First Migraine Episode

Last week, I had a migraine for the first time.

It felt like a vice grip was squeezing the back of my head.  The pain was intense.  I actually screamed and tears were flowing down my face.  I could barley walk, because the slightest movement intensified the pain.  Also, lights and sounds made the pain worse.

As a side note:  I don’t tend to react to pain by screaming.  Last year, I fell and fractured two ribs.  I grumbled a bit when it happened, but there were no tears or screams.  The  migraine pain was exponentially worse than fracturing ribs.

I went to the ER twice that day.  During the first visit, the nurse checked my blood pressure and it was normal.  The doctor prescribed muscle relaxers and pain medication.  I was also given three injections, an anti-inflammatory, Benadryl, and a muscle relaxer.

Twelve hours later, I had another migraine.  The second one was even more painful than the first one.

Mom and Gwen took me to the hospital.  When they checked my blood pressure it was 178/81.  Mom asked the nurse about it, because I don’t have a history of high blood pressure.  The nurse explained that extreme pain can result in elevated blood pressure.

I was given intravenous medications to knock out the migraine and sent home with strict instructions to rest.

I never truly understood the devastation caused by migraines.

To migraine suffers, you have my empathy and respect.  You have to be a strong person to live with migraines.

I also want to say thanks to my family.  They have been a great help.  Mom and Gwen made sure I was able to rest by taking over my household chores.  They also spent hours with me at the ER.  Without them, I am sure my recovery would have taken a lot longer.

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Fearing the Worst

Last week, was a bit of an emotional roller coster for me.  It all started Friday morning, my mom was struggling to breath.  She was sitting in a chair and literally gasping for air.

I drove Mom to the ER and I was terrified that she might not make it.  I didn’t know what was wrong with her, but I knew she was in trouble.

We walked into the hospital and she was immediately taken to a room.  A team of nurses came in the room and started working.  They were asking questions, getting an IV started, hooking up an EKG machine, checking her blood pressure, and monitoring her oxygen levels.  Also, blood tests and an x-ray of her chest were performed in rapid succession.

The doctor came into the room and said Mom had fluid in her lungs, which caused her COPD to be exacerbated.  Mom was admitted to the hospital and given antibiotics, oxygen, steroids, diuretics, blood thinners, and a nebulizer.

The treatment regimen was successful and Mom’s breathing started to improve.  She is scheduled to come home today.  We are all excited to have her back, especially her little dog named Norton.

Dr. Feelgood – Documentary

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The documentary “Dr. Feelgood,” was produced by Bungalow Pictures and it is available on Netflix.

Every year, approximately 200 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers are given to patients.  This documentary discuses the pros and cons of these drugs and tries to determine at what point should a doctor not prescribe opioid painkillers.  The documentary also takes and in-depth look into a criminal case involving Dr. Hurwitz.

Dr. Hurwitz was a pain doctor in the Virginia area, until he was arrested for overprescribing medication.  He admitted to the DEA, on average his patients were taking 70 pills a day.  Two of his patients died indirectly from overconsumption of opioid drugs.

Upon further investigation,  the DEA found some patients receiving thousands of pills a month and selling those pills on the street.  They also found medical records showing a few patients tested positive for heroin and/or cocaine.  Dr. Hurwitz ignored the drug test results and continued prescribing powerful painkillers to those patients.

Dr. Hurwitz also had patients suffering from chronic diseases and severe nerve damage. These patients had a legitimate need for powerful painkillers.  One such patient committed suicide, because he could no longer get the medication he needed for his chronic pain after Dr. Hurwitz was arrested.

The opioid painkillers can be a miracle drug for people with severe chronic pain.  Unfortunately, the drugs are also addictive and have a history of being abused.  This creates a problem that is not easy to fix.

How can a doctor know how much pain their patient is actually feeling?

How can a doctor tell if their patient truly needs a powerful pain medication?

 

Tailbone Injury and Family Lessons

Yesterday, I fell backwards in the garage and landed on my tailbone.  When I hit the concrete floor the pain was so excruciating I felt like I was about to vomit and pee my pants at the same time.

My mom was on the other side of the garage.  She knew I fell, but didn’t see the landing.  She was calling to me and worried I hit my head.

I didn’t answer right away, because I was so concerned about accidentally going to the bathroom in my pants.  I was struggling to get off the floor as quickly as possible.  However, the pain was so bad it was a difficult task and I was moaning the entire time.

I finally managed to stand up and told my mom I was fine.  I didn’t hit my head, so we got into the Jeep.  We had tickets to see the Footloose musical at the Von Braun Civic Center.  We both were looking forward to it, so I tried to continue on with the day.

However, the pain in my buttocks and lower back continued to increase and I was struggling.  We ended up going to the Madison Hospital ER.  I told Mom she didn’t have to stay and if she wanted she could go see the musical without me.  There wasn’t anything she could do at the ER, but she decided to stay with me.

They took x-rays of my lower back and the doctor examined me.  Luckily, nothing is broken.  The doctor said I have contusions on my coccyx.  Basically, I bruised my tailbone and I should be better in about a week.

Yesterday, I planed to do something nice for my mom.  I bought the tickets for the musical and we planned to spend the day having fun.  The day didn’t go as planned.  My mom ended up doing something nice for me.  She spent the day at the ER and went to the pharmacy to get my medication.  I guess that’s what family is all about.

 

Poor Joey is Sick

I noticed one of Joey’s toes is swollen, so I took him to the veterinarian.

I confess, as soon as I saw his swollen toe I was very worried about Joey.  He is 9 or 10 years old and a 100 pound Labrador/Great Pyrenees mix.  That puts him in the geriatric range and increases his risk for health problems.

I am glad to report that Joey will be fine.  The veterinarian found a small cut on the toe, which became infected.  He doesn’t have a fever and there is no sign that the infection spread past his toe.  The doctor prescribed and antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory.

Joey needs a few days of TLC and he will be back to his rambunctious self in no time.