What are these creepy blotches you ask…and why are they so blurry? Well, they are bruises and they are on my back and they are blurry because I took the picture myself. So why do I have creepy, blurry round bruises on my back you ask? It’s a rather long story and it has to do with the lengths that one will go to get rid of pain.
About two years ago I started to have headaches. They began rather suddenly, always on the right side of my head and were fairly debilitating. Sometimes I have a earache too, pressure, no real stuffiness or anything else. They would move a bit around my head: sometimes to the back, over the eye, the temple–but always on the right side. Now, I do have a history of migraines from a child, but they were always preceded by an aura, which these do not have–nor have I had one for many years. They seemed to have triggers also.
So they got so bad and so constant I finally went to urgent care after months of dealing with them. They never saw anything in my ear except fluid and prescribed a med mostly to just dry me out. This barely helped. They continued. Then I tried my doctor and we thought maybe sinuses. So we tried antibiotics. This didn’t help either over the long run. They kept on…weeks turned into a year. Almost daily: if not pain, then at least pressure. My life was becoming pretty much a living hell.
I’m a paramedic as some of you know by now. I deal with many patients with chronic pain issues. I’ve always tried to be understanding, but I never really got it. Until one year turned into two years. I visited my neurologist for my mild seizure disorder and she sent me to their ‘headache’ specialist. This person’s main remedy was going to be medications…pills. Pills for the pain, for sleep, muscle relaxants etc. Typical western medicine’s answer to everything. Treat the symptoms, but no answers as to why this is happening.
My accident in September surely didn’t help whatever initiated this all. I have read reams of stuff now: on headaches, on migraines–you name it. Every provider I see has the answer. My dentist was sure it was tooth grinding and was going to fit me with a $500 ‘appliance’ that wasn’t covered under my insurance. No thanks. They wanted me to get a sleep study. I don’t sleep well, but I’m pretty certain I don’t have sleep apnea all of a sudden. But I did decide to try acupuncture.
This has been an adventure unto itself. Honestly, I had a lot of faith in it at first. I’ve had it before and it worked pretty well with other things. But right from the get go I didn’t have a great rapport with the practitioner. And the ‘answers’ for what was wrong didn’t intuitively feel right to me. It just felt like she was grasping at straws. I’ve had three treatments and the cupping with not a bit of changes. The cupping is what has left me with those awful bruises. I’m a bit embarrassed by the bruises to be honest. I’m not sure what I’ll tell the folks in the pool! Plus the acupuncturist kind of makes me feel badly that I can’t just leave work every week to get a treatment! Sheesh.
So I’m starting to think about a new way to think of these headaches. I may just simply have to embrace them as part of me. What if they will just never get better and I have to live with them forever? What if it’s like something that is part of me now? Can I learn to live with this pain level all the time? I simply refuse to be on drugs forever. I see my patients that get hooked and I just don’t want to do it. I will try a few more treatments and see if it works….and then, well, I don’t know. It may be that this is just me now. Can’t say that I’m thrilled, but I suppose it could be worse.