Tag Archives: headaches

Life and headaches

Now my laundry is under way and I am thinking about headaches in the light of what I wrote earlier today. I will say that I had fewer headaches last week than the week before. I know that there is a significant tension component to my headaches. In general, when I am busier I get fewer headaches. After my episodes of a couple of weeks ago, I am quicker to take a Maxalt now along with my usual ibuprofens. At that point, I was worried that my three month prescription would run out in a month. Once I was able to go several days without having to take one, I relaxed about it. I also realized that I could  get more if I really needed them and that was better than being miserable.

The other side of the coin is the feeling I had yesterday and the day before of not having enough time to remember who myself was. The graduation speaker yesterday was excellent. I don’t remember his name, but he is the (I believe current) Surgeon General of the US. Speaking to newly minted doctors, he spoke of the diastole and systole of the heart’s rhythm. He noted that the systole is the ‘relaxing’ part of the cycle and is just important to the health of the person as the energetic part. As with all things, finding the balance is tricky.

<Edit: I went back and looked at my posts. The bad headache episode was more than a month ago. Time flies . . .>

more on headaches

The thing about headaches – my headaches – is that after a couple of days of bad headaches I get to where the slightest twinge has me thinking it’s a big one again. And I find that I’m walking around with the expectation of a headache instead of a light heart. I took 4 ibuprofens between noon and 2 o’clock today and it’s now 5. I just noticed that I feel better than I have most of the last week.

We’ll see if it lasts . . .

annual physical

I had my long-awaited annual physical today. Long awaited because I had a bunch of questions that I’ve been holding on to for several months now. None of them were critical enough to call the doc but they were nagging. No, I’m not going to say what they were except that one was about the headaches.

Dr Amara did not seem worried about my recent spate of headaches. She re-upped my Maxalt prescription without a peep. She ran down the results from my blood work. No surprises. My cholesterol is a little high but my Vitamin D and my Iron are back in the ok range (I’ve been taking supplements). My PSA is low. I’ve lost a little weight since last year but I could lose ten more pounds. And get more exercise . . .

She referred me to a specialist a couple of years ago about my blood counts which have been low. That specialist is out of town this week and I haven’t seen that part of the test results.

Sometimes I think the headaches are more situational. If I’m busy at work it’s less of a problem. If I’m sitting around at home or not too busy at work, I feel that’s when the afternoon headaches creep in. Was I subconsciously worrying about this physical all last week? Or about Sarah being in New York? Or . . ?? I just can’t think of anything obvious. I know I think about writing in this blog a lot and yet I don’t do it very often. There’s some guilt there on slow afternoons. The last few weeks it seems that most of the posts I’ve done are often forced and not as good as I’d like. I put ’em out there because I want to put something out.

I have to accept the fact that this is a blog about feelings and I write about the feelings I have at that moment. Maybe after I do this for ten years or so I can edit it all down to a nice book. Sort of like the guitar solos we hear on records. They sound fresh and improvised but almost always are a result of much trial and error and practice.

SoundBox starts tomorrow for our last go ’round until December at the earliest. I had a meeting with the curator a week ago and hopefully there will be no technical surprises this week.

more headaches

I re-read my last post on this subject and now I’m even more concerned. This time it’s only been three days but it was the same story as far as the headaches not responding to medication.

I was so pleased over the weekend in Portland to have been able to sleep without taking sleeping pills. Monday morning I woke up with a sort of pre-headache that I’ve come to recognize. Normally I would have taken a couple of excedrin but I was going to have my teeth deep-cleaned that morning. I thought any aspirin or similar drug would contribute to bleeding. I did have a cup of black tea which helped a little.

All day long it lurked but by the late afternoon it was pretty much gone.

Tuesday was a different story though. It started out the same but grew as I tried one drug and another without success. I was planning to go to the bereavement group in Santa Clara that night and stay overnight with Mom & Dad. JJ called and asked if I could come in that night as his other replacements had various problems. OK, I’ll give it a try.

I went right to bed and slept fitfully for a couple of hours. By 4 pm, I was better enough to do the whole shift.

Then yesterday it was the same thing again! The same pre-headache in the morning, the same obstinate refusal to yield to any medication. Mom had said the pollen was everywhere and maybe it was allergies. I tried some of the sleeping pills (which are the same as Benadryl) without any relief.  I spent the whole afternoon in my darkened bedroom. I remember finally taking 4 ibuprofens about 2 in the afternoon along with a Maxalt and that finally got me back to somewhat normal by dinner time.

Now I had not taken sleeping pills at night for 5 straight nights. Last night I took the two pills and this morning I have no headache. Is this coincidence? Was I having some kind of withdrawal from the sleeping medication? I’ve certainly had headaches – last week even – after I had taken the sleeping pills.

I have my annual physical scheduled for Monday. This will be at the top of my concerns for Dr Amara.

headaches

I’ve gotten headaches for a long time. Not just garden variety headaches, whatever those are, but really nasty headaches. Despite the fact that these headaches have been serious, I’ve never been comfortable with the idea that they were migraines. I was usually able to control them with ibuprofen. I never had to go to a darkened room for three days or anything like that. There were difficult times, to be sure, but mostly I soldiered on.

I remember keeping track of my aspirin and ibuprofen for a while during my Opera days in the ’80’s. Somewhere in a box there is a calendar with those notes. Thinking about this post this morning, I remembered a particularly nasty one that had to be in 1977. Eventually I stopped using aspirin and took ibuprofen only. It worked sometimes.

I was never a coffee drinker but I knew about caffeine. What I didn’t know was the effect it had on headaches. It wasn’t until I was talking to my doctor in Grass Valley sometime in the mid-90s that I found out how caffeine could stop my headaches. What a revelation that was!

That was good for a long time. I had to be careful not to take Excedrin, my drug of choice containing caffeine, for the nasty headaches, too late in the afternoon or I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep. Nor could I take it in the middle of the night unless I was prepared to stay awake.

About two years ago, I was talking to my doctor here about my nighttime headaches during my annual physical. When I told her about the efficacy of caffeine, she immediately said, ‘Migraines!’ She gave me a prescription – Maxalt – that has been helpful for the times when caffeine is contraindicated.

There are basically two times of the day when the bad headaches show up. One is in the night, usually waking me up in the wee hours, one or two in the morning. My strategy had been to take ibuprofen and hope for a couple of hours more sleep to get me to 5 or 6 am when I could take Excedrin. Now I can take the Maxalt and (usually) sleep better. I always felt these headaches were due to some kind of reaction to food. Maybe some kind of spice as they often came after a dinner of Mexican food. They didn’t always come after such a dinner, though. I couldn’t pin it down. I didn’t stop eating Mexican food, either.

The other type usually started coming on in the middle part of the day. These I believe are tension headaches. I can sometimes identify what is contributing to it and try to deal with the source, as it were. Sometimes . . .

This is my subject today because I’ve had headaches now in the early morning for the last 5 days. It seems unlikely that food is causing them. My diet isn’t great but I haven’t been eating particularly spicy foods. I’ve taken Excedrin at variously 4, 5 or 6 am but it hasn’t knocked the headache out. I’ve had to take the Maxalt at around 8 and a couple of days that didn’t even work. I suspect an element of tension.

I have my annual physical scheduled for two weeks from yesterday so I will definitely be discussing this with Dr Amara. I have some theories about what is causing the headaches this week but that will have to wait for another post. One more day of work today then a couple of days off.