Thursday, May 31, 2007

Up and Down - again

Nothing developed on Monday and despite the cold and sore throat it was a good day. Monday night was the best night for weeks, sleeping right through until the 7am alarm without any chemical assistance. Once again on Tuesday evening I thought something was developing and took 10mg of Temazepam to get off to sleep. Unfortunately I woke at around 3am with a headache and couldn't get off again. Once again I took two Solpadeines and once again they worked quickly so that Wednesday was a clear day. These heads can't be migraines, so I must assume they're related to the cold symptoms and hence easily cured.

I woke early Thursday (4am) and decided to get up and do the ironing. Tired all day but once again free of migraine, the 12th consecutive clear day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Catching Up

This is a compilation of several days, having taken a holiday and having been unable to keep the blog up to date.

Wednesday - 9th May

I'm feeling unbelievably tired because I'm still waking up between 3 and 4 am and failing to get off to sleep despite taking 10mg of Temazapan. When is it going to get better? I've been falling asleep during the day whenver I sit in a comfortable chair: should I be forcing myself to stay awake until bedtime in the hope of getting more rest at the right time? Can this still be amitriptylene withdrawal or is it the menopausal sleep problem I suffered from before starting amitriptyline for migraine and finding it made me sleep better? What will happen during my holiday which starts on Thursday with flight to Venice? My husband was dealing with the same questions at 9pm on the internet and had discovered that women suffering sleepless nights after withdrawal were taking the occasional 10mg of amitriptyline as a sleeping tablet with immediate good effect. We agreed that I would try this tonight and take the tablets with me to Venice.

Thursday 10th May

I had the best night for ages, amitriptyline-fuelled, and my husband had one of the worst. Apparently at about 3 am he was awakened by me chatting in my sleep and twitching regularly - Rapid Molly Movement sleep he called it - and this kept going for a couple of hours before I woke up and he finally drifted off to sleep again. I felt very groggy and spaced out for most of the morning, which was no bad thing because we flew to Venice. Here the hotel was so hot (air conditioner putting out more sound than cool) I doubt if either of us would have slept well under any circumstances. In the event, 10mg of Temazepam were useless.

Friday 11th May

We revisited St Marks Sq. in the morning, discovering it had lost a lot of its charm in the last 10 years, thanks to its increasing popularity and an attack of graffiti. Spent the afternoon touring around the city in a vaporetto and had a quiet dinner in a pleasant restaurant just north of the Rialto. The hotel room was a little cooler having kept the sun out all day and having complained about the noise at breakfast.

Saturday 12th May

Moved on to Dubrovnik, arriving Sunday am after another great nights sleep on 12.5mg amitriptyline. Once again very groggy and dopey during the morning. Must reduce the dose to around 6 mg to see if it still works without the "hangover" the next morning.

Sunday 13th

A day out in Dubrovnik and Cavtat. Slept well with 10mg temazepam.

Monday 14th

A day at sea - heading for Turkey. No medication, no headaches and a good night's sleep. What's going on here? I'm also eating a wider range of foods due to the inability to control my intake while eating only in restaurants.

Tuesday 15th.

Kusadasi, Turkey. I'd decided against taking the tour to Ephesus in view of the heat and difficult walking conditions. Just as well, a migraine started in the afternoon, but I managed to keep going until bedtime, taking a walk around the port area of Kusadasi. Needed a temazepam and woke up with a worse head in the morning.

Wednesday 16th

Santorini, Greece: Solpadienes taken to keep going - went ashore but the queue for the cable cars was about 2 hours long so I returned to the ship after an hour on the shore below Fira. Things improved in the afternoon and evening, but I decided to go to bed with an amitriptiline - about 8mgms this time.

Thursday 17th

Corfu, Greece: Feeling better so I had a look round Corfu town which was quite disappointing. Apparently the rest of the island is quite beautiful.

Friday 18th

A day at sea heading back to Venice. Feeling OK until the evening when another headache started.

Saturday 19th

I've often wondered what it would be like if I had to spend a day travelling with a migraine, not being able to collapse in a chair and try to chill. Today I found out. It was very grim, waking up with it, having to trudge round Padua - the last of the planned tours - taking it to the noisy airport, nursing it on the flight home, and finally taking it to bed when we got back home that night. 16 hours of continuous motion, boat, coach, trudge, coach, plane, bus and car while feeling like death. I really was very brave, and felt I really deserved my 12.5 mg of amitriptyline.

Sunday 20th

Woke up groggy but with a clear head, determined to get back onto the migraine diet.

Sunday 27th

As I write this in the evening of 27th May, but for one nocturnal headache (midweek) which responded to a couple of Solpadienes, I can say its been a good week back in the relative peace
of our Warwickshire village. I've been getting increasingly tired due to waking up early every day, and have to admit to taking about 6mg of amitriptyline on Tuesday night for some respite. Tonight I might do the same. For the last couple of days I've been fighting a sore-throat and a cold, which I guess is not helping. Nevertheless I am feeling a little migranous for the first time in a week.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Up and Down

Had a couple of good days, Saturday being great enough to make me think I was finally getting on top of things. On Saturday night I went out for a meal at a friends house in the village with the usual trepidation related to what I might have to eat. The meal seemed fine, excellent in fact, but I can never be sure that the homemade soup or sauce doesn't contain something I'm trying to avoid.

At 4 am Sunday I woke with the start of what I thought would be a day of nausea and headache, and things deteriorated until I took 2 Solpadeine at around 8 am. As with the last episode, the tablets dulled the headache considerably and whilst feeling drained and wobbly, I was able to get over to see the grandchildren and have an enjoyable afternoon but for the full aura of a classic migraine coming on at about 4pm. As in the old days of mainly classic migraines I could feel it coming before the aura started, but as with the other recent classics, they seem to follow a common migraine, and their post-aura headache is more manageable than it used to be. I guess my system is still a bit haywire after the drug withdrawal.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I digress

My husband has been treated over the last 10 months - on and off as the NHS schedules permit - for a suspected kidney stone. After his initial collapse in the small hours of a July Saturday, I took him to Warwick Hospital A&E where the initial diagnosis was either aneurism or kidney stone; later refined to kidney stone after X-rays and a urine analysis, the latter containing blood and signs of an infection. No stone had showed up on the X-rays, but as some stones only showed on an ultrasound scan, and as the ultrasound scanner had broken, he was told to see his GP and get referred to a urologist. This was done, and in October he had the first ultrasound scan which showed a 6.4mm (!) stone, probably uric acid based, in the left kidney. The consultant (November) recommended lithotripsy and this was done in January. In March a second ultrasound scan was due but postponed on the day of the appointment. He finally had the scan in early April, and no sign of a stone was found. Conclusion: the lithotripsy had been successful and the stone had been shattered and passed. However he was still suffering from fairly constant low-level pain in the bladder area, and having to pee much more often than was normal.

He went back to the GP who said that if the stone had been passed, the pain and frequency should be diminished, so he should really phone the Urology dept. and demand to see the Consultant, not the specialist Urology Nurse who had dealt with the case since the first 5 minute session with the Consultant back in November. Our GP was clearly unhappy with the Nurse Led Urology unit and argued that a nurse did not have the skills to deal with complex cases.

Phoning Warwick Hospital Urology Dept is a task best tackled on a full stomach and a free day because it often takes the best part of a morning to get as far as the answering machine. This milestone was reached and a message left by about 11am, and to everyones surprise the Nurse called back at about 4pm. Here the story takes a dramatic turn. Could he come in for X-rays tomorrow - say 11 am? Of course he could.

On arrival the Nurse greeted him before he had chance to sit down and a full one hour consultation later he had been given another Ultrasound scan, a prostate examination, a urine flow rate test, forms for an immediate X-ray, a blood test, a urine analysis, a prescription for a course of tablets to help increase the urine flow rate (Contiflo XL - 400 micrograms) and an appointment for a review of the results of the X-rays one week later.

From the US scans, urine flow and my husband mentioning that he had had Benign Prostate Hyperplasy (BPH) for about 15 years, she proposed that he could well have stone fragments blocking the urethra where it was being narrowed by the oversize prostate. Hence the urethra relaxing medication which might help the fragments to pass. She also recommended giving up strong coffee and drinking cranberry juice instead. If an infection showed in the urine sample, antibiotics might be needed later.

One week later at 11am sharp, he was back with the same Nurse comparing the X-rays from last week with those taken by A&E last July and concluding that there was very little difference. We still await the blood and urine test results and an appoinment with the consultant, but I have to say at this point that we seem to have had excellent service from the Nurse Led Urology unit. More later...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

In the Monet again

Today dawned bright and clear and while I missed the sunrise by an hour or so, I'd left yesterday's Heironymous Bosch behind and emerged in a Claude Monet landscape.

This afternoon however, on the way home from a nice outing to Stratford-on-Avon I had the full aura of a classic migraine for half and hour followed by the usual headache, which in comparison to the common migraine "killer" is gentle and managable. This common-classic one-two has happened on several occasions, and while the classic migraine headache continues this evening, if I wasn't writing this blog it would hardly be worth mentioning.

A medication-free day, however for lunch in Stratford I could do no better than an egg mayonnaise sandwich from Marks and Spencer: the mayonnaise being a no-no for the migraine diet. Swift retribution in the shape of a classic? I doubt it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Another Migraine Day

This one came out of the blue. None of the usual precursors, other than feeling murderous yesterday afternoon after being stressed-out for no apparent reason all morning. I suppose there's a continuous low-level of stress associated with keeping house, husband and Village Hall under control and tidy, and this level is sometimes increased by other pressures arising in the family.

Dietwise, there's almost nothing I can blame other than feeling guilty about yesterday's consumption of biscuits (two) and that wonderfully wicked dessert of meringue and dulce de leche. Maybe I should try doing without the latter for a while to avoid raising the blood sugar too suddenly.

The headache and nausea woke me up at about 3 am but I managed to get off for an hour or so before it woke me again, this time so bad that I just had to take something even though I knew it would do no good. This need to do "something" at moments like this is an irresistable compulsion, (much like the need for a blast of sweetness at some point during the day) and the "something" was taking two paracetamol and a Nurofen. At this stage it's worse lying down than sitting up so I got up and made breakfast (porridge - at 6am) and sat quietly as the tablets did no good and the migraine took over. I get overwhelmingly depressed by the whole pattern of events at this stage. Nothing is right, everything is wrong. The pain is like nothing else I experience and I know I just have to sit still and bear it.

By lunchtime (bran flakes and toast) it was no better and when my husband came back at about 2:30pm he insisted that I tried to ease the pain with two Solpadiene. These sometimes help and this time they did. The headache dulled, and while the nausea continued unabated, I was able to move into the conservatory and watch Charlie the pheasant destroying a parched molehill to create a dustbath. It's the little things in life that keep you going...