Thursday, October 13, 2016

Understanding and Compassion from an Unexpected Place

I had a remarkable experience at the podiatrist office yesterday. Making it to the appointment was an ordeal as I was 5 days into a migraine. With the help of my rescue medication and the cloudy sky I was able to pull myself together enough to make the trip out to her office.

She recommended doing physical therapy for 4 weeks, which prompted a discussion about how frequently she wanted me going each week. I explained to her that I've had a migraine since Friday and how that is not unusual for me. I wanted her to understand how challenging it would be for me to go more than once a week for 4 weeks because my head is unpredictable and I can't treat more than 9 days a month.

She immediately understood. And I'm not just talking about keeping the PT frequency down to once a week, which she did do. She also lowered her voice and turned out the light in the exam room. A nurse walking by popped in to ask if I was okay, since I was sitting in the dark, and when she heard I had a migraine she brought me some water and quietly offered me an ice pack.

I was blown away by the understanding, the compassion and the kindness I was shown. I've never seen anything like it before at a doctor's office - and this wasn't even a neurologist or headache clinic. I was there for my foot pain. Remarkable!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday - SNL

The only thing that keeps me from going crazy during this political season is the political satire.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday

At long last Saturday Night Live is back and not a moment too soon. The big debate sketch was so widely covered I decided to share this one instead. An unexpectedly funny bit that had nothing to do with politics.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Terrible Packaging for Rescue Medications

Has this ever happened to you? 

You wake up in the morning with a terrible migraine. You feel so awful; the light, the movement, the nausea, the excruciating pain! You stumble out of bed to retrieve your rescue medication. You get your hands on the press pack of pills and then you find yourself in a fight with with the packaging to actually get to the pill. A fight that you are in no shape to have.

Why are these pills so painfully hard to liberate from their packaging?

For many months Optum Rx was sending my rescue medication from NorthStarx

This long press pack would arrive and it was both difficult to separate the individual pill square and difficult to then open the square and retrieve the dose. In an effort to make things easier on myself I started separating the individual doses as soon as the box arrived. 

Then I learned that most of the time when peeling the back off, the paper would separate from the foil and then I could use my fingernail to break into the foil and get my pill. I started putting effort into making sure the paper was the only part to peel off and then leaving a dose on my bedside table and one on the table next to the couch. But, as you can see in the picture above, that didn't always work. Sometimes the foil would stick to the paper and the pill would be exposed.

This last time, Optum Rx sent my triptan from Dr. Reddy's. This is actually my favorite manufacturer of Sumatriptan, but that's a whole different post. You can see the individual pill square in the picture above actually has a scissor icon and a dotted line because the only way to get at these pills is to use scissors. 

This package was clearly not designed by someone who has ever had a migraine. As hard and frustrating as it has always been to get at these pills, it has never been harder and more frustrating than with these. Now, not only do I have to keep my pills nearby, but now I also have to have a pair of scissors with me?!?!? Are you kidding!! 

I like to keep my pills stashed in places I might need them - by the bed, by the couch, in my purse, in an emergency kit. But now I'm going to need to have scissors in all of these places too. Not cool.

I totally get that manufacturers want to keep the pills fresh. I want that too. The press packs being used for my dog's heart worm medication and flea/tick medication are never hard to get into. They separate from each other with no problem and they open with no problem. Why can't our rescue medications be as user friendly? It's hard enough to be suffering with a migraine without the additional hassle of accessing our medication.

Monday, October 3, 2016

20 Year High School Reunion

This past weekend was my 20th high school reunion. I didn't go.

 I didn't go for lots of reasons. First, I live a good 8 hours away from my hometown so going would have involved travel, a ton of planning and the expense of pet care. Second, my feet are still killing me so it's bad timing. Third, I'm in touch with everyone I want to be in touch with from high school. Fourth, my graduating class consisted of more than 600 students so my evening would likely consist of making small talk with people I never really knew. Fifth, I didn't feel like spending the evening explaining to people that I spent the last decade in terrible pain that robbed me of my career and most of my hobbies. Sixth, it would have been very loud and crowded, which would have overwhelmed me and triggered a migraine.

I love my hometown and I would love to spend an evening with a group of my old friends from high school, college and work but that wasn't what this was. Still, it got me thinking about old times. I can hardly believe I've been out of high school for more than 20 years now.

What's strange is how it can both feel like a lifetime ago and feel like time went by so fast. Perhaps the intensity of the teenage years leave a lasting impression on us, easily recalled and mistaken for the more familiar present. Perhaps this is why most intense times never feel that long ago, no matter how long ago it was. I also find it hard to believe it has been more than 10 years since my migraines went chronic.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Feeling Like Fall - At Last!

Fall weather is here! Fall weather is here! Three cheers for the long awaited relief from the intense heat and humidity of the summer!!!

I love everything about the fall; the colors, the cool temps, the countdown to the holidays, sweaters, hot tea, hot chocolate, soup/stew, baked goods and, best of all, fire pits. The whole of it is energizing and renewing. After months of hiding from the oppressive summer weather, I want to go outside and do stuff. 

Like everything else, it will depend on how I'm feeling. This year my foot pain is going to complicate all decisions about what we do, as even going to the grocery store can be difficult. At least my feet can't keep me from enjoying a fire pit and snuggling with hubby on the couch. Two things on the agenda for this weekend. 

One fall we rented a cabin in the mountains of West Virginia for a long weekend. I've been thinking it might be fun to do something like that again. Maybe next year for our 10 year anniversary. This was an ideal getaway for someone like me with a couple chronic pain conditions. It was quiet, we had our dog with us, the cabin had a kitchen so we got to eat our own food, we had a wonderful fireplace and we were surrounded by nature. We didn't have anywhere to be or any distractions from each other. 

There was certainly a downside. Mainly the remote location. We were literally the only people who had rented a cabin that weekend. Plus, the cabin didn't have a phone and the location was so remote there was no cell service. I didn't care during the day but it really bothered me at night. I wouldn't want to stay anywhere so remote again.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why I'm Annoyed by the Zuckerberg/Chan $3 Billion Headline

You probably heard the news already about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. They are pledging $3 Billion to "cure, prevent and manage" all diseases in their child's lifetime.

I don't wish to impede their noble goal or discourage the efforts and donation. Obviously $3 billion is a lot of money and it can do a lot of good and any progress made is a positive thing. BUT it's a drop in the bucket compared to what is spent annually by all kinds of organizations and governments working to cure, prevent and manage diseases.

I'm not sure why they think their $3 billion donation and their initiative is going to be the thing that will bring ALL diseases under control. Do they really think that the world hasn't been able to cure, prevent and manage all diseases for want of $3 billion? If it was really that simple it would have been done decades ago.

I wonder how much of that $3 billion is going to be earmarked for migraines? I don't know the answer to that question but what I do know is that it won't be enough to cure, prevent or manage the disease. Even if the entire $3 billion went to migraines, it still wouldn't be enough.

The notion is audacious and a bit absurd, which makes it feel like a stunt, which is annoying to me - someone suffering from disease. I can't help but think the money would have a better chance of doing good if it were focused on a specific disease.