Friday, April 9, 2010


It was an adventure. A long drive to the local metropolis, which, of course, involved getting lost. We finally arrived, quite late, and the scent hit me in the elevator. I covered my nose and mouth with my sweater and braved the funny looks from the young and unencumbered yuppies in the hallway. They don't know any better. It got worse as we walked down the hall and reached an apex of terrible as we entered the office. I wanted to run. But the hope of botox kept me stubbornly planted. In their defense, as soon as the office manager realized I was sensitive to scents, she immediately got rid of the oil diffuser and thousands of potpourri bowls scattered around the lobby and doctor's office. But it was still saturated, so I smiled at her to express my gratitude and immediately put my sweater back over my face.

I made myself comfortable in an oversized chair while my boyfriend took care of the medicare shenanigans. Randomly, an intoxicated woman walked across the waiting room, knelt at my side and started caressing my knees consolingly. "Are you alright?" she asked me. It took me a moment to regain my bearings. "I'll be ok," I explained, "I just have a migraine." She made a sad face, and continued rubbing my leg. If she had been a man, I would have gotten irate. But, I was obviously a new specimen for her, and in her narcotic (I assume) haze, she kept telling me how sorry she was for me and how difficult all this paperwork can be. I said thank you and wished she would go away. She didn't. Then she slurred something about "coming here for botox" and "isn't that awful?" I had no response. She silently kept rubbing my knee until a hundred years went by and the nurse needed by authorization for something. "SURE!" I exclaimed, and (figuratively) leaped up and ran to the desk. I gave my info and sat back down and willed the woman to stay in her seat, back to which she had managed to wander. She was obviously coming from a place of compassion, so I didn't want to yell at her, but she was also coming from a place of vicodin (assumption) and I didn't need her druggie love. There is no touching.

So, paperwork shenanigans completed, we were finally called in. The doctor was nice, an older man, good humored and attentive. We spoke for a few minutes and then he had me lie down. He was quick. It took him about a minute to do my whole head, minus the short break he took to refill the syringe. It was less painful than the occipital block, I'll say that, but it was still fairly uncomfortable. He did several in my forehead, a few on each side of my head and a few in the back of my head and in my neck. I forgot to count, but I am guessing that I got somewhere around sixteen shots total. It was occasionally crunchy, which makes my stomach turn. There were no immediate effects, besides some light tingling at a few injection sites. When we were done, we sat for a few minutes and talked.

And it was going so well.

He informed me that I don't have migraines, and that I have an abnormal muscle something or other that is triggering daily headaches. It can't be a migraine if I have it everyday. He offhandedly admitted that light and smell sensitivity are common with migraine, but if I tried all of the migraine drugs and nothing helped, this also indicates that it couldn't possibly be a migraine.

I had just been stabbed in the head repeatedly, so didn't have the energy to argue with him. But I really resent a doctor I went to for a service giving me an unsolicited diagnosis that isn't even founded on the most recent information in the field. I um-hummed at him and nodded vacantly until he was done speechifying about how my scoliosis is the source of my headaches and if we were to fix that -how that would be done was vague- I might still get a migraine or two a month but that my daily headaches would be gone.

Call me a cynic, but I doubt that my mild scoliosis is the big evil that's causing my constant head pain that started suddenly after SHINGLES.

I have half a mind to write him a letter. (Also, he corrected my grammar while shining a light in my eye. He's lucky he left with all his teeth.)

Finally, we left. Walking back to the elevator, I noticed that one spot he had stabbed, slightly higher than the midpoint between my temple and eye, was starting to sting. Before we were back on the freeway it had started to throb, and less than halfway home, the stabbing began. I distracted myself by imagining the things I would do "if I was better". It got silly once the drugs started kicking in. (Babe, I'm a go hiking EVERYWHERE cause I LOVE TREES.) Once I got home, I iced the sore spot and it quickly went from an eight to a ten, so I put the ice on the back of my head instead, which was fine. It took about six hours to go back to normal, which is relative because I'm pretty drugged at the moment, so my perspective of pain isn't exactly the most... reliable.

I'm really interested to see if this changes anything. But lately, I find disappointment to be too high a price to pay for hope. So I want to maintain a detached interest. Of course, it's not working.

I can't find acceptance with a life saturated with pain if I am always getting my hopes up and being let down. It hurts too much. I think I'm more scared that it'll work for a while, then never again. I'll get a taste of freedom before I'm plunged back into the dungeon. I know I should appreciate any break I get, but I feel like I die a little every time I have a good day.

Sometimes I feel very old. Aged and tired. I felt like a fraud today when the nurse commented on how young I am to be on medicare. "Heh," I thought to myself, "I only look young."


WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

I think you needed the pickle coat for this trip.

Hoping the botox does the trick.

Faren said...

I hope the Botox works for you, I didn't get any relief from it, but it didn't hurt for me either.
I so understand your how you feel about disappointment. I tried something new 2 weeks ago and when it didn't help anything I had a rough patch of depression. I'm going to wait a few months before I try again, I need to forget how bad disappointment can be.

Anonymous said...

I've personally had good success treating pain by working with trigger points in muscles. That doesn't mean that there isn't a neurological connection and other triggers that get the trigger points going. A big part of dealing with trigger points is getting the triggers under control.

The book I've used is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies and there's a small section on migraines I believe in Devin Starlynl's book on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain.

That's not to say I think this doctor was the epitome of sensitivity. I'm just sharing what has worked for me. We're all different so this may not be relevant for you at all.

Good luck with the botox.

shalunya said...

Some doctors can be so difficult to deal with. I had a neurologist tell me I never needed surgery 2 years after they cracked my skull open. He wasn't even looking at my pre-op MRIs!! So I have no idea how he could make that sort of statement. After a hasty exit I found a new neuro.

Wishing you all the best with the botox. I can't even begin to imagine the pain involved with that. Would love to hear the results, so I'll be following you.