story. I have to go to the library to find the papers because someone won’t let me see the mail. People creep around the house and hide things from me. Who are they?

I’ve poasted about gaslighting a few times now, and every time I do I end up deleting the poast because it’s too personal and I’m uncomfortable with it sitting out there for anyone to read. Even though this blog doesn’t get much traffic, it is public after all. Theoretically, anyone in the world could stop by. I don’t feel like changing permissions when I get all emotionally vomitatious; I’ve done it in the past and it’s too cumbersome. In any case, I’m not some wannabe counselor or a Linky Laura going for adrev ~ either my poasts are about me or there’s no point.

Well, actually my long game is to accumulate a giant number of blog readers that I can eventually show to a publisher and say SEE I HAZ POTENTIAL BOOK BUYERS! But er for that I would actually need to write a book. Gah, details. Always details!

I had a cold for a week, which wouldn’t be a big deal, except it triggered a cascade of violent migraines and I’ve been very dizzy and nauseated. Still not 100% “normal” yet. I missed a few days of work, and I haven’t been able to write much or do needlework at home. I just zone out in front of the TV every night. But finding that gaslighting snip has motivated me. This weekend I’ll be getting back to my pomes. These are cathartic, a purge of years of old moldy boxes from the attic, and I caution everyone not to buy the poetry book when I plop it onto Amazon because the pomes are simply dreadful. Post-ploppage, I shall return to my Real Writing.

*phrase stolen from the Great & Powerful Lizard

Gratitude

Gratitude

I don’t usually express gratitude publicly. I’m grateful for sumatriptan, which usually knocks out a migraine, but I can’t thank a pill—I should thank a scientist. I’d have to research that, find out who first discovered Imitrex back when. A team of scientists? Who knows. I’m glad it’s generic now, wish I could get more than nine pills per month though, since I get more than nine migraines per month. I could, if I went outside insurance, but who can afford that? Anyway, I am grateful for sumatriptan. My NaNoWriMo wordcount is derailed however due to last night’s pain.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Gratitude

In Which I Force Myself to Pay Attention

Some days I get down in the grumps and wonder why X keeps happening. Depending on the day/month/year, X could be any number of things. Which is why we’re using X…

I remember once thinking that I was really unlucky with tires and got way more flats than other people. Maybe there was something weird about the way I drove, like I was a nail magnet or something? When I mentioned that to the tire guy, he said, oh, everyone thinks they’re unluckier than normal about their tires. That was pretty funny. I haven’t had a flat since (now I will since I wrote this).

There are days I think I’m in horrible pain all the time, like this morning (when I was in horrible pain from a migraine with stabby neck throbs and nausea), but that’s not true. It just seems true when I’m suffering… and then when I’m not, I forget to notice. Why? Because though I have chronic pain, it’s actually normal for me not to be in horrible pain ~ there’s a difference, and it’s important to acknowledge this. I need to notice the times I feel OK, like now, and remember them.

I’ve said I’m a magnet for certain types of people, but I’ve noticed others saying the same thing. You know the types we mean ~ the drama royals, the narcissists, the nutcases. If you’re not one of these, and even if you are, you’ve surely encountered them. After a few instances, we announce, “I must be a magnet for them!” Well, no. But our interactions with the “types” are so much more vivid than our interactions with ordinary folks that we focus our attention on the types. Hence we decide we’re a magnet. If I force myself to recall more interactions, it turns out that I’ve had many more with ordinary people than with the types. They just aren’t as memorable.

At the risk of sounding a little bit woo, I need to focus my attention more on things that bring me pleasure (writing, good health, organizing plans, etc.) and less on things that make me unhappy (flat tires, horrible pain, the “types,” etc.) It’s just common sense.

Next up: crystals and aromatherapy.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Magnet

Infused Water

Back in the day, my mom sometimes cut up a lemon and put it in water, no big deal. There wasn’t even a name for it. We didn’t call it lemon water or anything but water. Jump forward several decades and sticking stuff in water has become a culty fad. Which I have assiduously avoided because I hate leaping into the latest nuttery. But! I need to drink more water. I’m terrible at staying hydrated, which may contribute to my migraine problems, especially during the night. And, let’s face it, water is boring.

So, I cut up a lime and stuck it in a pitcher of water. Then I tossed in some mint and sliced cucumber ~ OMG IS THIS EVER YUMMY! I’m going to take a thing of it on my hike today. Yes, I am going on a hike. A friend is dragging me out of the house and into the wilds of Crystal Cove. I hope there are no bears or snakes. I’ll take my camera to document my demise.

Whatever happens, I’ll have my infused water.

Water

Coinkydinks in Fiction

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Not a fan of ’em. Which is why I’ve had a love/hate relationship with romance novels all along, I guess. The “plots” normally hinge on a series of ridiculous coinkydinks. In my view, the fact that the protags meet at all for the first time (cute or otterwise) is ENOUGH. Just the one. One per story. But that’s not what we get, of course, or there’d be no story. And I’ve done the same in mine too. Really you have to have a meet and meet-again (at the least). Or else what? And that doesn’t even begin to address the myriad other against-the-odds stuffs embedded throughout.

I was up early today (like crazy early) and watched a movie. I have found that if I wake in the middle of the night with a headache and go back to sleep, I will be guaranteed a migraine at 6AM, but if I get up, take aspirin, drink water or cola, I can sometimes get rid of it. Naturally I’ll be exhausted mid-afternoon, oh well. The movie I watched was In Lieu of Flowers, sort of a rom-com, but mostly about the grief process after a romantic partner has died or whatever.

The protags, Eric and Rachel, meet at a grief-support group. OK. But then it turns out Eric’s doctor is Rachel’s father. This is totally unnecessary. But even worse is when E&R encounter each other in the waiting room. Think about that. How many doctors there are and how many patients each doctor has. The odds, IN NEW YORK CITY, of you and your romantic interest having the same doc. Then the odds of you both having appts on the same day about the same time. Boggle.

Of course there’s the usual stupid thing of having people with ordinary jobs in NYC somehow managing to live in fabulous places. I suppose Rachel, a second grade teacher, has doctor-dad subsidizing her BEACH HOUSE, but we never get the scoop on Eric’s financial sitch. Whatever. It was just a fluff movie. For a supposedly broken person, Rachel always manages to look continually gorgeous and smile at every strange man, even a drunk on the subway.

I understand that everything can’t be a masterpiece. It’s fine. I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. Or should I say starting them. I don’t finish most. I did get to the end of In Lieu because I had nothing else to do.

Writing fiction? Seems unfathomable to me these days, like chasing a blow-up raft that’s floated out to sea. I sort of still see it bobbing out there, but it’s so far away, and I’m tired. I write some poetry though because that’s all language and emotion. I don’t have to grind out sentences and dialog and worry about where it’s going and the point of it all.

No point.