Thursday, December 27, 2007

Firing and Hiring Doctors

This maybe a stupid question, but how exactly do you “fire” a doctor? With my recent experiences, I feel this is something I definitely need to start doing, but I’m not sure how to exactly go about it. Do you send your doctor a letter stating that you no longer require their services? Or do you call their office and say you’re discontinuing treatment? Or do you just never go back and forge onto the next doctor?

I did find something cool online that may help me hire a future doctor. There are websites that score doctors. It’s a lot like students scoring their teachers online. You can check out your future doc as well as add your own input about your own experiences. I’m not sure if a doctor would even take these scores into consideration, but I know I’m going to use these websites in the future.

Here are the sites I've found so far. If you know of any others, please let me know.

Doctor Scorecard Doctor ratings, reviews and scores.

Dr. Score Physician Reviews and Ratings. Doctor ratings and reviews.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Migraine Barbie and The Christmas Chicken

Look who Migraine Barbie met under the Christmas Tree. A Christmas Chicken!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Migraine Barbie Tries to do Christmas

Migraine Barbie was trying to get in the mood for Christmas, but The Christmas Morning Barbies from Target were really getting on her nerves with their pain free gossip about how she couldn't cope with a little headache during Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This Little Piggie Went to The Market

Last weekend, I went to my first reflexology appointment. It was at a natural healing center, which was located in a big Victorian style house in a historic town of suburban Detroit. The lobby and waiting area had loads of bookshelves filled with books on healing and spirituality, rocks and crystals, healing cards, incense and aromatherapy products. The smell of the incense was a little strong for me, but I liked the calming music they had playing.

My reflexologist was a super nice young woman who immediately put me at ease. We spoke first about what was going on with my migraines and then she had me lay down on a massage table, which had a lovely heating pad that made me feel all warm and comfortable.

The actual treatment was not like a foot massage. It was more like pressure and touch. Apparently, your brain nerve is located in your big toe and that was sensitive for me. For a while, it seemed like she was playing “This Little Piggie” with my toes, because she was squeezing each one individually.

Afterwards, my neck felt so relaxed. It was amazing because I had forgotten what a relaxed neck felt like. I felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders. My brain was thumping away still, but feeling relaxed about it was a nice change. It was truly a nice experience.

I think even for the few days that relaxed feeling lasted it was worth it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Morning Migraine Blues

I was trying to capture the Monday Morning Migraine Blues with my Inderal and my camera. I used a pill container for the background. I think it turned out looking more like modern art than an actual mood, but then I guess art does express moods.

Friday, December 14, 2007

More Things I've Tried....

Since my post in June about what I've tried so far this year to help my migraines, I've been keeping a list of the new things. Again, I don't seem to be getting very far. Sometimes, I feel like I'm playing mad scientist and guinea pig with myself.

Ginger-a woman at work told me she read something in a newspaper about ginger helping migraines, so I looked it up online. I tried it in capsules and mixed in water (gag) The capsules settled my stomach, but my migraines were no better.

Gelstat I came across this surfing the web and it was really hard to find in a store, so I ended up ordering online. It's ginger and feverfew in a liquid and you hold it under your tongue for sixty seconds. To me, it tasted like ass, and I couldn't get the taste out my mouth for hours. Again, my migraines were no better.

Sinol /All Natural Nasal Spray "Capsaicin is the all natural active ingredient in Sinol and is a clinically proven analgesic or pain reliever."

I found a way to stick a hot pepper up my nose. (See my post Would you do this?) But since I bought it, I haven't had the balls to try it. It scares the shit out of me. I've been trying to get some of my guy friends to try it first, thinking I can watch their reaction, but none of them will volunteer, so officially I haven't tried it, but I might get a bug up my butt and do it before the end of the year.

Free Meditation Podcasts I came across The Meditation Society of Australia on I-Tunes and they offer podcast lessons on how to meditate. I've listen to four of them so far and they are helping me to relax.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

“P” is for persistence

Do you want to hear what happened with my primary care doctor’s office who sent in the lunatic in the white lab coat during on one of my doctor visits from hell? I posted the original story in Another Doctor Visit From Hell

I left a couple messages for the site manager, and when I got no response, I composed a letter, detailing my horrible experience, and I mailed it off. A month later, I still had gotten no response.

Therefore, I forwarded my letter by email to the health systems corporate office. Guess what? That same day when I came home from work, I had three voice mail messages from the site manager, desperately wanting to speak to me about what happened. She even gave me her personal cell phone number so I could reach her.

I called her back the next day. She spent 20 minutes apologizing to me with a lot of corporate speak about how my letter had exposed a lot of flaws in the office, etc… and she was going to send a report to her higher ups about how she was fixing things.

It turns out the guy in the white lab coat was a medical student! (He was one-step up from a psycho disguised as a doctor.) She said he should have never said those things to me. No shit.

She told me that everyone involved in my DVFH got into major trouble, from the office staff, to my doctor, and to the white coat dude. Apparently, I really took a really big poop in everyone’s breakfast cereal by sending my letter to the corporate office, and the site manager said she appreciated my persistence in getting my bad experience noticed.

She even said she was worried about how many other patients may have tried to express their displeasure with the office and they just gave up when their calls weren’t returned. She told me that she had never seen my letter until corporate sent it to her. It had just been stuck in my file by the office staff.

So how much of this do I believe or was she just covering her ass because a higher up came down on her. She said she wished I would come back to the office to see the changes, but I'm still not sure if I want to go back there. Would you go back?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Surviving the Holidays

The first edition of the Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival is posted at Somebody Heal Me, and the lovely Diana Lee invited me to submit a blog post about holiday-related topics and dealing with migraines, so I sent her my Christmas Klutz post. I've read the other posts and they are chock full of Holiday Advice.

Surviving the Holidays: Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival

"The holiday season can be a fun time of year filled with high expectations, special events, family and friends and lots of great food. But it is also a minefield for headache and migraine sufferers. The first edition of the Headache & Migraine Disease Carnival is filled with commiseration and ideas to help you cope."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

More Migraine Rodents!

I have found more proof that rodents are associated with migraines. Check out these super cute mice having headaches. Poor babies.

Plus, I listened to the podcast of the My NPR Interview On Chronic Pain from Sarah Whitman at The How to Cope with Pain Blog, and they even mentioned chronic pain in your brain being a lot like a gerbil on a wheel!

I tried to find a picture of a gerbil on a wheel, but the only thing I could find was a hamster in a ball. Close enough! This could a hamster in your skull!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Christmas Klutz

I’ve still been feeling pretty grinchy about the upcoming holidays with all my migraine pain this year and my bad luck with doctors, so I was thinking about giving the whole Christmas decorating thing a pass.

A dear family friend had other ideas though. He decided I wasn’t going to be green in more ways than one this season. First, he didn’t want me to be a grinch, and he wanted to get me a real Christmas tree this year to cheer me up.

We drove to a Christmas tree farm out in the country. I was feeling dizzy with some pounding pain in my head, but I didn’t want to ruin the trip. I thought I could handle it, but as we were traipsing around the trees, I stumbled on a stump and fell to the ground, bashing my knee.

My friend teasingly called me a “klutz” which hurt my feelings a little.

I said, “No, I’m dizzy because of my migraine. That’s why I fell.”

Then once we got the tree back to the car, I managed to stab my finger on the saw blade. Ouch. There was some blood involved and some minor moaning about pain. Instead of strapping the tree on top of the car, we shoved it into plastic bags like body bags and we slid it inside the car through the trunk with the back seat down. The top of the tree came between the front passenger seats.

I hadn’t considered the tree smell though until we took off. With it being so close to me, it was making me nauseous, but I rolled the window down a bit, rubbed my knee and looked for a bandage in my purse for my finger.

By the time we got to my house, I was positive nothing else could go wrong. In my utility room, my friend went up into my attic to get down my Christmas decorations, and he was handing them down the attic stairs to me. Like a silly girl, I was worried about where a big basket was stashed. I use it to hold all my little Christmas stuffed animals. I climbed up a few steps to see if I could spot it, promptly slipped, fell against the shelf on the wall and landed on the bench below it.

The shelf came crashing down. All the stuff on it went flying. It was chaos. I caught most of my weight on the front of my leg and I wrenched my back, but I wasn't dead.

There was more moaning, but after my injuries were attended to and the Christmas decorations were finally up, I saw that my house was looking quite pretty. The tree smell wasn’t going to be that strong after all, either.

I decided that even with all the chaos caused by migraines, I was glad that I wasn’t giving into the grinchiness of it all. Even when you’re a chronic pain chick, you still need the holidays, but you need to diligently watch where you are walking, avoid saw blades and don’t climb stairs.

It was then my friend gave me a look and shook his head.

“You are such a klutz,” he teased.

“I’m not,” I insisted. “I told you that I’m dizzy today because of my migraine.”

“Well, you’re being dizzy is making you a klutz.”

Monday, December 3, 2007

Chuck The Migraine Squirrel is a hit!

I've been telling my friends and family that a squirrel named Chuck has taken up residence in my head, and he is causing the migraine pain, and guess what? They really like the idea of Chuck. No one has said I'm crazy. In fact, everyone likes Chuck far more than me bathering on about how much my head hurts. I've gotten a better response about him than my describing my actual pain. Some of them have even asked me how Chuck is doing, and they have never asked me how my migraines are doing.

Does anyone think this is bizarre? Is it because it gives them something visual to latch onto? On one level, I think it's truly sad that I have to use Chuck to convey my pain to my friends and family, and on another level, I'm glad because it's opened up some dialogue.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

My favorite lists!

As part of The Lists Group Writing Project, I'm supposed to vote for my top favorite list posts, and here they are. I didn't go strictly by pain blogs, but by things that were just really interesting. Just so you know, two of the quotes I submitted to the "your top 10 inspirational quote list" by Sparky were included in her list. I'll include the quotes at the bottom of this post. I still really like them a lot.

Your Top 10 Inspirational Quotes by Sparky

40 ways to make your mind your playground by Fier

10 Ways to Survive the Writers’ Strike by Cynthia Boris

5 Ways to Become the Perfect Idiot by Lori

The pain quotes I submitted:

Pain is not a punishment; pleasure is not a reward.
~ Pema Chodron

Life is what happens while you are trying to get well.
~ Patrick Mason