Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Human Pincushion

In the past 21 days, I have had 17 days of migraines.

It gets old, dear readers, very quickly.

Although the Thanksgiving holidays are over, I have yet to return to the office, because I am physically incapable of driving myself. The sunlight and movement of a car, combined with the need to sit up and the ever-present skull-cracking headache, mean that I get nauseous.

I briefly considered driving with my seat laid back, but I'm not gangsta enough to pull off that move.

I have tried all the migraine medicines I can, to no avail. The ones that previously staved off the worst have thrown their hands up in frustration at being called into action so often. Even the previous champion - the one that costs $24 per pill before insurance (!) and $10 per pill with insurance (that's $20-48 per dose, dear reader) - has admitted defeat and slunk out of the ring.

In desperation, and at the urging of two of my doctors, I sought help through acupuncture.

No dice, yet. But it was a fascinating experience.

A couple of light taps, a tiny prick, and a needle stuck out of the skin just above my umbilicus. Then, three more were inserted - one below and one on each side - and I started looking like a Buddhist mandala.

Five pins in each foot - one of which hurt, and drew blood, which surprised the acupuncturist and myself - and four in each hand, three in the legs just above and at the knee level, and one pin in each arm, three inches above the knobbly bone of my wrist.

Did I feel anything (apart from that painful foot pin)? Yup.

The pins in my legs sent electric shockwaves down my calves, into the tops of my feet and the outside of my ankles. The pin in my left arm sent a dull ache up to my shoulder.

But my headache wasn't relieved.

For a time, it changed, granted, but it was the location of the headache that changed, migrating from my forehead down into my upper jaw, of all places. Another pin here, another pin there, and the headache was back where it started, albeit slightly dulled. But not eradicated.

I have another acupuncture session on Thursday, which is preceded by a doctor's visit Tuesday afternoon (my mother is acting as chauffeur, at present, while I luxuriate, supine, in the heated leather embrace of the minivan's passenger seat).

I have no idea what my neurologist will tell me to do for my headaches. Will she end up hospitalizing me? I was about to demand that my parents take me to the hospital on Sunday, after my sister, brother-in-law, and beautiful niece departed Plano for their Houston abode. I was only halted by the glimmer of hope that my Monday acupuncture appointment provided me.

That flicker - although not completely snuffed out - is not as bright as it was, but it was worth a try, and I haven't completely given up on it, yet.

As the acupuncturist said after reviewing my intake forms, I "have a lot going on," medically speaking, and taking care of one or two other things might help with the migraines.

Once again, it's the game of Wait and See.

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