Every six months or so, I find myself at the migraine doctor. More often than not, it’s just a simple “Hey there. Things are good, but my cocktail needs tweaking.” She then changes the amount of caffeine, diclofenac, and dihydroergotamine in my little orange capsules, and all is well for another six months. (Dihydroergotamine!)
This morning was different. Quick (!) rundown: I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night with my shoulders up around my ears and I’m often biting my tongue so hard that it’s numb and it’s three in the morning and I can’t swallow and I’m unable to relax my muscles. (My muscles!) I also spend every single afternoon discovering that my legs are completely tensed up, and I can’t figure out how to relax them. (I’ve tried to do the thing where you tense up on purpose and then slowly release the tension. It doesn’t work for me.)
I told my doctor (I love my doctor!) about the tension and how it’s leading to headaches that last for days (and sometimes weeks) at a time. I also told her that my primary care guy (I love him, too.) has put me on a nightly dose of Xanax so that I can relax enough to get a decent night of sleep. I then told her that I’ve been looking into acupuncture. (I also told her that my sweater is knit from alpaca yarn.)
Dr. B: Acupuncture is fine, but we’ve talked about the value of your toolbox. When you walk out of the office after having acupuncture, you have nothing to work with if and when the headache comes back. Does the Xanax help?
Me: It helps a little, but I don’t like taking it every night. I usually take Xanax during the holiday season just to get through the parties. A bottle of thirty pills typically lasts about two years. Now I’m going through a bottle of thirty pills every month. (Except for the months that have 28, 29, or 31 days.)
Dr. B (with my approval) decided to take me off of Xanax and put me on a super-low dose of Effexor as a headache preventative. (Bonus: Effexor is an anti-depressant often prescribed for anxiety. In approximately three to six weeks, you might invite me to a party, and I might NOT come up with an excuse as to why I can’t make it! I might even go out and buy those weird jeans with shiny things on the butt! (No I won’t.) Let’s talk about my jeans sometime soon. I need help.) In addition to the preventative, Dr. B wants me to focus on meditation. (Last year I purchased Buddhist Meditation for Beginners. I never got past the first ten minutes of it without falling asleep. Dr. B says that the falling asleep thing is okay, but once again: It doesn’t add to my toolbox. According to Dr. B, you should be able to walk away from nearly all experiences with something you can use later on. (Tonight at midnight, I want to meet up with you. I would like to walk away with a pair of these. For my toolbox. Size 9. In return, I can offer you three cans of black beans. For your toolbox.))
We also had a motivating discussion about how No One Is In Charge But You. If you want to have a good day, make it happen. Don’t give anyone else the power to take away your good day. Take time to choose how you respond to the outside forces. Live in the Precious Present. I’ve tried to type this paragraph at least six times now, and I can’t make it NOT taste like syrup. Please know that I left my appointment this morning feeling more enthusiastic than I’ve felt in ages. (I found sunflower seeds and peanuts less than fifteen minutes after leaving the office! I’m experiencing the health benefits of Ayurvedic tea! (In a few minutes, I’m going to brew up some chamomile tea. To promote relaxation!) (Tempe! I need to get some of this!) (Tempe is my tea/knitting/spinning/cheesecake buddy for those who just tuned in.) I finished Gone Girl last night and I’m wondering if you’ve read anything good lately. I’m not quite ready to hit Mockingjay, and although I tried to get into Skipped Parts last night, I don’t think it’s a good time. Has anyone read In One Person?)
I started off the day just like any other day. I hugged the dogs. I drank some coffee. I (repeatedly) reminded the girls of everything that needed to be accomplished before school. Showered, ate Blueberry Morning cereal (with a banana!), brewed tea, and let’s fast forward four hours to where I’m eating a samosa wrap and locating a gaggle of local Buddhist monks who teach meditation every week less than thirty minutes away from my house!
The girls had their parent/teacher conferences this evening. We took cheese, sausage, and crackers. (We did NOT take brownies. We will never again take brownies.) The girls are doing well, everyone was happy, we drove straight out for frozen yogurt, and in less than thirty minutes I’ll be sobbing in front of the television. (Parenthood.) ((The show. Not the concept.))