Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feeling Trapped

We all need to vent, right? Well, I try to keep the majority of my outbursts away from here. This is where I talk about my health rationally. If I let myself bitch and complain every time I came here, this would cease to be a safe place. I would no longer even have my pretend control over the situation and my head would explode, maybe even really. But every now and again, I have to let one through. Even though it embarrasses me a little, even though I hate admitting that I whine and feel helpless and useless and am only pretending to be okay with the possibility of living the rest of my life in pain. Because, I bet someone else has felt like I do. That thought overwhelms any self-conscious crap my inner teenager is brewing up and nudges me, nay, FORCES me to expose my most private bits. Because no one should ever feel alone.

Yeah, you heard me, I said nay. Also, I'm not showing anyone my literal private bits.

Enough. All this build up is making me more nervous. Without further stalling, here's a post from my private journal, circa last week, complete with dramatics and pouty faux html.

I'm fighting back tears at the moment. I want to go outside. I want to leash up the dog and stride out the front door with confidence. But I can't.

First, the sun is out. Yes, hat and sunglasses, long sleeves and an umbrella, just in case. I used to be able to walk out the door barely dressed and be able to survive for hours without a shred of discomfort.

B, there are people smoking next to my front door. Yes, I could hold my breath as I walk as quickly as possible upwind. I'm annoyed that I have to. I don't miss smoking. At all.

Tres, my babysitter is unavailable. Meaning, my boyfriend is busy doing something else and I don't feel confident that I'll be able to walk to the store and home with groceries, or even walk the dog, pick up her crap and walk home, without it sucking horribly. I need a babysitter to bend over for me, take the dog if I can't stand the feel of her pulling on the leash, and generally give me a focal point through the din of leaf-blowers, car exhaust, the wax and wane of the thumping bass of the stereos of passing cars, the glare of the sun between the trees, the cloud of barbecue smoke we somehow wandered into, and the suddenly complicated task of paying for groceries. Without a guide, I feel lost and stumble my way home, shaking and nauseous, in pain and SO frustrated. I lose joy in being in the world. I have no reason to celebrate the coming of spring when all spring wants to do to me is beat me into the ground with all the sunshine, pollen and fresh cut grass. But with a babysitter, a guide, I can close my eyes and my mind off, focus on following the back in front of me. I can trust that back to get me through it, to get me back home. I can trust that back to support me if I stumble, or to be a place to rest if I am weak. I take that back for granted and right now I want to go outside and that back is busy doing something else.

Fourth, I have nothing to wear.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Trip to the Dispensary

Cannabis dispensaries are popping up all over in my uber-urban neighborhood. So, I checked one out.

It was a suite in a medical plaza, totally innocuous except for the security guard. I walked up the stairs and he asked for my card and my ID. I provided both. Then he escorted me to the door and knocked for me, three times quickly. The door opened from the inside and there was a man, smiling at me. He invited me in and handed me a clipboard with some waivers to sign. I sat in a generic waiting room chair in a dimly lit, yet otherwise generic waiting room. They had a really nice television that was unfortunately playing JAG a little too loudly. I initialed the forms in a hundred places to acknowledge that I would not share the marijuana, sell the marijuana, or take photos of their marijuana. If I violate these rules, there will be no more marijuana for me. There was something about financial assistance, which I completely forgot to ask about. I finished signing everything and was told to wait. I waited. But not long. I didn't even have time to ask someone to turn down JAG before they called me back.

I was led to a back room that was occupied by another smiling man who was standing behind a small counter, apparently holding court over the dispensing. The counter was bare except for a digital scale and an adding machine style calculator. In a corner there was a chest-high refrigerator with a glass door, stuffed full of colorful packages of various sizes with writing too small to read casually. To the right was a six-foot display case filled with about forty large, square, glass jars of marijuana. It was a rainbow of green with highlights of orange and white and purple, and they were all neatly labeled with creative names like Sour Diesel, Maui Wowi, and OG Kush. I specified to smiling man number two that I needed something for migraine. He made a recommendation. I asked about edibles. He made another recommendation. Then he pulled out something organic and my inner hippie clapped her hands and jumped up and down with glee. After a little bit more discussion, the transaction was made and I was on my way with a nondescript white bag of potential.

This was my first time visiting a cannabis dispensary. Previously I'd gone through a delivery service. The convenience of having someone bring my order to me is beautiful. I don't even have to get out of my jammies. However, with the particular delivery service I used, it was difficult to find a favorite strain because their stock changed so often. And even if the establishment had something I knew I liked in stock, there was no guarantee that my delivery person would. We very rarely got the same type of marijuana twice. But for the most this wasn't an issue until they were flooded with a certain sativa that made my head scream. I couldn't get anything else from them for a week; that was all any of the drivers had, besides the the stuff that costs so much we wouldn't eat if we got it. (They always seemed to have plenty of what I couldn't afford.) We've since learned to have a back-up plan.

It's not as easy as it sounds to self-medicate. Some types of pot make my head much worse, and smoking too much in one sitting can make it all nice and explodey. But if I take it slow, with small, frequent doses, it improves my productivity more than I thought was possible when I was on the standard pharmaceuticals. Yes, I sometimes get the giggles, or lose cognitive skills after smoking, which can embarrass me and make me feel self-conscious of my choices. But then I remember experiencing what we lovingly call a soma coma. And being impacted. And the constant heartburn I had on that one drug. And how my skin broke out like crazy on that other one. And that six months (a year?) that I was on oxy-something or other that I have very little recollection of. These side effects were uncomfortable at best, torture at worst, but I would withstand any of them if they made a dent in the chronic migraines. They never did. I'm not anti-pill, really. I'm open to trying, I'm just anti-futility. And I refuse to live in that constant state of sedation and constipation again. Luckily for me, with marijuana, I don't have to.

**I'm absolutely NOT judging anyone else's medical/pain management choices and any negative views of treatments are my own opinions that are based on my personal experiences.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How to Paint Your Nails with a Migraine

I had a craving for purple. But the smell. THE SMELL! So, I made it work.

This is the same scarf that got me home after my stinky coat adventure. All hail the sacred scarf of scent stifling.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pretty Things

It was a late night. I visited with friends, watched antm. Acted a fool and cackled with joy. My head hurts now. I may have made the sore muscle analogy before, and if so, forgive me my redundance. But there's something different about my migraines after a good time. It's almost like the endorphins carry me through.

I still have the nausea and soreness and skull pounding torture, the dizziness and olfactory auras (Do you smell poo?), visual distortions and mental impairment. What I seem to lack is the irritability and depression, the self-flagellation and disappointment that can accompany my everyday migraines. The laughter tides me over, as corny as that sounds.

The same goes for photography. I like to go for walks and take pictures of whatever catches my eye. Then, when I'm inevitably less mobile later, I plug the memory card into my laptop and edit and sort through the images of outside. It knocks the pain back a bit, lifts my mood substantially and gives me something to post on my non-head blog (which I'm considering merging with this one. It may be time to stop compartmentalizing so much.)

Maybe some sort of productivity is the key. I've been teaching myself to sew and it is amazing. I'm focusing on restructuring old clothes, in the spirit of frugality and recycling, and have already completed four projects, two of which I can even wear in public! It's liberating to clean out the old clothes I don't wear, rip them to bits (not really) and stitch them back together into something new and interesting. Learning a new skill is a self-esteem boost, (not to get all after-school special on you, but I could use some extra sometimes), and the results are undeniably awesome. New clothes!

I am so grateful for my many distractions, my many pleasures in my life. I have a lot of pain, but I am lucky to have enough love and fun and pretty things to keep me smiling.

I hope you do, too.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pictures I Made

Made a little migraine art. It was WinnyNinny PooPoo over at No Extended Warranty who got me going again, with her new blog: Illustrating Illness.