Week #1: NaNoWriMo and the Week That Wasn’t

It started innocently enough: Monday night writing session, sitting in a crap chair that encourages crap posture, a chair I’ve used since my freshman year of college 11 years ago and I’m surprised it hasn’t crippled me yet. That kind of crap chair.

On Tuesday, I felt the starting tension of a headache building at the base of my skull. Easy fix: grab a Coke, see if caffeine will knock it out. By time lunch was over, it was clear the full octane, liquid caffeine wouldn’t work, so I did the next best thing: took the generic form of Excedrin Tension Headache. Two pills.

Three hours pass and I arrive at my physical therapy session and the receptionist asks if I’m okay. I lie, say I’m fine, because it’s automatic and really, when someone asks you that question, they’re not really expecting a different answer, are they? Well, maybe in the medical and health-related field they actually do, but I keep the building headache to myself, get on the exercise bike, and work with my physical therapist and talk extensively about the crap chair and what to do about it.

Get to my car, take a prescription migraine pill. Generic form of Imitrex. One pill every two hours, maximum two pills a day. One pill should do it. Except it doesn’t. Driving home I realize I’m in a kind of trouble, because none, absolutely none of the medication I’ve taken that day has even come close to making a dent in this thing. I stop at a gas station, grab an emergency Coke, and when I get home, take my second and last dose in 24 hours of my prescription migraine medicine, hoping, just hoping, that this will do the trick.

I go to bed. Wake up at 4:30 am Wednesday. Still in pain.

Migraines used to be a different beast for me. Back in college, I would wake up with them, and I’d wake up vomiting. That particular migraine/trait/symptom is mostly history (used to be a monthly occurrence), and I get tiny headaches, the kind that lurk in the background and throb just enough to let you know they’re there, but not bad enough that you’re reaching for the first available pain medication. I also get bad headaches, the ones that make me debate between the Excedrin generics or the heavy-hitting prescriptions (it’s a debate, because I don’t want to starting overusing any one thing and make it less effective as a result). But by and large, if  headaches don’t make me vomit, I feel I’m functional.

I’ve not had a migraine that’s lasted longer than a day. Or, if I have, I’ve forgotten, and the circumstances were so completely different that it’s not even triggering the whole, “Oh, I’ve been here before,” feeling.

For the purpose of this entry, I’m blaming the craptastic chair. Truth be told, I honestly don’t know. In the past few weeks there’s been enough going on that’s different (I’ve made a list) that it could be any one of or any combination of those things.

In those wee hours of Wednesday morning, I gave up and took two generic Excedrin Migraines (only two in 24 hours allowed!). I feel asleep, and when I woke for work, the headache was on the way out. I grabbed my emergency Coke from the fridge, hoping the extra caffeine would drive it away completely, but I ended up taking a nap at lunch. When the timer went off and I was forced to return to a vertical position, I knew it was a very, very bad idea. But I did it anyway. After all, I only had four hours of work left. How bad could it be?

Bad enough that I finally gave up and went home at 3:15, after fighting to keep my head upright. Bad enough I called my doctor and asked for his advice on medication: I’d already taken my recommended dosage of the generic Imitrex. I’d already taken the recommended dosage of the generic Excedrin. What else could I do? He asked about my symptoms, the location of the pain, about what I’d taken and when, and called in two prescriptions: a new round of generic Imitrex (as the stuff I’d been taking had gone out of date in March. Ooops) for migraine, and generic Fioricet for tension headaches, which we both agreed was what this was. An aggressive, Hulk-sized tension headache, but a tension headache nonetheless.

I pick up the meds, get tips from the pharmacist on how to make those meds more effective (20 minutes soaking in a hot-as-humanly-tolerable bath with 4 lbs of Epsom salt). Pick up Thursday, until mid-afternoon, where I swear, in the span of 20 minutes, if left like someone grabbed the remote and turned up the pain levels back up to screaming. I wanted to pop my head like a zit. Powered through to 4:00, went home, made my list of WTF-is-causing-this-shit list, took my special bath, and then ended the night with the prescription dispersing in my system.

Today, Friday, was a day of goals: don’t ingest the things that might be exacerbating the pain (sugar, caffeine). Don’t take anything for the sinuses, even though the blockage is annoying as hell (and yet this isn’t a sinus headache). Keep taking the big guns through-out the day, because if the bugger comes roaring back like it has the past two days, it’s time to call the doctor and beg for a brain scan.

Fortunately, I did not have to call the doctor and beg for a brain scan. But headache’s still there. Lingering and waiting, shifting around and testing various locations in my head, like it’s trying to find a room just right. But because it’s Friday night, I’m debating taking another around of the big guns. I want to go to sleep, see what I wake up with, so I can get a feeling for how this sucker really operates, if it’s really on the way out like I hope. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I didn’t need to go home early today (stayed late, even!), and that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Writing-wise: Tuesday yielded nothing. Wednesday yielded a couple hundred words that knocked me over 10K. Thursday I didn’t quite make the daily word count, and today, Friday, well, I need to get started. While I’m not in bad shape for NaNoWriMo, I’m also not where I want to be either, and I’m hoping the weekend affords me some time to get ahead, really ahead. I’m also hoping that this migraine, this tension headache on steroids, goes the hell away and stays the hell away.

Because this bastard has been here since lunch on Tuesday. Not off and on, but on, brighter and sharper at some times and dimmer at others. Friday’s been the best day since this started, and I hope that’s a sign that Saturday and Sunday will get better and better. I’m tired of having to say, “I was migraining yesterday,” in order to explain a lapse in attention, a screw up at work, a bumbling of words, or a plain fuck up (leaving the garage door open, forgetting to feed the cat twice). I’ve had to say it two days in a row, and that’s more than enough.

So let’s be optimistic: here’s to a migraine/tension headache-free weekend. Here’s to writing my heart out, eating delicious Chinese food with friends, and being blown away by the glory of Interstellar on IMAX. Please be awesome, Interstellar. Please be awesome.

2014 Needs a Reboot

I haven’t been blogging. This comes as no great surprise, I know. If I’m lucky, I put up my monthly “Culture Consumption” and that’s about it. This year, I thought I’d get in some writing updates, and to date, there is one. My brain has not been in a blogging frame of mind, for which there are lots of reasons.

I’m writing this on my new-to-me laptop. I convinced my husband he needed to upgrade HIS laptop and give me his old one, and I finally won. Since I’m attending a writer’s conference the end of March, I really wanted a laptop to take with me and work on. Also, I’ve been chomping at the bit to have one to do regular internet things, like Facebook and checking my sites and whatnot, so that when I sit down at the iMac (my regular computer), it’s for SERIOUS STUFF. Like writing. Balancing the checkbook, and doing taxes (which I really need to get started on).

So yay for that. But I have to say, to date, 2014 has been a drag. This time of year is always kind of gray for me mentally, and every year, I realize that S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) hits my psyche harder than I remember or even want to admit. But after years of going through this, especially after seeing my comments on my retired book blog about how I don’t feel like reading this time of year, I have to finally admit (and then promptly forget in the Spring), that this is a THING for me.

But it’s not been made any better by the events of this year. Sometimes you’re riding along life, thinking things are just peachy-keen, and life throws you such a fast and hard curveball that you’re left reeling, wondering if the curveball was really meant for you, what it means, and if it really exists and if it’ll just go away if you just focus on something else. My ability to focus has been fairly shattered, and more than anything, I’d like 2014 to start over and, armed with the knowledge I have now, I’d like to make sure this curveball doesn’t happen. I’d like the ability to stop it before it ever leaves the pitcher’s mound.

Of course, until time travel is invented or until parallel universes are discovered via Fringe style, I can’t do that, can I? I can’t change the past, and I can’t peak into a parallel universe to see what my life should or could be. After all, every curveball provides a crossroads, and those are a scary thing. I’d love to see what various opportunities are really afforded here. Who wouldn’t? Life doesn’t work that way, but because I’m a writer, my brain wants to explore all sorts of possibilities. In fiction, that’s great. It lets you look at story from all sorts of different angles and find the best one. In real life, there are no revisions, no do-overs, and no certainties. You just have to pick a path and throw yourself into it and hope and pray it’s the right decision, something you won’t know for sure until time has passed and perspective is provided. Perhaps, not even then.

I apologize for being vague and maudlin. To be honest, I don’t like talking about personal things, let alone talking about them online. I understand it’s unhealthy for me, because I need to be able to let things out, but I thoroughly dislike the idea of writing in a physical journal for anyone to pick up and read, and the idea of hiding something like I’m a teenager does not appeal. But 2014 is the kind of year that so far, I can’t be too specific, simply because I’m still processing and it’s sensitive, oh so very sensitive. But yet, I need to express. One thing that’s slowly getting reinforced as years go by is that I’m a writer, and I need to write. Journals or novels or stories or whatever, I need to let things out. Writing is easier than talking. Definitely more powerful, because I have the time to craft my words, make them weapons if need be. I don’t need weapons right now, but I do need release.

I need 2014 to start over so I can shape it into the year it needs to be.

Crazy Idea to End All Crazy Ideas

There are people in this world who adore working out. They’re the kind of people that can do a grueling workout or run and feel more energized afterwards than when they started. They’re full of energy and joy and happiness and do everything in their power to convert you to the Church of Workouts Are AWESOME.

I am not one of those people.

But I have been walking daily since the weather got warmer, and I’ve made a specific point to do so when my employer announced a fitness initiative that encouraged staffers to walk 10,000 steps a day. Pedometer provided, incentives every week, and I signed up, because it was just the thing I needed to make sure I didn’t put off the daily walk.

Well, now I’ve gotten a crazy idea: Continue reading

Middle School Moment

The following post will be put behind a cut (or, for you email readers, you’ll have to click through to read the full post) for the sake of the squeamish, particularly men. The following post is not graphic in any form or fashion, but it does discuss the visitor women get every month, so even though the story I’m about to tell is funny in a “thank god that wasn’t me” kind of way, if the existence of how a woman’s body functions (or how my body functions) grosses you out, stop reading now (especially if you’re reading this on a feed).

Continue reading