Monday, March 18, 2013

Making a Fashion Statement with Medical Tape

“Mom, your glasses don’t match your leather jacket,” says Little One.

“Thank you, honey. They really don’t match anything.”

Remember how I wrote about how everyone thought I looked fine? (Read about that here). Well, now, thanks to a Neuro-Opthamologist, I look like a certified goober. With my new glasses, it looks like there is actually something wrong with me.

Let me explain. I’m now wearing plain glasses with strips of medical tape running vertically by the nose piece. Stylish, huh? The tape is supposed to get a few parts of my brain that have to do with vision, to actually talk with each other. I guess my midline vision and my peripheral vision aren’t working together.

Snazzy, huh? How do you supposed they'd pair with a little black dress?

Picture if everything you looked at was constantly jumping around. So minutely that you don’t notice it (well, sometimes you do), but your brain notices it by scrambling your head and balance. The doctor told me that since I was in such good physical shape when I had the head injury, that I’ve been able to compensate quite well. Well, better than others perhaps, but not perfectly.

I can’t really see the tape while I’m wearing the glasses, but others can’t miss it. I can tell that people just stare. Some may say nothing while I’ve gotten other complete strangers asking about it. I even got a blunt, “What’s wrong with you?” The cashier followed up with a quick apology.

I can still see with them on, thank goodness.

Now, this can actually be a positive. Like, when I’m in the checkout line and I can’t remember the pin number for my debit card to save my life. Instead of staring blankly at the pin pad or guessing on several number combinations that sound vaguely familiar, I can point at my glasses and say, “Head injury. Can you run that as credit instead?”

I have some good friends who have tried to be positive about their comments to make me feel good.

“You can hardly even see the tape,” they say. But they saw it to tell me.

Or, “You look good in glasses.” While hinting that there are nicer frames available.

Or, “It looks like a new type of bifocal.” Uh huh. Not.

I had a really good friend say to me when she saw them for the first time, “What’s with the goggles?!” Because there is no hiding an elephant in the room. Thank goodness for true friends.

No matter what anyone thinks, I’m going to continue wearing them. And crossing my fingers that they work. It sure would be nice to have my balance back so I feel more sure-footed and perhaps can ride a bicycle again (or learn to surf). And, they are supposed to help with the constant headaches and nausea that accompany the swirling in my head.

Plus, if this works to the point where I don’t have to wear them anymore, I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to coordinate my outfits with medical tape, since obviously, nothing really matches it anyway.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Trippin’ Like Alice

I find that I like making analogies and comparing bits of my life to other things. A while back, I compared relationships to a ten-speedbike. As of late, I’ve been feeling like my life is like a fairy tale. I’ve got love in my life like a happy Disney movie. Yay. But, then, I’ve got JeffersonAirplane White Rabbit, swirly, non-sensical, 1865 Lewis Carroll, voodoo stuff going on too.

My inability to stay focused on any task at hand and the constant nausea and spinning in my brain has me feeling like I’m tripping like Alice in Wonderland. Not to mention the going from drug to drug to “help” with my post-concussive syndrome. I wish I could take a drug and just grow out of this or shrink out of it…either way…like Alice did. And, then, I’d be done with it all. But, no. I’m just so sensitive to meds. Most have made me feel more cloudy or foggy than I already am. And, I’m not really sure if they could cure it, but just lessen some side effects.

Teas sometimes help with headaches. I swear this one made with mushrooms
makes me have funky dreams. Look for them at your local Asian market.

Obviously, the whole story of Alice in Wonderland was like one big drug trip (though I’ve heard the author says otherwise). I’d like to say that I have personal college experience to compare it to, that I inhaled, but no, I’m your typical goody-two-shoes. A square. My closest comparison would be doctor-prescribed medicines. What I’ve experienced sounds like what friends have described at parties (at college or the like). I personally don’t like what I’ve experienced. My reaction is one of the reasons I fought so hard to have surgery without being put under.

I think, too, that I’m the type of person who experiences all those scary, horrible side effects that you hear on the commercials on TV. Who wants to have difficulty breathing, rashes, dizziness, seizures, bleeding, coma, heart attacks, stroke, urinary tract infections, thoughts of suicide, your bits falling off, death? Okay, I’m not sure about your bits falling off, but I’ve heard all the other ones mentioned and have experienced way too many side effects to be comfortable with. So, why would anyone in their right mind want to take something with those possible side effects? Death? Really? Good times. Neat.

I haven’t found that any of the drugs I took had benefits that outweighed the side effects I felt. Why would I choose to be groggy 18 hours after taking something to help me sleep? And, it didn’t even help me sleep, just kept me awake and groggy through the night. Thank goodness I have a sister who is a pharmacist. She’s been able to tell me that I’m having a reaction and how to stop (you can’t always go cold turkey). Are those allergic reactions what people like to experience? Is that the “high” that people talk about?

Oh, like carrying around little wax paper things of white powder doesn't look sketchy?
Five Eleven told me about this. I seriously thought she was doing something illegal.
It's a southern thing.

I used to be the person who would throw out their Advil and Tylenol because it would be outdated before I even came close to using a small bottle up. (Yes, my pharmacist sister is all about dates on meds). Now, I’ve used up those bottles trying to find relief for my headaches, but they have never actually taken the entire headache away.

Do you take meds for something? Do you find that they actually help you? Do you experience side effects? Do you like those side effects? Can you live with what you have without take any meds?

I’ve found myself having to live with new levels of headaches. What used to be a 4 or 5 (on the pain scale out of 10) when this whole thing happened, occasionally goes up to a 6 or 7 or even 8. Then, I have to wait until my body gets used to that new level and feels like a 4 or 5 again to me. Not fun, but what else do I do?

Generic Advil and Benadryl. Benadryl helps with nausea.
Just makes you sleepy unless you're one of the people it makes jittery.

I’m not all anti-drug, just so you know. I don’t mind some drugs. Allergy meds in the spring and Benadryl are my friends. When my doctor highly recommends something that may help me, I’ll now take her advice and try it. Even if I start with half of the most possible baby dose they make. And, one of these days, we might actually find something that works where I’m not trippin’ like Alice.