Wednesday, August 26, 2009

If They Could Bottle the Pain.....

....They could use it as a weapon of mass destruction.

Right now I am in the throes of a migraine. This is the second one in about 9 days, the first one having stuck around for 3 days. So I have been dealing with this pain for just about half of this past week. It sucks. Really, really sucks.

The only reason I am writing about it right now is because my medication kicked in about an hour ago, and it is not killing me to sit in front of a computer. Also, the only time I can really capture the true nature of such a headache is when I am actually experiencing it.

If you have ever had a migraine, you know just how bad they can be. If you haven't, then you have no idea how bad a "headache" can get. Mine are bad and have gotten worse as the years have gone by. They are truly debilitating. I would rather have a Mexican stomach virus than a migraine. Really. I feel like one half of my head is going to explode, like from my forehead down to my cheekbone is being hit over and over by a sledgehammer. And that is just the actual pain.

I also feel like I am going to vomit, usually for the duration of the headache. I can't stand bright light, loud sounds, or smells. I can't read, watch TV, or listen to music. The sound of my kids laughing and playing makes my eardrums want to pop. I can barely eat. I have a hard time driving, even moving too quickly. And then when I take the medication there is a whole other set of symptoms to handle. Drowsiness, tightness in my chest and jaw, tingling in my neck, heaviness in my head. The pain goes away for a bit, but it often returns. I never truly know if my headache is gone until I make it through about 4 hours without pain.

And I never know what is going to trigger one. Sometimes I can drink 3 glasses of wine. Sometimes a few sips will bring one on. Same with smells. The worst is walking through the perfume section of a department store......I often try to just hold my breath. Bright light, sudden loud sounds, lack of sleep (hello???), stress (again, hello?), weather changes, the list is endless. So I basically live my life and hope that this time the headache won't come.

I have been getting migraines since I was around 10 years old. I don't remember the first one, But I do remember many times where I would be in my dark room, in bed for days. I remember several MRI's, EEG's, and other tests to make sure that there wasn't any other explanation for the headaches. I remember missing an entire week of high school because the headache wouldn't go away. I remember keeping a journal for my headaches, and cutting out all possible migraine triggers from my life. I especially remember when I had to cut out all caffeine.....not a pleasant experience when you are a grad student! I also remember trying any and every medication that was available to try to reduce or eliminate my headaches. It wasn't very much fun. It still isn't.

I feel like my entire life has been a quest to find the right combination of lifestyle changes and pharmaceutical agents. That magic cocktail that would make it all disappear, never again to experience feeling like a searing hot ice pick was driving into my eye socket. It must be similar to what people with mental illness deal with, since most have to cycle through several medication changes and/or adjustments until they find something that works for them. And then there are the side effects. Ugh. The one medication that worked for me, really worked and practically eliminated the headaches was an anti-seizure med. Unfortunately it made me feel like my body was made of lead, I could hardly keep my eyes open, and it slowed my metabolism to the speed of a snail. Since I was going to graduate school full-time, staying awake and having some energy was necessary. And gaining 25 pounds in 3 months wasn't making me love the stuff either. I found another daily med that helped, although not quite as much. But hey, I was willing to take whatever I could get.

Thankfully my headaches have gone away when I was pregnant with each of my kids, especially since I was not allowed to take most migraine meds. I had a couple in each pregnancy, but they were short-lived, and managed with pain medication. But within 3 months of giving birth to each one, the headaches returned, and they were raring to go. I feel like over half of the days in the past 6 weeks I have had a migraine. And I just can't function like this. I just want to crawl into a hole, a dark, quiet hole. I want to sleep through the whole thing. Of course, this could never happen with 3 kids, so I have to find a way to get through the day. Most of the time I am counting down the minutes until everyone is asleep and I can curl up in my bed and try to fall asleep. I can not be a good mom when I have a migraine. All I can do is survive, and try to keep us all above water until the storm passes.

That is where I am right now. Just trying to get through it, and not drag us all down into the ugly muck that I am wading in. I am hoping that I can take some medication, get a half-decent night's sleep, and have a strong cup of coffee in the morning. If the headache is still around, at least it will be easier to face. 'Night y'all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The First Sip

So having had a migraine for the past 36 hours, I was disappointed to wake up and find that the headache is still hanging on this morning. I am hurting, both from the headache, and from the fact that my medication makes me a little woozy. On mornings such as this I appreciate the little things much more.

There is nothing, really nothing in this world, like that first sip of coffee flowing down your throat. It is so amazing, both waking me up and soothing me at the same time. It tells me that everything is going to be okay, if I can just get through this first cup of coffee. It is a total placebo effect, as there is no way the caffeine can enter your bloodstream and get to work in less than a minute. But I love that first gulp so much, especially at 6 AM with a headache from the depths of Hades. Yes, I said Hades.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Clean Slate

I just checked on my kids, as I do every night before I go to bed. Every parent does it. Fix the covers, reposition the child who has turned themselves upside down, put the lovie back in their arms. And I stopped to simply take in the peace, the absolute quiet of a sleeping child. I took an extra moment in each room tonight to appreciate the complete and utter beauty in my children.

Georgia was curled up with her Ted, precious, priceless Ted, who will have his own blog post one day soon. She manages to find him in her sleep over and over again, keeping her secure and comfy in her lovely bed.

Noah had thrown off all the blankets, and wedged himself up against the side of his crib. He is such a light sleeper that I don't dare move him for fear of spending the next 30 minutes trying to get him back to sleep. I covered him up, and gently rubbed that angelic little blonde head of his.

And Sam. Sweet, cuddly, growing-like-a-weed Sam. I thank my lucky stars every night when I see him sleeping. I know how lucky I am to have a 3 month old baby that sleeps 12 hours at night. Believe me, I know. But tonight I realized just how quickly he is growing. Every night he scoots himself up his mattress until his head is up against the bumper. He actually has gotten so long that he takes up over half of the crib mattress! I love this stage of much changing everyday in him. But I also know how fast he is growing right now, and that, before I know it, he will be crawling and walking all over the place. So I linger in his room every night, just staring at that little nugget of snuggly goodness.

I love my kids. I love that, no matter what crap has been thrown at me, no matter how crazy I feel, or how much yelling or crying has happened, at the end of the day the slate is wiped clean. One of the best things about this mommy-job is that every day gives you a fairly clean slate. You can start again, learn from your mistakes, and try to do it right. My kids not only give me a second chance to do my best for them, but a third, fourth, fifth, and so on. And I try to give them the same opportunity. I hope that is apparent to them.

Bedtime not only brings peace, quiet, and a close to the day, but it brings hope to our home. Hope that tomorrow we will have an even better day, that kids will listen and follow directions just a bit better, that mom will keep her cool just a little longer, that we all will appreciate and love each other a little bit more.

I love bedtime.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mommies Never Need Watches

It is true. Completely and utterly true. If you are a mother, you will never need to wear a watch again. You will have this insane ability to tell time without so much as a glance at the clock. I finally figured this out today, after four and a half years of motherhood.

I can tell you what time it is when I wake up, or rather, am awoken, in the morning simply by opening my eyes. If I can wake up easily when I hear my children talking on the monitor or opening my door, then I know that it is 7 am, give or take 5 minutes. This does not happen very often anymore. If I am struggling to even open them a sliver, but can see the sunlight, it is 6:10 AM. My kids always wake up at 6:10 AM.....I have no idea why their little circadian rhythms have selected this time as the perfect time to interrupt my bliss. But 90% of the mornings, this is the time that they wake up and are ready to go.

I can tell you when 10:30 AM is coming up. My kids start to get cranky, they are at each other more, they whine more, and they are getting on my nerves. It is time to eat. They MUST have a snack mid-morning. My children are absolutely unbearable when they are hungry. Seriously unbearable. It is like the transformation into the Incredible Hulk. Once they are fed, they turn back into these sweet, normal, even charming individuals. The same thing tells me when it 12:00 PM. Lunch is a comin'......and they better get it as close to noon as possible or the beasts will return.

And the worst time of day....5:00 PM. I swear my kids have some chip implanted in their brains that sets off fireworks at 5:00. They could be playing so nicely together, building with blocks, doing a craft, make believe, whatever. But come 5:00 it all goes to pot, and suddenly my house is a whirling dervish of screaming, crying, whining, hitting, pushing, and flying objects. Today I knew it was that fateful hour when I looked over at my son half-laughing, half-crying as his older sister chased him around the room while stomping him on the head with her Barbie. Yup, Barbie = weapon at 5:00.

And I know when it is 8:00 pm. My house is quiet, calm, and getting put back together. All children are asleep (hopefully for the night), and I am finally starting relax a little. I have suddenly gotten my second wind, and no longer feel like I am falling asleep every 10 minutes. I can relax, and revel in the fact that we all made it through another day. I can eat dinner, have a glass of wine, put my feet up, and read a book.

A day in the life of a mommy.....always on time, no alarms necessary.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I love this dog. Or at least I used to. I am not so sure how I feel these days. Lately I feel as if he is on a personal mission to either drive me over the edge or teach me some extreme patience. We got Dante 6 years ago, when he was a lovable, wiggly ball of wrinkles. He used to sit on my lap everyday to cuddle. Now he weighs 60 pounds, so no laps for him.

He has a good life, no make that a great life. I often say I would give my right arm to spend one week as this dog. He is fed, has a huge yard to run in (not that there is much running for bulldogs), and has a very nice leather couch that he sleeps on for about 90 percent of the day. Why on earth would he want to screw this up?

I have mentioned the peeing problems, the exorbitant vet bills, and the midnight wake-ups before, but today he brought it to a new level. I had my house cleaned today, and I did not want to feed Dante until after the women had left. He is terrified of vacuums, so I knew he would run and hide upstairs for 2 hours. I figured if I didn't feed him, he wouldn't have to go to the bathroom. So while we are upstairs in my bedroom I hear this retching sound. Not unusual for a bulldog. I go into the bathroom, and he has puked. All over my newly cleaned floor. Okay.....I can deal with that. So I open the gate at the top of the stairs to let him down and for me to go get some towels. He runs down the stairs, I gather the children and follow. At the bottom I find the biggest pile of crap he has ever made. So now I have puke in my bathroom and poop in my foyer, and a dog who is lucky to be alive.


We go back to the vet tomorrow. Again. He may be staying there. We will see how tonight goes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So I was thinking about all the funny things my kids say and do on a regular basis. One incident from last summer came back to me, and I started laughing out loud, so I thought I would share.

Last summer I was giving the kids a bath when I noticed something funny on Georgia's stomach. It was a large oval-shaped dark spot. Not mole-dark, just darker than her skin, sort of like a birthmark. Since she has had all sorts of rashes and things, I thought it was a rash of some kind. I started trying to figure out what it could be, where it came from, etc. I called my parents, who are both medical professionals, to get their opinion. My mom was as confused as I was, and at the end of about 30 minutes trying to figure this out I decided to call the pediatrician in the morning.

So I get the kids out of the bath and Georgia asks if she can put some lotion on. I look at my many bottles under the sink and give her some hypoallergenic, unscented stuff to rub on her tummy when I notice that she is rubbing the lotion in the exact shape of the "rash." I start thinking of all the things she could have gotten into and ask her if she took anything from mommy's bathroom. She points to a gold bottle, and suddenly it all clicks. I erupt in laughter.

My daughter put self-tanner on her stomach. I am freaking out about what could be wrong with her, and she just wanted to have a summer glow!