Health, or rather the lack thereof

These days when you talk to anyone they are suffering from some illness, disease or sickness.  I don’t think there is anyone who when asked, will say that they are in perfect health.  I don’t believe that as a species humans have ever not complained about something.  There is nothing new under the sun, and human nature is but to find negative wherever possible.

This all comes about after another visit to the doctor.  I have been diagnosed with vestibular migraines.  That in itself is a tricky diagnoses because I don’t have the actual migraine part, I used to but not anymore.  I have all the other associated symptoms.  Triggers for migraines are also an issue because one day they will actually trigger a migraine and on another they won’t.  Yay! NOT!

Let’s add a layer – there is no one fix medication for this.  It’s not like a illness that requires an antibiotic like penicillin which works for 95% of the population.  Nope.  With something like a migraine every person reacts differently to the types of medications that are available – it’s finding that needle in a haystack.

Which is why I went back today.  We started off with one haystack.  I was still dizzy and it wasn’t making my days better.  So we tried another haystack.  That worked brilliantly for about a year … now it is exacerbating the symptoms.  Today it’s the start of haystack #3.

Now the majority of the medication used in migraine treatment is also used in heart treatment … see where I am going with this?  If I had high blood pressure this would be a breeze but I don’t.  I am already overly sensitive to the cold (as in I sleep under a duvet in 40 deg C weather and I avoid any AC where I can) and now my BP is being lowered even more.

Why am I taking the risk?  I am trading one set of discomfort for another.  The only way to compare the two evils – and trust me at the moment that’s what they are – is as follows:

Currently I am perpetually dizzy.  The world is constantly revolving and any sudden movement leaves me nauseous.  There are times when the simple act of getting out of bed will leave my head spinning so much that I cannot even stand.  Or a walk 5m will leave me feeling like I have run a marathon and my world will explode.  I cannot go anywhere alone.  I need to have someone with me in case I actually am not able to catch myself in time and I do fall.

Stairs are almost a no-go zone because if I can’t keep my head level I cannot descend.  Work is okay as long as I sit still, I have walked into doors because I have no depth perception.  My head has pressure on the worst days where I can feel it build and I wonder if something inside won’t pop or my head won’t explode that is how intense it feels.

Not to mention the ringing in my ears, my eyes that go blurry or when my vision just disappears.  When I take a step and the earth just isn’t there, but it actually is.  Or when I think something is further than it is.  My bruises are all down one side of my body because that seems to be the side affected worst.

I am fiercely independent.  What I have just described is torturous for me.  I understand that the fact that I have assistance is more than what most have.  Yet the fact that I need to be around people (work) or have someone with me all the time when I am like this affects me.  I would like to be able to go and do things, yet I cannot for fear of not being able to communicate if something should go wrong.  And the one item I am highly allergic to is the one medication that is standard to be given as a “just in case”.  If I can’t talk – I am dead.

On the medication I will initially experience some more dizziness and nausea as my heart adjusts.  Unfortunately that is something I will have to live with.  I will have to live with the fact that I am going to need more warm clothing – which can be purchased.  I will adjust my habits and cut down further on cheese, chocolate and red wine (all the good things in life!).  Hopefully this will be the one and we won’t have to try haystack #4.

Living with illness is not easy especially when it is not a visible one.  As a species we tend to disregard anything that is not visible.  If we can’t see it, we can’t prove it and therefore it doesn’t exist and it must be a lie.  I know that I give up trying to explain to others that I have a migraine but there is no pain.  It doesn’t compute.

We have no empathy.

Yet I know from first hand experience just how debilitating quiet illnesses can be.  There are days, like today, when I am simply just at my lowest emotionally.  I am tired of the rollercoaster of doctors and blood tests and medications and tests and x-rays and and and …

It is hard emotionally when it cannot be explained and nothing works.  You live with it day in and day out hoping that you can just get to a point where 95% of the days are good.  By good I mean that there are no symptoms.  That even if there was a trigger, the medication smoothed it over.  5% of the time can be accepted because life is rough and yes there are consequences for it.

Health is important because without it you are dead.  We take risks with our health all the time and above is a very calculated one.  Many others just like me, take those same risks so that their quiet illnesses can be dealt with and they can have a 95% good day strike rate.  It’s the process to get there that takes time.  We don’t know everyone’s private battle.


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