I loath brainless days

Yeah, I actually had a post written up... not just the title there... but the reason it did not show is a prime example of my mental capacity this month.  I have become increasingly frustrated with these lapses of mental functioning such that I acknowledge I do need to contact my neurologist because, damn, a month of acute migraines is really messing with my head.

Now, sure, there are days when you have a migraine and you are so mucked up, groggy and fuzzy headed you are very aware you are making mistakes... some you catch and some you don't, but there are loads of typos, data entry issues, spelling, speaking, writing.  It is extremely frustrating and makes work that much more stressful and taxing but at least you are aware your brain is compromised and it is going to take more effort than usual to accomplish simple tasks.  Just the way is.  Another day in chronic migraine hell.  In fact if it were not for the varied, complex and disturbing neurological symptoms of a migraine then it would just be a really, really bad headache.  It is difficult having troubles with balance, seeing, feeling, thinking and whatnot added to the pain and nausea.

What I hate more than that is when I get to that point where my brain is literally playing tricks on me and I cannot trust a damn thing I think to be true.  One example is a simple but pretty clear one to use.  I know right from left but ninety percent of the time if asked for directions or say right or left I am backwards.  I point right and say left.  I say left and mean right.  Automatically.  I now have to stop and think about it and how I do this is I move my right hand and think 'I am right handed so this is right' and then I know what is what.  But the automatic response is the wrong one.  In cases like this it is not what I know, or don't know, it is what knowledge I can retrieve and whether it can be validated.  Unfortunately, my brain does just randomly decide some things are fact and I act automatically on this knowledge like I would with any fact and I am wrong over and over, until I catch the glitch and realize somewhere along the way my brain just mucked it up.  Which has led to some errors at work that are a great deal more problematic than my typos.

It made me upset on Friday when I caught one of these arbitrary incorrect facts and had to check my whole year of similar transactions where I used that fact in order to find when and how many times I made that error.  Thankfully it started in August and it was only a few times.  One day when I was chatting with a customer I was confused on whether a certain procedure for a product had begun in 2008 or 2009... I muddled through it and decided 2008, but this was a bad pain day and I knew I was not thinking straight.  Does not matter because after that my brain just assumed that new fact was what was right and I never thought about it again until I realized it was wrong.  It is insanely frustrating to know that sometimes my brain is all in line and despite the pain I can think straight but other times I have extreme difficulties and other times I don't realize my brain is messing with me at all.

I honestly do not know how long I can keep this up.  So, obviously, if I am thinking I am having troubles with the pain this month and more troubles with functioning with a migraine I ought to chat with my neuro before it gets worse.  Because if it gets worse, then my employer's attitude will get worse, I will get stressed out and emotion and then no one wins in that situation.  I have some honest fears with contact my neuro, because medication changes can be for the worse and I don't want to deal with how work gets when I am worse.  There is an underlying concern though and that is I don't know what my neuro will do when I chat with him, but it is entirely possible he will not be able to do anything to make things better than they are... and I just don't want to know that fact.

September blog carnival: Building Resiliency

Sepmtember Blog Carnival from Somebodyhealme is "Building Resiliency: How do you bounce back when life kicks you in the chin? What can you share with fellow migraine & headache patients about how to build their coping skills to better handle unexpected, tough situations?"

Hmm.  Um.  Well.  I am not really the person to ask about coping skills although I do introspect enough to know the gaping flaws in my coping skills, so I guess that is something.  What is tricky is that we all have coping behaviours we use in all situations, including pain and stress, that sometimes are positive and sometimes not so positive, but either way, they are habits.  I do have a tendancy to dwell, over think, over rationalize and generally put myself in a bad frame of mind.  This means I do tend to have bouts of melancholy, anger, fustration and even some 'poor me' syndrome added to that.  But I think coping is very much an ongoing process.  Our emotions cycle around all the time because of the stress of dealing with chronic pain and everyday stresses added on top.  It is really all about how we funnel those emotions in order to cope with them so that we don't add fuel to the fire.  To me our responses to pain is all about Fight or Flight and both work sometimes, but not all the time.

Fight:  We need to have some fight in us or we would never survive.  Fight to be able to demand we get treatment at the ER or the doctor.  Fight that we have rights in the workplace.  Fight to change our lifestyles in hopes of increasing our quality of life.  Fight to find alternative treatments when it seems our doctors are incapble of going further.  I found the most profound failure in my coping strategies was when I realized that nothing I said or did changed anything at all, no matter how much I fought or how desperate I was... in other words, I was defeated in all ways.  However, that was because the situations I was in and my emotional response to them combined with a nasty streak of pain pushed me beyond my ability to fight and cope... as in no options I presented were accepted and I felt I had no recourse or no control over my life and treatment.  Very dangerous to get into that emotional spot... so sometimes just our will to keep going, to fight for our rights for pain relief and just getting through the small battles is enough to cope with more severe and longer durations of pain.  However, to always retreat tends to lead to isolation and hermit tendancies I find, so it cannot be the ultimate choice.

Flight:  Fighting is all good but sometimes I just need to not think about anything, to retreat and to recouperate, because let's face it, fighting all the time is exhausting, to the point we begin to wonder why we have to fight all the time for things that we ought to have; respect in the workplace, accomadation when needed, pain relief and such.  So much energy goes to getting through the pain and getting through the day that having to fight for our rights just seems cruel.  In times like this I just want some quiet time to myself where I do not have to wear a facade of well-being, where I do not have to justify being ill, or feel guilty about what I cannot do.  I usually engage in my solitary hobbies of reading or fiction writing or blogging.  I need that alone time and those distractions in order to even have the will to keep fighting.  In other words, survive to fight another day.

All that digestive symptom unpleasantness

Migraine.com has a posting about all that fun nausea and digestive symptom complaints we get.  I remember a long time ago I had a doctor tell me that my digestive system symptoms of Fibromyalgia made it so I likely was not getting enough vitamins, even when I took vitamins, and that the best way to get a bang for my buck was to take liquid vitamins.  I forgot about that conversation because I was getting no treatment for FMS at the time, and there was no treatment at the time, and so all the vitamins and the exercise in the world really did not make me feel better.  I definitely have an issue with migraines nausea and all that unpleasantness that sometimes makes me feel like I have food poisoning or the flu.  And sometimes those symptoms are so severe I near pass out... maybe from dehydration or something, so not something we can really ignore.  I hate working with the nausea issue too because I have to keep thinking 'do not throw up on the customer, do not throw up on the customer' while not actually focusing on the customer.  When I get the more unpleasant symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea I tend to use those days for sick days... simply because of the logistics of being unable to move five feet from the bathroom.

These symptoms are all part and parcel of a migraine.  Maybe less discussed... but still there.  This article however was bothersome to me because I do have chronic migraines and the thought that I may not be processing my medication well enough is very frustrating   I was put on the melt in your mouth minty-bitterness of Maxalt because I have an issue keeping medication down sometimes, but according to this article my muscles in my stomach are contracting too much and maybe I am not getting the effects I want from my medication.  This would explain my tolerance to some meds that would knock someone out twice my size.  And it really is not surprising that if food, or anything else, does not actually stay in you very long you are not likely getting all the nutrients from it.  What sucks is that I have never had a doctor suggest this might be a concern or provide alternatives.  I was taken off Imitrex shots due to adverse side effects, but I have never tried any nasal abortive.  Just makes me wonder if this could be a facet to the lack of responsiveness I have to medication and the difficulties with my treatment.  Frankly, it is not something I really considered... unless I just took my medication and then throw it up and think 'damn, that was a waste'.

wishes for one pain free day please

All these acute migraines wear a person down.  I just want one migraine free day.  Just to relax and get my head together before the next one comes along.  It's a bad month and there were some different triggers that made it a bad month.  But bad months happen.  It just makes me realize, like several people have told me, that I really ought to call my neuro and give him an update.  Because it is not about the good, well manged pain days.  It is about the times where I get so many they cannot be well managed.  What happens if I get an even worse month?  What if that worse month leads to more bad months?  What happens is that I will get more stressed out.  More frustrated.  And more desperate to ensure I get to work.  Maybe if I mention it now, as it stands, with my neuro we can try something that will not effect my work but maybe help with managing these bad months.  Who knows?  And maybe he will not think the triptan side effects are anything to worry about or maybe if I am lucky he will recommend trying a different one.

I think I need to reboot my brain

It has been a long month of daily acute migraines.  Obviously this becomes more and more difficult to manage and treat.  Problem was that migraine trigger from my work trip caused a flare of migraines that lasted well into the next week which then lasted into my killer migraine span of the month.  It is hard enough dealing with that week long stretch every damn month that is quite a bit more severe than the migraines the rest of the month, such that I have to call them monster migraines.  Worse still when by the time I get to that killer migraine stretch I am just completely drained from the two weeks of acute migraines already.

It just seems like my brain wants to shut down after a long stretch like this.  First comes the feeling of being sick and I honestly cannot tell if I have a stomach flu or that batch of migraines is just worse symptom wise combined with lack of recovery time.  Either way last week I was feeling positively ill.  Then comes the worsening of side effects due to maximizing my triptan use for more than one week... which leads to more heart beat irregularities and breathing problems.  Then that brainless side effect becomes way more intense.  I lose my sense of balance and coordination... stagger around like a drunk really.  My brain seems utterly disconnected from the rest of me... so my hands type in things that my brain was saying otherwise.  And the typos.  And the speech problems.  And that general haze and confusion.  Some memory gaps and such.

All that is stressful when combined with trying to get through the work day.  Unfortunately it is causing some issues.  Yesterday I was late by about ten minutes... I woke up late, confused and disorientated, but got to work being only a few minutes late.  I made sure I took my bedtime meds a little earlier since obviously my brain was struggling in the morning due to this long stretch of pain.  Unfortunately today was way worse.  I woke up really, really late.  I was an hour late to work.  And I have no idea what happened.  I have no memory of the alarm clock ringing, but I know it was set.  No memory of hitting the snooze button or turning it off.  The only thing I remember is waking up and staring at the alarm clock trying to figure out what time it was and what time I needed to be at work... there is just this sort of disconnect where my brain fails to realize what the time means... I can see the numbers but just can't understand if I should get up or what.  When I realized how late I was and how out of it I felt I wanted to call in sick, but I can't because I had a sick day this month... so I went in feeling horrible about being late.  Being late is disrespectful I think and not even knowing how the hell I slept in in the first place is both disturbing and frustrating.  Thankfully I work the afternoon shift tomorrow so I should not even be able to be late.

It just bugs me that there is nothing I can do in situations like this.  I don't want to call in sick because although in some cases the pain is horrific and the symptoms can be just as bad I would rather deal with that hellish state then have to deal with how my employer gets when I am unable to come to work.  Since I know if I am sick more than once a month things will get progressively worse on that front and I know that added stress makes it so much harder to deal with the pain on an emotional level and I fully know what I am capable of when I get in the mindset of I'd rather die than go to work... well, obviously it is easier to not have to deal with all that crap and just get through that day of horrific pain anyway I can.  Because that added stress is too much of a burden, combined with my own guilt and frustration.  But when the pain is compounding and merging until every single day is a acute migraine day and every day gets progressively worse in managing it I am not sure what to do.  Calling in sick not an option.  Going to the ER therefore is not an option and besides it's not like they do anything anyway.  Calling my neuro is smart, and also very late for that check up, but could potentially make things dramatically worse on the work front so I have been avoiding it.  I get that my neuro would potentially take me off my triptan due to the side effects, but I know I cannot function without a triptan abortive. So in my mindset I think to myself there is really only a slim chance those side effects could kill me and if they did then obviously I would not worry about it any more.  On the off chance they do cause a stroke, heart attack or severe asthma attack it is unlikely it would be fatal and besides I'd be at work so my co-workers would be there to deal with it. Still it is clear I have to call my neuro, just so he has the up to date info, even if I don't want him to touch my meds because I simply can't rock the boat right now. 

I was thinking about that a lot today.  It has just been a year since I tried to kill myself because of the work stress and the pain.  I just do not want to be put into that situation again anytime soon.  The pain of it is just too raw still.  I just don't trust my ability to reason when the pain is this intense and add into it my employer threatening me and all that guilt on top of it.  At least pushing through the pain no matter what is simpler... it is not as emotionally traumatic and I don't end up feeling like I am worthless.  It is harder on me physically but I feel that if pushing myself to maintain a full time job worsens my health, then it does and I can't change that fact, but at least if I have a heart attack from my abortive med I can't be blamed for it or made to seem less worthy... it is what it is in that situation and 'taking care of myself first' and taking a leave of absence or having work accommodation for health reasons makes sense to everyone (my family, my co-workers, my doc, neuro and even myself) it does not make sense to some (my employer) and in that situation I am blamed for being ill, I am punished for being ill and I am made to feel like it is my fault I am ill and that I am taking sick days just for the 'fun' of it (because, wow, having a 9 out of 10 migraine is soooo fun).  And I just don't want to put up with all that again when it just makes things worse.

What I really, really need is for this migraine streak from hell to end.  Just one migraine free day is all I ask.  Just one pain free day to give my mind and body a chance to recover.  Is that too much to bloody ask for?

Beyond Belief TV show on CBS

I am absolutely love the show Beyond Belief on CBS. The last episode I watched was on life after death experiences... the tunnel of light and what it actually means. It could mean your brain is shutting down and you are in a dream like state. Or it could mean there is life after death. I have always been agnostic when it comes to religion. I am open to the possibility of life after death, but I find it extremely difficult to firmly believe something without supporting evidence. So I do not have the faith required for any religion, nor do I have the firm belief of an atheist. I do understand the existentialist element to religion. That we fear death because of the gaping nothingness of it all, so we comfort ourselves with stories, useful fictions. I also believe we project our own human characteristics on what we consider to be divine. That does not mean I don't think there might be some sort of existence after death, only that I don't kid myself into believing it because I want to. One thing that kind of makes me think is what sort of existence life after death would be like. If we have a soul, or some sort of energy imprint, or life force... what would that be like without a brain? A great deal of what we are is part of our brain; our senses, perceptions, hormones, thinking.... Anyway, it brings out the philosopher in me. (Theorizing from fundamental reality)

Pros- many people have experienced the phenomena and many of them attribute a mystical explanation to it and who am I to say that was not the case? Life is full of those moment when you have that sensation of wonder, awe and connectivity of it all. Plus believing in life after death means for allowing for the possibility of ghosts and there are even more stories and even some research that is compelling there.

Cons- well, I know first hand how the brain can muck up our perceptions. Migraine auras make us see things that are not there, smell things that are not there, hear things that are not there and warp our visual perceptions so that things look like they are distorted, moving or too far away. Hard to really believe anything my brain tells me, even if it were a near death experience. And there is the very fact our brain needs to take in all that sense data and impose an interpretation onto it, and sometimes because of that very nature it gets it wrong (one example being optical illusions). Plus there is the whole sleep paralysis thing where I swear I am awake, lucid and aware but there are some freaky dream elements that I know are not real later, but sure seem like it at the time. I know we are capable of having different brain wave states that alter our perception and a near death experience seems like one of them.

It can go many ways really...
1) That warm fuzzy feeling. Faith is an odd phenomena and they did go into how the brain of someone with faith is different than the atheist. Maybe that is because the atheists, like my on the fence mind-set, gets caught up in the questions, the details, the hows, the whats and such. The person with faith however has an advantage over the rest of us, even if it is a useful fiction. If you think of someone really suffering, like us or in other equally horrific ways, the person with faith can weave meaning out of such an existence that I simply am incapable of doing. I don't think there is a reason for my suffering and I don't think my life has any meaning. But if I did, then wouldn't that make the suffering just a little more bearable? That there was a reason for it even if I could not understand it? That enduring it meant something. That my life was not just a waste of potential. That after I died, I would go to a wonderful place without pain? Not an end to pain... an entirely different existence without pain. There is some intrinsic comfort that comes with faith in an afterlife and a god. I wish I could have it and maybe not feel that this pain clouded life is utterly wasted.  Faith is not something that can be willed, however, and as I said I just can't believe something so strongly without research, debate and contemplation.  You have to envy someone that can believe so strongly that anything that happens to them was meant to happen to them and there was some cosmic design to their existence.

2) Nothingness- Alright, the idea of there being nothing after death, including of course the lack of pain, is not without appeal. Same end result- no pain.  Frankly, I don't much think it matters what people believe will happen to them when they die since they still have to get through the nasty bits of their lives without cosmic intervention.  The person of faith may interpret reality differently, but there are an infinite amount of ways to react to bad situations, suffering and pain... as varied as there are people experiencing them and religion is but one story imposed on life.  But there is still that lack of meaning atheism adheres to. Without the story then a life with chronic pain is just that; a boat load of pain. Without ascribing some sort of meaning to our existence then there is no meaning to be found to make all that suffering worthwhile. Rather depressing really and I suppose the fear of the finality and nothingness of death is what stops people from jumping off bridges. An atheist might say that because there is not something beyond this life that we should make the most out of this life, but then for some of us, it is not much of a life now is it? Sometimes it is the possibility that there is more to this life that I cling to. Sometimes I crave an end to the pain, no matter how that is accomplished.  It is not the lack of life after death that keeps me from jumping on the atheism train of thought, it is the firm belief that everything is physical, tangible and not the least bit mystical.  That leaves out a great deal of possibilties and I don't like ontologies that reduce so much of what is possible. Plus I really cannot believe that reality is as solid as we think, that time exists, that everything is tangible and seperate from everything else and that how we percieve the world is how it is. I think there is more appearence to what we see than reality... we are all stuck in Plato's cave looking at shadows and never venturing out into the sunlight. And if reality is not that way then you cannot exclude such phenomena as ghosts and life after death... although, yeah, it still makes the god idea open to debate.  Anyway, I can't just say someone else is deluded, that their story is wrong, when I don't think we really have an understanding of how our reality works fundamentally.

3) Dualism- Suggesting that there is life after death presumes there is something that continues, no matter what you call that something. Back in the day, as a young philosophy student I rather liked the idea of dualism. Not just because I could allow for the possibility of life after death and other mysterious phenomena (although I like having an ontology that allows for the possibility), but because it meant I was more than my body. The more crippled my body became the more comfort I had that I was still me, that my illness could not touch my core identity, my consciousness and my mind. Of course, chronic migraines do effect my mind a great deal which I learned as the pain got worse. Pain diminishes everything and that includes our sense of self, our thinking and our very personality. And when I really thought about dualism and how my non-physical self could interact with my physical self the more I leaned towards Monism. Still, it is a nice thought though... that we could shed our physical form like a jacket and continue to exist.  Now this is asside from the faith vs no faith, beyond religion, since just because you believe there is a non-physical essence and a physical one does not mean you ascribe any religious meaning to the non-physical... but you certainly can.

4) Monism- Maybe there is no grand plan to give us meaning to our lives, a fate or destiny or grand design, but believing that we are part of a whole gives us back some of that comfort. How do the mind/soul/spirit interact with our physical bodies? Well, because they are both energy, just in different states. Quantum physics is rapidly showing itself to be more valid that classical physics, something I have always believed. I believed it because fundamental reality ought to influence our level of reality. Because although things seem to be relative to the observer, that is because there is an observer and that observer cannot be taken out of the equation. All that quantum entanglement that is not seen and observed is still there. Like all of reality is connected in some fashion and all that is fundamental is energy in different states connected to energy in other states, changing and self-organizing. So we are part of the puzzle fundamentally and our existence is not disconnected from the rest of the universe, and while there may not be a divine plan our existence does affect our reality, and others, and our environment. Possibly when we die we do not cease to exist but rather become a different part of the puzzle. Although I wish if this were true we could just will the pain away... that would be nice. Or like some believe we could just project what we want out of the universe and it would give it to us.  Again a monism does not need to be a religious monism... but it can, as in god is everything.

Anyway it is the great unknown and we will all figure that one out on our own. My point is how we understand the world, how we interpret it and what sort of story we impose on it affects how we live our lives and to some extent how we react to suffering. I think we all need there to be some sort of meaning to our existence, any meaning really, in order to endure suffering for long periods of time. Losing that makes suffering all that much harder to survive. Problem with debilitating pain is that in some sense we lose that fear of death as the great unkown because we crave the finality of the pain. I think clinging to any meaning of this life is sometimes all that keeps us going.  I suppose in my case I just like to think about it all, think about the possibilties and part of me likes some possibilities because, yeah, it makes getting through this life a little easier to bear.  I bet each of us has a different sort of meaning to this life that helps us deal with suffering.

Acute migraines just won't quit lately

Once a month I usually go into a status migraine.  Pretty predictable since those are caused by my fluctuating hormones.  However since I took my work trip I have had daily acute migraines.  Not one long lasting migraine thankfully, but rather consistently getting an acute migraine right around 3-5 pm.  I maxed out my triptans last week and this week, which means I am left with using pain killers.  Unfortunately, these are very severe migraines.  The sort that radiates into your jaw, down your neck and into your teeth.  Painkillers are not doing the trick and it would be counter productive to take more of them, as in, just like a triptan there is always the risk of getting a rebound headache.  There are many, many constant triggers that could be contribiting to this extra intensity, but honestly I have no idea what the trigger is.  Maybe quantum entanglement?  This sort of situation sucks because there is little that can be done about it really.  It is what it is.  I figure I am going to have to go triptan and painkiller free tommorow so that if this continues Monday I will be able to treat it more effectively.  So far the triptans have been moderately effective.  The migraine comes on strong and the sharp pain that signifies the beginning of these nasty buggers is extremely intense.  I take my triptan right away and the pain is either diminished significantly for most of the day or completely gone for a few hours before it comes back... both of which are fine, because it gets me through work.  But if I over use the triptan it will be less effective, as well as increasing the nasty side effects.  I would rather them work a little bit to get me through the rest of the work day than not at all and get stuck in a status migraine.

I hate scary side effects

I have had a long history of having issues with triptan abortives.  Shortness of breath and chest pains mostly.  At one time a doctor of mine took me off all abortives and put me on a super strong anti-inflammatory instead, which led to some serious stomach side effects, a short term leave of absence and the inability to ever take any sort of anti-inflammatory again.  Not a fun time.  So I am always reluctant to mention any adverse side effects because a triptan abortive is not an option, it is a necessity.  If I did not have that medication to treat an acute migraine I would be physically incapble of working... no debate about it.  However, since whether or not to call someone with chronic pain 'disabled' means we either continue to work or we quit and starve, it means we have to have any and all treatments available at any given time to get through the day.  Triptans are the only medication that can treat an acute migraine.  I have never been on a pain killer that does the trick and enables me to function, because pain killers are just there to decrease the pain, not get rid of the migraine or any other migraine symptoms.  The only reason some of us have pain killers is because our migraines are so frequent that we get more migraines than can be treated by triptans (as in max triptan use is three a week).

So if I mention that they bother me I run the risk of not getting them, which means I will have to try and function through far more pain and work and I know that is not possible for very long.  I've tried it numerous times and it just cannot be done.  Unfortunately the more times I use a triptan in a week the more worrisome the symptoms become.  I used my triptan three times last week and three times this week.  After the first three times I began to have shortness of breath, then this week it moved on to that fluttering, skippy heart beat that lasts for a few minutes, goes away, then comes back.  I ignore it.  I ignore it even when I start to get an ache in my chest.  I do think however that the last time I passed out, and my heart had been doing that butterfly flutter bit, it was due to the triptan.  So it is possible that might happen again.  Sometimes I think I should warn my spouse or co-workers, just so that if I do pass out they will know the cause and if an ambulance is called they will know the cause.  But I can't mention it without sounding way too dramatic. God forbid I sound dramatic, eh? Can't have that. But I know the bad symptoms over the normal triptan side effects so I can wait and see... and if it does get bad I can wait and see if it goes away and take more asthma medication as needed.

The side effect concerns me.  But the triptans get rid of some serious migraines which gets me through the day.  And the side effect does not overly concern me because, hell, if they gave me a heart attack, at least I would ger a vacation from work.  My neuro was seriously concerned over these side effects... he said breathing was more important that migraines.  I just don't agree sometimes.  If I can breath enough then who cares?  And I don't think anything serious will happen from a bit of an asthma reaction and a fluttering heart.... at the most passing out for a few minutes.  it is the sort of think I consider when taking the triptan.  First, I try not to take them two days in a row.  Secondly, I am not comfortable taking them in a work setting and would prefer to take them at lunch, lie down for a bit, and hope that gets through the side effects.

Drugged driving

I was watching Dr. Oz a couple days ago, because sometimes I like to pretend to pick up healthy habits.  Anyway, he was discussing drugged driving... something that is becoming a rising concern given the amount of prescription drugs we take.  It is a hot button topic for chronic migraine sufferers when there have been cases of people with treated migraines being changed with DUI.  Because it means Driving Under the Influence, which can include medication, which does include pretty much everything we take to abort a migraine.  And people also say we should not drive while having a migraine.  Thus, we should not drive at all.  Honestly, when you think about it, that is quite true. 

The police officer on Dr. Oz, and this would differ in Canada and various states, someone can be charged with a DUI, lose their license, get fined and have their car towed.  For using prescription drugs that we are taking as prescribed.  Some that were mentioned where blood pressure meds and anti-depressants, which are two migraine preventatives, both of which I am currently on, plus an anti-seizure med.  The problem with some of these meds is the sedation aspect, may cause drowsiness which effectively slows reaction time.  Not in all people of course.  And it does not say on the script not to drive.  Nor do our doctors tell us we cannot drive.  So that sucks for anyone charged with a drugged DUI for prescription meds, since apparently doing as our doctor said is not an excuse, nor is ignorance and nor is our personal idea of impairment.

I have had concerns over this myself, but there is no alternative transportation where I live, so I drive to work, but never anywhere else.  Obviously my doctor has not said I could not, even when I brought it up.  Nor has any pharmacist expressed concerns over a particular med, or the combination of them.  But you know, my reaction time could be affected without my being aware of it.  Since I live with moderate pain, it is only severe pain that concerns me.  And unanticipated side effects are only a concern while I am getting used to a medication.  And really when it comes down to it having a full blown acute migraine and driving seems to be far more dangerous than having a treated one and driving.  Think of how impaired we can get neurologically from a migraine, not even counting the pain... asside from the visual issues there are huge issues with clarity of thinking and reaction time.  However, migraine or not, our actual preventatives, which we may not notice a change to reaction time given we take them every day, could be counted as impairing us.  Sure would be a good thing to know.

I also tend to trust my doctors judgement over and above my own.  I don't make the decisions, or I would not be working or driving.  He has the power.  Yet, I would be the one suffering the consequences.  And sure as hell do not drink and drive, yet everyone seems to think it is fine when I have more than fifteen migraines a month, that I treat, and three different preventatives.  Most unfortunately is that since I do have to work, which does suck, and am not considered disabled and unable to work, the one form of alternative transportation open to people with disabilities is not an option.  Is it right that I must always in all aspects of this life live by other people standards of 'not sick enough'?  Tell me I have a disability and help me accommodate it, instead of bickering on what is a real disability and what is not.  If we are to be considered legally liable for driving under the influence, then there ought to be a way to help us get around.  And since these are prescription medications that we take on a regular basis shouldn't our doctors be legally obliged to state we cannot drive instead of making us guess?  I mean, if someone gets severe seizures they cannot drive, so for a chronic condition that might impair our reaction time, plus medications, plus combining medications, shouldn't there be guidelines for a doctor to follow?  It sucks that we are in this gray zone where people cannot even make up their minds about whether we have a disability or not, let alone thinking about how difficult that condition makes our every day living.

I want to say it is discrimination...

I know in the past my work place has been downright illegal when dealing with me and my disability, which was obviously compounding stress for me and a real drag that they could not compromise and did not want to help motivate me in different methods of coping with a disability in the workplace.  They did threaten to fire me, told me to resign, had me sign documents promising I would not miss work regardless of my heath, threatened to demote me (and did a few times) and had me fearing they would lay me off using some other random reason.  For most people who find themselves in this situation I would obviously tell them to report it, go to there human resources or over their mangers head... something.  But in reality I feared repercussions of doing so because I know how easy it is to lay people off for some other reason and make it look legit... but more so us chronic pain sufferers have this bizarre guilt that suggests we are at fault in some way for being sick (maybe because we do face all this blame that we think in part it must be true and we feel like we are failing so many people) and then there is the sense that we are not strong enough to cope with it.  That is all bullshit.  But powerful nonetheless.  People frequently told me my job was not worth jeopardizing my health but that overpowering guilt of not being able to work and being a burden on others made me grip keeping my job, not matter what they told me, even when clearly I was having troubles with pain... but I always assumed those troubles would be fleeting and would not last forever and once my medication kicked in it would all be better.  Lies like that help me get out of bed in the morning.  Nonetheless all that harassment I received was never reported, no changes were made, no behaviors tweaked... and it made me feel embarrassed or even responsible for what I considered a failure.  Keep in mind I am even more disillusioned now that I am aware no matter what things will stay the same and someday I suppose when push comes to shove I might be incapable of proceeding but I damned well will try.  it has left me with a bit of resentment and bitterness because I know I am disposable and my company does not have my best interests at heart, which makes things more difficult than they need to be, but that's life.

So, yes, in the past there was some blatant discrimination.  Even such comments that there could be no accommodation because I am not visibly physically disabled and that my role was a face to face one that did not allow for at home work or less hours... there they were just being bitchy.  Maybe because they realized when they threatened my livelihood and made me feel so useless while my doctor was tweaking my medication and I was at those peak pain periods that by adding those stressors and threats my doctors immediately put me on short term leaves, partly because of the stress work was adding and partially because they did not want my job threatened.  Probably a good thing they did or I would have cracked years ago.  So now that I am forcing myself to comply to other peoples demands, including work, and anybody else for that matter, simply because there is no flexibility so I assume I am expected to, and take way more medication than I am comfortable to do so, but at least someone wins in the whole situation.  Easier not to fight because losing costs me a lot over time.  Or I just can't muster up the energy to fight right now.  Survival mode had gotten me through years before, without any reflection, just moment by moment existing; works real well till you start thinking about it.

But you would think with me just giving in that the discrimination would cease, since past experience tells me my employer is pleased with my performance in all ways, except when I am in too much pain to function and can't come to work.  Sure they are unpleasant when I first return from a leave of absence and sometimes downright rude in that so common attempt of make her miserable so she quits and saves us coming up with an excuse method, which by the way, worked very well with other staff members but not so well for me when I have a hell of a time holding onto a job and no other job would be better, if they were insane enough to hire me.  But then they settle down and think because I have less migraines that surely I must be cured.  So when I was recently promoted I thought it was nice to be back on track, after being demonted, promoted, demoted and promoted.  I thought I would get the raise that comes with the position.  But nope.  They made my promotion conditioned on finishing training.  So I went to that training thing, which was not pleasant physically for me, but I did it.  Then nope, not until I do some other training that will be some indeterminate time in the future.  Now, they have hired people from outside of the company for this specific role, and paid them that wage to learn for over a year.  We have one on staff right now that I have more actual qualifications, as in more of the necessary training, who is getting paid at the proper rate and has the roll instead of finishing everything a couple years later and then getting promoted.  So it is a double standard.  For me they will wait for the last possible moment to promote me, because they think I am at higher risk of going on disability, short term or not.  Isn't that discrimination?  I mean I was actually promoted to this roll years ago, then when on leave, and was demoted down to the beginning again...  so at one time they were willing to give me the roll and then get the training as it came up and they are certainly willing to do it for other people... but not me anymore.  For a moment this irked me and then came that damned shame, guilt, embarrassment that made me say to myself that I got why they were doing that, that they were hedging their bets with me because I am not dependable.  But I am dependable when I am able to work and I do my job well, they admit to that, and my chronic pain is not a character flaw... so it is not like I am not responsible enough, lazy or not hard working.  So they are basing this solely on my disability.  That doesn't seem right and when you add in all their past behavior, well, it just makes me wish they didn't trash my self-worth over everything.  It's just mean to ruin someone's confidence like that.

But whatever, not like I can do anything about it, or at least not without fearing their would be some serious negative consequences.  This has been a rough migraine week.  Since I got back from that trip I just have not been able to kick this streak of acute migraines.  Not a status migraine though... my triptan seems to be effective for at least part of the day and a new migraine hits the next day at around the same time and with the same intensity.  One of those nasty ones where the pain is not just the throbbing but that arching electrical pain that makes you hurt all the way down to your jaw and in your teeth.  So even though the triptans seem to be a better treatment method for these severe migraines, they don't really cut it all day and something is just triggering another one.  So I have been just drained.  I had hoped this work trip and all that damned effort I had to put in with the extra travel related FMS pain and migraine pain would have had the anticipated reward at the end.  But nope, as usual, managing to get through that sort of pain comes with no rewards.  Hell, it seems hard work does not come with rewards.  I wanted to at least feel like I was getting something for all my suffering.  That sounds weird, but when someone exercises and there is whatever normal pain involved with that for an unfit person, there are rewards of being more healthy, losing weight and having a better self image.  I wanted something like that to keep me motivated... that getting out of bed jazz is hard enough to enact.  It would have been a victory... you know, despite all I went through last year, despite the still chronic migraines, I was able to get a promotion, able to hold onto a job and feel like I had a career and future.

I would love to just redirect you to the new site...

But sadly the redirect function doesn't function. I will continue to persist hitting it and see if it will eventually do something. Or s...