Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Still gritting...

I am still gritting my teeth. SIGH.

I think that I have, unfortunately, slipped back into the cycle of chronic migraines.  I worked so hard to get out of that wretched state and do not look forward to the slogging through that much pain again.  Sadly, I am maxed out on migraine meds for the month of July.  I have worked on heat therapy, conscious relaxing, and using lots and lots and lots of ice packs.

Sadly, too, I had a bad meal from Taco Bell on Monday.  Puking and a migraine (the last use of meds for the month ... sniff, sniff, sniff) do not go well together.  My taco looked wrong.  I was so very tired and so hungry that I ate it anyway.  It was stupid and foolish and just plain wrong on my part.  I was so very ill that I cannot envision, at least anywhere in the near term, having Taco Bell again.

I feel like I am betraying my very soul.

One of the reason that I adore Taco Bell is that it is always made fresh.  The taco clearly wasn't.  It was mushy ... the cheese was melted and the lettuce wilted and mostly the ingredients were a bit indistinguishable from each other.  I honestly do not know what I was thinking.  Not too long after finishing my meal, I was taken back to the memory of my first real case of food poisoning with the cramps and then most awful nausea and then the vomiting.  And more vomiting.  And still more vomiting.

Zofran doesn't help with bad food.
Puking and migraines do not work together.
Life is pretty wretched.

Today, having finally eaten real food late last night, I went to Long John Silver's with my neighbor to celebrate being off Xanax, even if the effects are almost killing me.  Okay ... not almost killing me, but surely killing my head.  This is, I think, the second time I have eaten there since remembering how much I liked the place in high school.  It was that long ago when I last had the food.  It is tasty, but it is ever so greasy and really you need about a year or so before eating it again.   I was a poor trencher woman in that I could only eat one hushpuppy, two onion rings minus the onions, and a plank of chicken.

I thought of Long John Silver's because of the Taco Bell gift cards that I have and that the one here is joined to a Taco Bell.  I am serious about not being sure I could ever eat at Taco Bell again and there is all that gift card balance.  If I just used to buy the special drinks I use to bribe my neighbor to take me shopping, it will take a while to use up.  However, having eaten there, and enjoyed it,  I am reminded that I cannot eat there but every year or two.  The warm chicken, though, was like eating a hug.

I think that any treating myself to food out needs to be that sodium fest Panera salad.
That very uneconomical sodium fest Panera salad.

I find it ... a bit cruel ... that my television decided to die today, on top of my current state of wretchedness.  I've had indicators for a while now, but it went belly up today.  I still have sound....  If I set aside the whole money factor, I am not really up for trying to learn about televisions and making a smart shopping decision.  I am not real sure, but this one was about 8-10 years old.  Surely, I got my money's worth, even though the same television now would be a fraction of the price.  Being able to see the television was worth it to me.  Of course, I was working back then.

Then there is the whole thing of if I actually do get a new television, how do I get it from the car (where presumably the sales person would put it) into my house.  Right now, with the migraines and constant pain, any physical stress makes my head hurt more and my blood pressure is all over the place.  Trying to schlepp a television is simply not something I can do.

I loved my Samsung-with-a-matte-screen.
It was serviceable, simple, and reliable.
Until now.
What do you do with a broken flat-panel television?????

My vision has been horrid.  Probably even worse than horrid.  I keep taking my glasses off because my head hurts so much.  In fact, my hair hurts.  I do not want to lop it off, having spent so long recovering from my unwanted mullet hair cut, but I daydream of shaving my head.  Yes, that's the kind of daydreams I have these days.  Anything to end the pain.

But I am Xanax free.

I still want to write about PTSD, but I am also still too fractured in mind and spirit to do so.  One thought I did have, that I do not think I captured, is that I believe, in part, I have not respected PTSD because I do not feel as if anyone in my life has really done so.  I try to talk about it or about how different my life is post pit bull attack and it is like I am talking about a bad cold or something.  So, I think that I started being dismissive of it myself.

I like to point out how much better I am.  Heck, I didn't have a single meltdown over the weeks of bloody fireworks.  But the point is I did have a near meltdown at Lowe's with that zamboni-like floor cleaner, a complete meltdown at the doctor's office over the change in paperwork, and a near meltdown at GoodYear with the strain of the Nickelodeon channel blaring the whole time I was waiting on my oil change.  Translate that:  I have triggers that set off physical and emotional reactions in my body wether I want them to or not.

I think the truth is that I have learned to mask the hyper vigilance and even, to a large degree, internalize the startle response.  Compared to Amos, I am just dandy.  However, he's a dog and was only seven months old at the time and doesn't understand why fear rules his entire being.  That is not a good comparison to make.

It is strange ... I fully grasped the effects of trauma on the brain that I learned in The Courage to Heal, but I had not really swallowed the fact that I am a different person, that my brain is different now, as a result of the PTSD and, frankly, it is never going back.  I am not sure this is the right way to phrase it, but there is no recovery.  There is only managing and moving forward.

One other thought about PTSD is that I did not realize that one of the common effects/symptoms/results is some measure of an existential crisis.  My friend mentioned that term to me to put a framework around the questions I have had about faith.  I am not sure I truly understand what she means or what an existential crisis is, but I have struggled, mightily with the fact that the sky is no longer blue.  Or that I am not sure if it is....

A final thought about PTSD came with the nearing anniversary of my dysautonomia diagnosis.  It struck me that, for over twenty years, I have been battling neurological disease, first central nervous system and now autonomic nervous system.  Back in 1994, many neurologists did not know anything at all about multiple sclerosis.  It is very common among folk with MS to be treated as Nervous Nellys and to struggle to get good medical care.  The same is true—much, much, much more so—with dysautonomia.  The new GP said she didn't know anything at all about dysautonomia.  She has taken me on as a patient and has not even bothered to learn about my chronic illness.

For over twenty years, with the exception of very few, I have experienced that same ... dismissiveness ... about neurological disease by the people in my life.  None of my family have really set out to learn about the chronic medical conditions that I have, the struggles I face, the things I have to be careful about in my life.  It is lonely.  And, to some degree, why I think I can be so caviler about just how ill I am at times.  Why I consciously and unconsciously pretend to be better than I am.  And why I rarely show myself the grace and mercy I need to navigate life in my particular corner of the fallen world.

My headache is horrendous.
I fainted four times today.
I have a low-grade fever.
And still I went out to Long John Silver's.


I will also note that, at the moment, I am not sure where my phone is. I know it is in the house, but not exactly where.  I suppose being even more disconnected from the world at the moment is not necessarily a bad thing given how wretched I am feeling.  But, surely, this will end.  If I clawed my way out of the chronic migraine abyss before, I can do it again.


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