Friday, April 28, 2006

Must now .... Complain

I have been told on a few occasions ... and this is painful for me to write ... (Gulp) ... that I am a drama queen.

It is for that reason that I have refrained from commenting about my headaches on too many occasions. If you think I have commented a lot, than you do not know how many times I have wanted to comment.

However, since this blog is about my life, and I write everyday, and the last 24 hours has involved a mombo migraine, I feel that I must blog about that even though I may have to hear from people like Ron Ray that I am a "drama queen."

I truly believe that even though my pain threshold was once whimpy -- to the point that my dad called me that all the time and I was so paranoid about being a whimp that when I had umbilical hernia surgery when I was 16 I woke up from anesthesia asking all the nurses if I "was a whimp?" The fear continued. Kristi once told me NOT to tell the coaches about my shin pain, and I listened to her say "Suck it up Wendicles!" every evening until the day I could no longer jump at all and was diagnosed with a stress fracture. (Kristi received a strong rebuke from our trainer and strength coach for this poor peer pressure.)

However, I believe that having a dry socket when I first moved to Mayo put all pain and discomfort into perspective for me. I have heard that Kristi's mom (whom I have been told is a loyal blog reader -- so correct me if I am wrong Mrs. Hartley, I mean, Dorris, sorry) would rather have a baby than have a dry socket.

Now I haven't had a baby, but I have had a dry socket, and the pain was not good. A dry socket is actually when, after getting your wisdom teeth out, the blood clot "unclots" and the bone is left exposed to the air. You know you have one when, after feeling very good about getting your wisdom teeth out, you suddenly turn very south.

I had to get my wisdom teeth out right after I moved to Rochester. No need to bring up the fact that my dentist in Kentucky told me to get dental insurance TO get them out and then told me, in fact, they were too deep to remove. Right after moving to the Polar North, tooth pain sent me to an oral surgeon who said that the three I had definitely needed to come out despite how deep they were.

Getting them out was no big deal. I seriously was completely okay once the anesthesia wore off. Two days later is when the dry socket took a hold of my life. The nurse at St. Charles High School ran into me crying in the teacher's lounge and told me to get to the surgeon's office immediately. She definitely diagnosed me correctly.

Okay, finally, I am getting to my point.

I say all this to say that physicians have something called a "pain scale." You may have experienced this. You go in to a doctor and they say, "On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your pain." If you can't speak, they may have you draw this on a board with faces representing your pain.

A dry socket, to me, is a 10. I had visions (prior to JB calling the doctor to prescribe more Vicodin and taking 2 of them which caused me to fall asleep for 12 hours) that I would ask John to somehow, make me unconscious. I didn't want him to kill me, just make me fall asleep until the pain passed. I remember considering a hammer to the head. (How bizarre is that?) There is no cure for a dry socket. All they can do is pack the hole with novocaine gauze every 12 hours until it heals and give you some Vicodin to counteract any additional pain.

Off track here. Vicodin is very serious stuff. I heard they sell on the street for $35 a pill. I can see why. When you NEED them, they make you very comfortable. But as my body began to heal more and more, the Vicodin created strange sensations. I remember JB giving me a bowl of soup one day while I sat on the couch, and I can vividly remember looking at that bowl of soup and wondering how could I hold the bowl and eat out of the bowl at the same time. (He decided to have me eat at the table instead.) Smart man!

Okay, sorry, so I said all that to say that this "pain scale" has become my new means of communicating with JB about my headaches. If a dry socket is a 10, I have not had a migraine encroach past an 8 since my IVF journey began two months ago.

Until last night.

I took a Tylenol with codeine at about 8:00 and went to bed about 9:30 as I had been having dull headaches all day. At 12:30 am I woke up with a full blown migraine. Because I was asleep, it took getting to a 9 on the "pain scale" before I was woken from a dead sleep due to the pain.

I woke JB up and we had a pain scale conversation. He believes I have been very conservative on my my numbers so when I told him I was at 9 he told me to take two Tylenol with codeine and 2 ibuprofin (and call him in the morning!) (Well, I think he wishes he could have said that last part.) I spent the next hour and a half waiting for this to kick in and debating with JB whether I needed to go to the ER where they could give me meds via IV.

Needless to say, the medicine finally kicked in enough that I was able to fall asleep. JB said he himself didn't get to sleep until 3:30. I felt really bad, but, misery does love company. JB did say that this qualified as an "emergency" and was not just me waking him up to have my company when I didn't feel good. (Which I have done on occasion.)

However, this experience left me with a NEW dilemma. At this increased rate of usage, I did not have enough pain medicine to make it through the weekend. I called the pharmacy, who faxed my doctor, who is a resident, and doesn't have a secretary, and who was NOT responding. By noon I was starting to panic. What if he didn't respond?! What would I do?

About this time my boss at Mayo came to my desk. I was on hold (again) with the pharmacy, begging them to help me figure out something. I got off the phone, and he asked if everything was okay. When I told him the story he reminded me that he was a physician and he could help!!! I immediately felt the prayers I had been mumbling all day being answered.

So at 3:00, when there was still no answer, my boss made a phone call, and PRESTO, I had meds which JB promptly picked up. Bless my boss! I told him the outlook for my weekend had just improved exponentially. I also told him that if he needed me to work on Sunday, I would gladly do so. I think he plans to take me up on that offer. However, if I don't have a headache, I can do ANYTHING!

It is now nearly 7:00, and I am feeling really good. JB and I just returned from a walk to the Indian market where we picked up some odds and ends to eat with our leftovers. I give my pain a 3 right now. (You see how this works now.) JB is making dinner, and we are going to watch Ben Hur. I have never seen this movie, and JB says every person must watch this movie once in their life. I've heard it is long so after our crappy night's sleep, we may just watch half. This is the second time we have tried to watch Ben Hur. The first time, we realized the first DVD was cracked so we had to send it back to the Netflix people. This time the DVD looks great.

Anyways, this drama queen is signing out reminding you that tonight, I start my Gonal shots!!! First blood draw on Wednesday. IVF here we come.


Anonymous said...

I know what it feels like to be in constant pain. One time, when i was little, I was running down the street and I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk. I fell and hit my face pretty hard. Honetly though, that wasn't too painful...

However, a few years later I stubbed my toe really bad. That thing KILLED for like 20 minutes!!!


suebaby said...

OK, I have had both dry sockets and given birth, and I agree that dry sockets are definitely the worst pain I've ever felt and definitely a 10. My worst childbirth moments were actually as I recovered (I had an epidural) and the worst moment there was maybe an 8. I definitely feel for you with the migraines... anything that's a nine with dry sockets being a 10 has got to be HORRIBLE. Hope you get through the weekend ok.

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Thanks Sue! You have helped confirm that my pain threshold is actually not bad, and Josh, I really, am just not sure about you ... Sarah would not be proud of your post.