I’m not the kind of person who likes being told what to do. In fact, the more independent and self-sufficient I am, the better. My family know, despite their protests or advice when it comes to the way something needs to be done, I’ll still do what and how I want to. I’m stubborn like that…🤫
This is where my body’s reaction to whatever’s going on with it trumps me by far. I guess it would be true for any person really, suffering from fatigue, physical exertion, chronic illness, etc. We listen to it sometimes but if we don’t, we learn…the hard way (I do anyway).
A few weeks ago, my headaches started again, I acknowledged it as I do a stranger who looks vaguely familiar, passing me on the street except, this stranger is by no means a friend of mine. I’ve been taking Propranolol for the last 2 months (morning and night), something which should act as a preventative for these headaches. Hmmm…I assume they’re not meant to take them away completely so the stray painful episode here and there should be expected (I could be wrong).
It was bearable the first few days until I woke up at 2 am with the all too familiar throb. My eyes shot open and I paid attention to where I felt the most discomfort. (Like listening for sounds from an intruder and trying to identify their exact location in the house). Top (slightly) back of my head, probably more in the Parietal region and at the base of my head and neck. In my half asleep state, silently, I focused on said pain – taking note of how long it would last or if it felt better being upright or just laying down on my bed. Even that was measured by lying flat on my pillow then more in a sitting position and seeing if any of it brought some relief. The throbbing driving nausea through me with every beat of the drum inside my head, as I ran a check of my eyes. Looking left to right, up then down and making a mental note of how that felt. They hurt but not too bad…I tensed up as someone with Hydrocephalus does, not knowing if it’s just a headache or more than that.
A migraine…surely it’s just that or maybe stress from my new job or…(My last few trips to the ER and consults with Neuro docs have me protesting the possibility of my ETV failing – hypocritical right?)
I humbly apologise…
Eventually, I couldn’t handle the painful throbbing anymore and traipsed through the darkness toward my work bag where I keep a spare stash of painkillers. I popped two and tried to fall asleep as best I could…After a few hours, I did, despite the pain still being there. I decided to take the day off from work and relax as much as possible because my body simply demanded it and my brain felt battered. Feeling slightly hungover and rundown, I’ve been feeling “off” for lack of a better word. This feeling lasted just over a week but at least I got through Mother’s Day.
There are certain stages I hit when I’m feeling like this, ticking each box on this invisible checklist, I manage to be marking off more than I care to.
- Nausea (thankfully no vomiting – though that means nothing)
- Depressed (this one felt like it consumed me from head to toe)
All things that could be virtually anything, right?
Then there’s the nagging thought which plagues me from time to time:
I’ve noticed more and more over the last couple of years, lying on my right side brings with it a fair amount of discomfort and pain in my head. I still wonder about the “weird” feeling where I picture my ETV to be but that’s all I can do really. I avoid this side if I can and honestly don’t know if it even has any significance in terms of my ETV.
Work the next day was faced with all I had left to give but by the end of it, I wished I had stayed home instead. Just the general dull ache all day long, feeling tired from a sleepless night and the growing foul mood I was in. I was thankful to have made it to the end of the day (well almost) when I started losing my patience and temper. At this point, I feel like I should be locked up in a room but even I don’t want to be around myself. This is a side of me I quite frankly don’t wish to put on display for all to see but I’ve come close enough. It’s embarrassing and leaves me wondering how I could possibly explain my way out of it after I’ve lost my shit..?
This moment right here…it’s De Ja Vu – an all too familiar feeling and one which has me wishing so many things…
Thankfully it’s the weekend and I’m just listening to my body…it needs rest and downtime probably as anyone with brain injury does. I pull my thoughts into the here and now, this exact moment of my life and focus on that instead of everything else. No thinking too far ahead of anything, no feeling anxious about symptoms and certainly not allowing myself to be consumed by that which does not serve me well.
Do you ever just feel like you need to listen to your body? That by resting and taking it easy, you get to push the reset button so you can face a new day? I reckon we should all do this from time to time BUT maybe not wait for your body to force you into doing it and instead be kinder to yourself and learn to take it easy…