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Chronic Plague

14 Feb

Did you know that another word for chronic is ‘inveterate’?  Yet just as twins share many of the same distinguishing marks, they invariably are two separate individuals.  And while you might entice me to conjecture that the three words, ‘chronic, inveterate, and invariable’ are synonymous to each other, I will hold firm in my opposed view.  True, each word pays reference to a continuum, however, inveterate leans more heavily in the negative connotation of its definition than that of chronic, and invariably shows itself more like a cousin to the other two adjectives and less like the triplet I suggested it to be.

Why even allow myself this inconsequential diatribe?  Because, words are important.  And choosing them wisely is a tricky practice.  Right now I am hung up on ‘chronic’.  Let me explain…

I have not written a new post since last Monday.  It was titled, “Telegrafico, Western Union”, and it was very short.  Yes I put up a link to a song on Wednesday but I couldn’t write.  I was plagued.  I have been suffering with a horrendous headache since January.  Now granted I am given a day or two or maybe even three of a reprieve, but I can tell it is the same headache holding its place in my physique because even on the days of rest, its presence winks at me.  My worst day of suffering was on January 27th, the day before hosting an open house birthday party for my son, Cole.  Thankfully I have amazing friends who pinch-hit for me and who stepped in to take on the pre-party chores, being I was rendered useless and connected to my icepack.  And unfortunately for me, the acupuncture treatment I received on that Friday the 27th offered me not one ounce of relief from the migraine.  Hither there to (sounds better than “needless to say”, though completely lacks sense), I have been on sporadic computer function for quite some time.

So last Thursday evening I played out the, all too familiar, scenario…me prone on the living room couch, an icepack wrapped around my eyes and forehead, the lights out, and all noise makers off–with the exception of one.  A knock at the front door.  A knock that aroused the instinctual sirens of alert which presently live in my home…the dogs lying on the floor next to me.  It was our dear friend from England.  He was in town for the weekend and had hoped to see Cole and offer him his good wishes in person.  Now isn’t that a good dose of irony…he from out of the country, now in the country to see Cole only to find Cole out of the country…too situationally funny for words, though I try!  Even funnier is that Cole happened to call right before the spontaneous arrival of our guest, so I was on the line with Cole when he came through our door.  And the mere fact that Cole was finding respite outside our USA walls was encouraging news to our concerned Brit.

At any rate, I had no idea he was coming by, but as is customary with our ‘open door policy’, he knew he would be welcome.  What he didn’t know is that he would be welcomed to me lying down in the dark with two very suspicious dogs at his ankles (well one really as the Piper dog wouldn’t get that close).  Thankfully (for the both of us) Brian came home shortly after, allowing my return to the migraine regimen.  However, upon his departure to the land of “Brian Bent” (aka the garage), he offered his condolences to me as he felt very sorry I had to suffer a “chronic condition”.  There it is, the word…chronic.  Up until he said that particular word, I merely dealt with the many headaches as a plague.  You know, something that hits and then subsides.  But chronic I hadn’t considered and the reality of that word being applied to my situation really stinks.  Which is why I carry on and write nonsensical verbiage about word synonyms.  I mean who wants to carry the label of “chronic illness”?  Certainly not me, though sadly it is appearing to be more of the truth.

Alas, I have had to pull out of the acupuncture adventure due to an insurance loss, though I honestly feel I have pulled out too soon to render an opinion of its effectiveness (for my case).  I remain sold on the effectiveness for my son, it has been miraculous in his recovery.  And I had hoped, a little too much, that it would as quickly resolve my own inveterate condition.

Chronic, inveterate, invariable.  Choose whichever one you want, for they are all riding my tail.  It’s the eleventh plague.  Perhaps I look Egyptian!

P.s. An addendum will come to this subject regarding methods of solving the migraine issue, for I have applied many.  I don’t write them just yet as I am hoping to hear back from you, the reader, in the case a new possibility remains available.  …a heart full of hope and a head full of pain, that’s me! 🙂

Migraine City

5 Jan

No doubt the readers of this blog are aware I suffer from migraine headaches.  I have had this plight for at least 16 years, probably longer.  I have fought the battle of the headache with varying techniques as well as varying medications.  The techniques I employ are basic…lie down, apply ice pack over forehead and eyes, and sleep.  The medications are also basic…a cocktail mixture of ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.  I once tried a prescription medication which essentially numbed my brain and dulled the pain.  Both my technique and medicinal regimens require my life to stop, or to slow to a pace unrealistic for a mother.  So I have lived and worked, on many–many, occasions in severe pain.

I don’t know why I hadn’t considered acupuncture in the past…perhaps I wasn’t open to the suggestion, therefore no one suggested it.  Perhaps I was just “making it through” and didn’t take the time to contemplate alternatives to western medicine suggestions.  I don’t know, I can’t remember!

But yesterday I embarked on the road to recovery (hopefully) through the art of eastern medicine, acupuncture.  Yes, I did receive one treatment of acupuncture from Dr. Zhu (www.scalpacupuncture.org) on our last day in northern California (see post title, “A New Believer”, http://wp.me/p1NK3O-29), and as nervous as I was to receive that treatment, it did take the migraine from me and made it possible for me to drive home without landing in the hospital.  The needles from Dr. Zhu were placed on the top of my scalp only.  The needles yesterday, from Dr. Li, were not.

According to Dr. Li (here in my local world of south Orange County, CA), my body is very blocked–my energies–whatever that means.  I am honestly too scared to ask.  I come from the following school of thought, “Ignorance Is Bliss”.  I’m not exactly the ostrich with its head in the sand, I am more the ostrich who recognizes the beauty of the sand, its purpose, and its comfort.  So while I have bombarded Dr. Li with many a question, concerning her East meets West practices, and other personal questions she has patiently obliged me enough to answer.  I know when to keep my mouth shut…and that is in regard to my energies being blocked!

She did explain that the energies are like layers of an onion and need to be pulled back to reveal the true issue, and my treatment yesterday was the beginning of layer removal.  So she had me lay down on my side, I held a small jar with a few vials of liquid in one hand.  She strategically placed pillows in between my knees, and under my arm and head.  Then she said she would have the other (male) doctor place the needles as “his technique is more relaxing”.  “More relaxing?”, I asked.  “Yes, more relaxing.”  …at that point, my glands began to twinge and my nervous system moved from mach 1 to mach 5 (metaphorically speaking of course, for my nerves were not solely dependent upon temperature and atmospheric composition as in the aviation mach system—well come to think of it, maybe they were!).

Anyway, the other doctor placed the needles, put an infrared light over my back and feet, left me with an emergency pull chord, and then told me to relax before he left the room and closed the door behind him.  There I was, lying on my side holding a vile filled jar, pillows in place, pull chord wrapped around my fingers, and needles placed in my hand, my legs, my back, my neck, and my ankles.  Within 30 seconds of his departure and my alone state, I felt claustrophobic.  All of a sudden, as I felt I couldn’t move without causing a problem for myself, my head was filled with questions…”how long do I stay here?”  “under what circumstances do I pull the chord?”  “what am I supposed to feel?”, etc.

Amidst the whirling of thoughts, questions, and anxiety, I somehow fell asleep for I awoke in a jolt which moved my entire body causing me to move some of the needles, causing me to feel a slight discomfort.  Well since I didn’t know how long I had been lying there, and since Cole, my niece Hannah, and the dog Piper were waiting for me in the car, I decided it was a good time to pull the chord.  …in came Dr. Li.  She told me that is how they like it, for their patients to fall asleep and when they awake to pull the chord.  I was relieved to know I chose correctly.  Dr. Li would like me to have treatment twice a week for a couple of weeks, in order to make the migraines leave me permanently.

Funny thing is, as much as I want to be headache free, I am still a skeptic in my acupuncture pursuit…but I will forge on.  I don’t think Hannah and Cole will accompany me to my next session, however.  Apparently I kept them waiting for two hours, and they haven’t finished letting me hear about it!

So the voyage has begun, and we are traveling this “new” road of treatment together.  Let us all stay hopeful.

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