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I woke up with an "oh my gods, I'm going to die" headache, probably the worst one I've had in years. Called my chiropractic office and spoke to the office M.D. (who specializes in musculo-skeletal issues). When I described my symptoms, she said that I might want to go to an ER to make sure I didn't have something called a "subarachnoid hemorrhage", which often presents with a sudden, severe headache. So I looked it up on Wikipedia. The bad news was that subarachnoid hemorrhages have a 40%-50% fatality rate. The good news was that, according to the symptoms described in the article, it really didn't sound like I had one. So I called the doctor back, we talked some more, and she agreed that this was probably just a particularly bad tension headache.

Even so, this couldn't have happened at a worse time, for several reasons.

  1. I'd already taken a work-from-home day yesterday in order to go to the doctor's office about a throat issue, the result of which is that I'm scheduled for an endoscopy in a bit over two weeks.

  2. I'm supposed to be flying to Seattle tomorrow for a concert on Sunday, so I started packing last night . . . and discovered that my green duffel bag is missing! I searched the whole house for it, and even looked in the trunk of my car, and did not find it. Without the green duffel, transporting my CDs for sale is going to be more difficult, unless I either bring fewer of them or don't bring my credit card processing equipment. (Not to mention, of course, that if the headache persists, there's no way I'm getting on a plane tomorrow.)

  3. Work right now is crazy! I have about six projects all going at once, and scheduling them is proving difficult. Plus my workplace only gives three sick days a year, so taking even one is a big deal.

Of course, it's because of all these things that I have the headache in the first place, I'm sure. 'Cause that's what happens with me: I get headaches in response to stress, and stress is quite prevalent right now.

Ah, well. I'm going to have some soup and tea for lunch and then probably go back to bed.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 2nd, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
Well, it's not like I'm completely hosed if I use them all ... I can take time out of vacation if I have to. But still, yeah, that's kinda stingy.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 2nd, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
...since this is something similar to what I've been dealing with in my own life recently - have you ever been diagnosed with TMD (TMJ)?

In researching more info for myself, I just found this website yesterday (it's for a clinic in MN, but it's got some great information which could be useful for you).

I was surprised to find out how many different problems can be related to TMD - but it only makes sense, when you realize that everything in the body is connected, so clenching your teeth can lead to things like: headaches/migraines, vision issues, neck/shoulder tension issues, dental problems, etc.

Quote below from the "Migraine Treatment Without Medication" portion of the linked website:
Migraine headache is one of the most debilitating pain conditions and often is related to TMJ disorders. Dental clenching is one of the most common triggers for migraine, yet most dental appliances and nightguards only protect the teeth; they do not prevent clenching. One specific appliance stops the clenching itself, and has been approved by the FDA for the prevention of migraine: This is the NTI appliance.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I might have a look at that. Thank you.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
You are very welcome, sir!
Dec. 2nd, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
Advil is your friend. Prescription dose is 800 mg.

Can someone give you a scalp and shoulder massage? That can help a lot. If I need one myself and have no one to help I rub my scalp them gently grab my hair and move the scalp around.

If that does not work a hot pad on the back of my neck usually does.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely considering trying to find my heating pad for that very purpose.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
I have any number of green Army duffles I can lend you.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
Ooh! That's a thought. Do any of them have a hard bottom or side? The one I had was a "travel duffel" with a rigid bottom, which helps protect things in transit. But even if you don't have something like that, I might still be able to use it.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
It doesn't, but I bet we could put something in. Matter of fact, if we put in my foam sleeping mat, that would give it the sides.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 12:06 am (UTC)
That could work very well. Would you be willing to bring it over this evening some time?
Dec. 3rd, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
OK. I'm going to bed stupid early, like 9 pm because I have to be at work in Orange County at 7 a.m. What time works for you? If you have my business card, call me on my cell.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
Thought I should tell you, one of your unit patches was still attached to the duffel. I took it off and set it on my end table, so please remind me to give it back to you when I return the duffel to you.
Dec. 2nd, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
I know the feeling disturbingly well.

I hope that you're able to do your gig in Seattle, and here's hoping I'll catch you online sometime later next week.

Also; max daily dose for Tylenol/acetaminophen is 4000mg/4gm per 24 hours. Overdosing it will obliterate your liver, which is then typically followed by death. Max daily dose on Advil/ibuprofen is 2400mg. (this is what I get for working in pharmacy)
Dec. 3rd, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
Heh. I don't take acetaminophen anyway. It doesn't work on me. But thanks for the information nonetheless.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 12:09 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've been getting more and more of the stress-related migraines. Used to be, I only got them if I forgot to eat, didn't sleep enough, or got dehydrated... not so much anymore. I staved them off for a while using preemptive self-care; like ending the night with a glass of wine and a soak in the hot tub when I had had a hard day or expected the next day to be hard. When that stopped working, I used hot packs and over the counter drugs. When those stopped working too, I got a prescription from my doctor. The funny thing is, when I have a drug I KNOW will work, I get migraines less frequently. I guess because part of my stress if knowing I could get a debilitating migraine, and knowing I have something to fix it is a relief. I know you are not big on med- I'm not either, ask me about quitting anti-depressants against doctor's orders- but a migraine prescription might be worth it. There are a lot of different ones; I found one with virtually no side-effects for me. I get a little goofy (like, I put the jelly in the cupboard and the peanut butter int he 'fridge after I made a sandwich), feel very happy, and have a hot flash 20 minutes after I take it. They'll only let me have six pills a month; it is very as-needed. There are daily meds too, but those are further up the chain of medical escalation. I have a friend who swears by acupuncture, too; you might look into more holistic, eastern medicine sorts of things as well.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
Actually, it's not a migraine. I don't have any of the typical migraine symptoms (photophobia, phonophobia, nausea, visual distortions), just the headache itself. This is stress-induced tension—all muscular, in my neck, shoulders, and upper back. If I had a hot tub, I'd be in it. In fact, I'd have been in it since I woke up, and thus would be a 6'1" pink raisin by now. ;-)

I've been doing chiropractic, myofascial trigger point release therapy, and physical therapy to reduce occurrence and severity, and for many years, it's worked. Something just made me relapse—likely cumulative stress. I'll see my chiropractor next week and see what he has to say.

Thank you, though, for the suggestions. :) And I'm glad your migraines are under somewhat better control these days.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
May your stress be less, and may your headache vanish.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Hopes...
It didn't quite totally vanish, but it's much better today. Enough better that I was able to travel after all. :) Thank you.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 03:55 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear you're feeling unwell! And I sympathize on the work stress, mine's been that way too this week. Definitely hope you feel better!
Dec. 3rd, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
I feel much better today, thanks. And though my workplace is stressful right now, I don't have to endure NEARLY the levels of stress that your workplace seems to dole out on a regular basis. My boss is actually very supportive; I just have lots of crowded deadlines that I have to manage, which makes me a bit twitchy.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
chorale and I have said to each other for years, "Everyone is happy who does not have a headache." I hope the morning finds you happy.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
Well, I wasn't precisely jumping for joy when I woke up at 5:30 this morning, but I definitely feel much better today. Thank you. :)
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 14th, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. How does one diagnose migraines in the absence of the usual cluster of symptoms? Is there a test?
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 14th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'll see if my doctor can do that for me. I appreciate the input. :)
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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