Category Archives: Health

The Sleep Clinic, AKA A Medical Bitch and Gripe Post

I am sure I have mentioned before that I have sleep apnea and I wear a CPAP to sleep. I have always hated wearing that thing, but I’ve gotten so used to getting a great night of sleep, that I really can’t go without it. However, I’ve also mentioned my trigeminal neuralgia. The straps on the CPAP mask aggravate my already damaged trigeminal nerve. Therefore, I go to sleep in pain, and I wake up with pain. I have spoken to the Sleep Clinic about the issue and have discussed with them a surgery that would implant a device, much like a pacemaker, that would have the same effect as the sleep mask, but not be as intrusive. However, the Sleep Clinic wants me to prove that the CPAP failed before they will let me be considered for the other device. Partly, this is because of insurance. I went to the medical equipment specialist that handle my CPAP supplies for a fitting for a new mask a few months ago. The mask they gave me is just as bad, plus I can’t breathe well enough through it, so I had to go down to the Sleep Clinic yesterday for them to try and fit me with a new mask.

That was an ordeal and a waste of time. First of all, the clinic is at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in the same building as the Headache Clinic, so it’s about an hour’s drive. Second, I don’t have the same confidence in the Sleep Clinic as I do in the Headache Clinic. When I first got the CPAP, they were supposed to follow up with me every three months, yet they forgot about me. It was only because I was having trouble with the CPAP mask and trigeminal neuralgia that they took notice of me again. That had me annoyed when they told me this three months ago. I got a call a few weeks ago wanting me to do a mask fitting before my appointment with the Sleep Clinic’s nurse practitioner on October 26. So I made the appointment and went down.

After trying on several masks, I told the respiratory therapist (RT) how much they hurt. All of which caused me to be in quite a bit of pain for the rest of the day. The RT I met with sent me home with a new mask to try, but I don’t hold out much hope it will work any better. It hurt to wear it for a few minutes down there, just like the others. I don’t know what she thinks it will do to sleep in it that’s different? What really aggravated me was that I had to pay $55 for basically the “pleasure” of visiting a showroom with a hospital bed in it. What bullshit! The lady was nice, but I really don’t think they should have charged me for this. The supply place didn’t charge me for their mask fitting, but because this was done in a clinic, they charged me, even though they did the exact same thing, I had to pay the higher copay to see a “specialist.” I’m also sure they will charge me for the mask they sent me home with.

I have told the Sleep Clinic people that my neurologist has already said that as long as I am wearing a CPAP at night, it will continue to prevent my trigeminal nerve from healing. It told the RT the same thing yesterday, to which she replied that maybe I should ask my neurologist if she has another solution to my sleep apnea. She said it in a very nice and “concerned” way, but I still felt like she was being somewhat dismissive of the advice I’d received from my neurologist. By the way, if I do qualify for the surgical implant, Dartmouth can’t do it (they have no one trained for it), and I’d have to go to the University of Vermont (UVM) instead. At this point, I wish I’d been referred to the UVM in the first place for my sleep apnea. I wasn’t originally sent to them because my doctor, who works for UVM, knows what a pain in the ass they can be. I see my neurologist Tuesday, so will talk to her, and then on the 26th, I’ll see what the Sleep Clinic has to say.


Pic of the Day


The Waves

Yesterday, I replied to a comment by uvdp about my headaches in which I said, “I have moments when I only have a little pain, uvdp. Other times, it can be quite intense. Basically, the intensity come in waves, and on occasion, like when I woke up this morning, the wave is a tidal wave, other times it’s more like a tidal pool.” By the time I was able to write this post, my headache wasn’t a tidal wave, but the size of the wave would have made any surfer happy. Needless to say, I was not feeling very well as I wrote this. I went to bed shortly afterwards in hopes that I could fall asleep before it could get any worse.


Days and Days of Pain

At the end of last week, I said I was very busy and I was. However, I also seemed to be having an intense reaction to an increase in my medication that was meant to control my headaches. It appeared to do the opposite and I was having really bad headaches that were affecting every part of my head, my vision, my ability to sleep, and my ability to concentrate. I sent a message to my neurologist about the issue and went back to my old dosage of medicine. It seemed to have helped some. I am awaiting a response from my neurologist, and hopefully, she’ll respond today. The last few days have been very difficult because none of my relief medications seemed to be working. The headaches just seemed to be getting worse and worse. Yesterday was some better, but the pain was still present, although more tolerable. 

I hate these fucking headaches. I had been looking forward to my three days as I’m off today because it’s my Saturday to work at the museum this week. I have dreaded the return of Saturdays at the museum. We only are open on Saturdays when students are on campus, and with the pandemic, we have not opened on Saturdays in over a year. Next week will be hell week, i.e. Homecoming. We will be working our butts off all week and the weekend next week. I hate Homecoming week. Oh well, something to look forward to next week. There is no rest for the weary.

As Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”


Feeling Off

We may all have days when we just feel off kilter. Especially if you have a true mental health day like I did yesterday, you can become overwhelmed by feelings of depression and anxiety, and your emotions can be all over the place. I know that some people take a “mental health day” as a way of saying, I just don’t want to be at work and then taking a sick day. I probably should have taken a real mental health day yesterday, but since I’d taken a sick day for a migraine on Monday, I felt like I should be at work yesterday. Anyway, yesterday was an off day. I didn’t feel like myself, and I found it hard to even fake. I mostly sat in my office all day and tried not to fall asleep. I made it through the day, though, and by last night, I was feeling some better. I’m not sure what caused my sudden attack of depression and anxiety, but it was hard to do anything, including eating. I rarely lose my appetite over anything. Hopefully, today will be a better day.


Weekend Recap

My heart goes out to those who are suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Hurricanes can be so devastating, and the loss of electricity at this time of year for those in the hurricane’s path can be deadly. With a lack of air conditioning, the heat and the humidity can be overwhelming in a hurricane’s aftermath, not to mention the massive number of bugs that are pushed ashore from storms like these. In the days after Katrina, the love bugs were so numerous that you couldn’t always see more than twenty feet in front of you. The love bugs are the harmless ones. The mosquitoes and gnats and all the other creepy crawlies will be everywhere. They are mostly a nuisance, the devastation that comes from wind, flooding, and tornadoes is much worse. So, the people in the path of Hurricane Ida are in my prayers.

I had a really bad migraine day yesterday. I’m hoping to wake up this morning with less pain than yesterday. It was one of the worst migraines I’ve had in years. At times, the pain brought tears to my eyes. Thankfully, I go for my next Botox treatment on Thursday. I’m hoping I will see improvement because I think the last treatment has worn off. I’m not looking forward to the procedure, but I am looking forward to the effects of it. I really hope it helps. Migraines with the addition of the trigeminal neuralgia pain can be overwhelming at times, and I need some relief.

I had short periods when I was able to be slightly productive. I made the brown sugar pecan pound cake I spoke of the other day. I made one on Saturday, but it did not turn out as well as I expected. Putting the pecans on top as the recipe called for, caused me to mistakenly believe it was completely done (the toothpick did come out clean). As it cooled, I realized that it was not done in the middle, so yesterday, when I had a short time with tolerable pain, I made another one. It turned out much better partly because I cooked it longer, but also because I mixed all of the pecans in the batter. It’s almost too sweet for my tastes, but it was good. I wouldn’t have made another yesterday, except that I’d promised my friend and neighbor that I’d give her half the cake when it was made. I was embarrassed and wouldn’t give her part of the failed cake. I didn’t want to admit defeat, so I made another one.

It wasn’t the greatest of weekends, but I hope the week will be better. Work should not be too bad this week (fingers crossed/knock on wood). I’m off work Thursday for my Botox treatment, and I’m taking a vacation day Friday so I can be refreshed and have plenty of time to get ready for the Pride Ball in Burlington that night. Sunday will be the annual Vermont Pride Parade down Church Street in Burlington. It most likely won’t be a big parade. They never are. They only last about 20-30 minutes, but they are fun. So, I have that to look forward to this weekend.


Nothing

I’m sorry everyone. I really have nothing to say today. With all of the rain and now with the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred coming through today, I’ve had a continuous headache for several days. So being creative or having something to say is just not in me right now. I hope all of you are doing well. Maybe this headache will get better, and I can go back to my regularly scheduled programming.


Off Day

We had a storm front come through yesterday, and it seemed to cause my nerve pain to act up. So, I had a headache all day yesterday and didn’t feel like writing a post. I still have a headache this morning, but hopefully, it will go away in a little bit.


Feeling Better

Thankfully, I am feeling much better. Slowly throughout the day yesterday as I got some much needed rest, I started to feel better, and the nausea subsided. For the most part so did the headache.

By the way, if you’ve ever wondered what I wear to work (which you probably haven’t), today I’m wearing an almost identical outfit to the guy above, except that I am wearing socks. Shorter pants and no socks is just not a fashion trend I care it embrace.


Not Feeling Well

I have not been feeling well the last few days. On Sunday, I had a bad headache, but since I woke up on Monday, I have been extremely nauseated. I thought it had something to do with missing the nighttime dose of my medicine on Friday, but I think it must be more than that. I really should be feeling better by now. My head hurts, I have no energy, and I am constantly nauseated. I’ve also been really depressed. I just don’t know what’s going on with me. My body and mind are just not being kind to me at the moment.

I wrote this last night, so if I am still feeling this way when I wake up today, I’ll call my doctor and see if I can get an appointment. I hope he can see me and help. I just don’t know how much more of this I can take. I feel like I am at my wit’s end. Things were going well, and I really thought things were getting better, but it just seems like every time my health improves and things are looking up, I have a setback.

For a while now, my mood has been better. The trigeminal nerve pain had got me depressed, but once they diagnosed me, extracted the tooth, and prescribed medicine to help me deal with the pain, my spirits lifted. Now I am back to feeling hopeless. Maybe this is just a temporary setback, and I am being overly dramatic. However, I can’t help thinking: what if it gets worse? what if the pain never ends? how can I ever cope with this? etc.