Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Blues

Can a bout of the blues make a good cap about the blues?

So I've been fighting a bad bout of headaches.  I've suffered form headaches for years.  They come in clusters, and last between a few hours, to a few weeks.  But with these clusters, I can take my 'headache' medicine and purge them for long periods of time.   My medicine is 1000mg of acetaminophen, and 800mg of ibuprofen.  And no.. you are not supposed to take these together.  But it is about the only combination that is effective at reducing or eliminating the headache.  On good days it will kill off the headache for the rest of the day.  I know it will come back... maybe after 4 hours, maybe after 24 hours.  But that always reduces or gives me a break from the headaches.

When I last ran out of ibuprofen, I decided to go a safer rout.  I looked up Excedrin Migraine and it is nothing more than a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.  Now I'm always on caffeine (from coffee, to soda).  And aspirin is an NSAID just like Ibuprofen... so it looks like I had been making my own cocktail of Excedrin Migraine.  I just replaced the Ibuprofen with a big bottle of Bayer, and continued as I always have.

Until last week.  My normal headache pain level is about a 2.   That is on the standard 0-10 pain scale where 0 is no pain whatsoever, and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine.  With a headache of 1 or 2, I don't do anything at all.  I just deal with it.  But if it starts to grow... say into a 3 or a 4, I take my 'medicine' and knock it out.   I rarely let the headaches get above a 5.  Well last Thursday I woke up with a headache that rated about a 6.  I took my medicine with my morning coffee, and waited for it to kick in.


It didn't reduce it at all.  In fact it got worse.  So I waited 4 hours, and took it again.


The headache was now an 8.  This is mind numbing pain.  I can't concentrate, I can't think straight, I can't move.  It H U R T S.  I didn't go to class or anything.  And at that point I had already taken a full days dose of acetaminophen.  You don't screw with to much acetaminophen as it can screw with your liver.  So I just had to deal with it for the rest of Thursday.

And Friday.

And some of Saturday.

And some of Sunday.

By Monday it seemed that the medicine started to work, but only while it was in my system.  it would take the headache down to a manageable 4 or 5 but only for 4 hours.  I tried cutting the dose so I could take it more throughout the day, but no beans.  The full does reduced it, anything less didn't touch it.

Throughout this week, the headaches have reduced to more manageable levels of 3 with medication, and 5 without.  So I could restart my normal days.  But when doing some research I found out of a phenomenon called 'rebound headaches'.  It seems that if you use analgesics (acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin are all analgesics) for a long period of time, your body can get used to them, and then they only work for a short period and never stop the headache.  And worse... they extend the headache.

So yesterday I started the recommendation.... an analgesic holiday.  No pain meds for a week.  That was fine on Friday (the 8th day of this headache), as my pain remained at about a 4 all day.  Not good, but do able.  But today it started out a 4, and by mid afternoon was back up to a 7.  7 hurts really bad. And  was afriad that it would lead to a full blown 8... or worse.  You see when they recommend an analgesic holiday for a week, they also recommend you use something different to control the pain.  Opiates.  Thats morphine.  I can't get my hands on morphine, so I tried to just deal with the pain.

But I can't deal with that pain.  The sound of the dog walking across the floor felt like a jack hammer against my temple.

So I bought some ibuprofen and took my old medcine.  Wtthin 15 minutes the headache was down to a 2, and has been there for 2 hours now.

Now I'm not telling you this for empathy, or sympathy, or anything like that.  I just want it known that my writing skills are NOT at their best. I wrote this quickly, and didn't do a lot of editing. I like it... it gives me that 'aw aint that sweet' feeling at the end.  But I may just be feeling joy at losing that big headache.

I hope you enjoy it, and I really hope that Stacy Wilderness enjoys it.  And if you don't (this is to Stacy) enjoy it, let me know.  I won't take it as bad, that I can't cap when worried about a headache.  I'll put you back at the top of my list and make you a better one when I can.


  1. Hmmmm Caitlyn that sounds a lot like a severe case of sinusitis when did you started to felt like that?, the combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen you said, it's sold here in Spain as PARACETAMOL :3 everyone use it here as a subtitute of the aspirin so i don't think that what it's doing you wrong to your head, though i'm no medic, i've experienced some of those symptoms you relate here, you should pursue your medical advice on that matter.
    I never thought self-medicate is good for anyone, though is just and advice :3
    Now onto the cap apart from a mistake spelling her career instead of his career in the first paragraph i didn't find any errors, and the story is quite solid, heck i would love to have your mind force if you have wrote that while in pain :3, and of top of that in Photoshop which requires some editing process, i hope you recover from your headaches...
    Hugs and Kisses Alectra

  2. @Alectra

    Its not sinusitis. I can easily check my own sinuses, and there is no infection there. I started having a problem with headaches about 10 years ago. This 'bad' bout started a little over a week ago.

    From what I can find Partacetamol is just acetaminophen. The problem with combining acetaminophen and ibuprofen isn't interaction, its the doses I take. The dosages I take are fine once. But not doubling it up in a 4 hour span as I do. The same part of the liver processes both of the drugs, and if you take it in these doses, it can overwhelm and even damage the liver.

    The problem with seeking out medical advice on this is $$$. I can't even afford a doctor visit, let alone blood tests. And god forbid they don't find anything there, they could also look deeper with a CT or MRI scan. That really just isn't affordable.

    thanks for the comment on the cap. I just re-read it, and think it is fine. I jumped around a bit more than I like, but I still like it.

  3. Then again thanks for your comment Caitlyn. Where are you from by the way?
    I don't know who reccomended this to you but this pill is not indicated to those kind of headaches you relate here here it's just a normal painkiller though in Spain are called iron pills.
    The thing is that PARACETAMOL 1Gram This pill as it sold in Spain does include Ibuprofen i have read now that in America contains Tylenol so i don't really knwo other side effects but if you eat while you are at dinner or lunch it doesn't do anything wrong to your liver or stomach :( you really have to take does during months(from 4 to 6 months and so on) to feel any mortal side effect
    It's goes by another commercial name: Gelocatil or Efferalgan though they are the same, gosh this simple medicine must cost a ton for you, here in Spain is less than 5€ about 6 or 9 dollars not sure about the change market right now :3
    If this started 10 years ago then isn't sinuses problems as you said, my mother takes a pill called Naramig (research this page it's hundreds of helluva stronger than that sissy pill comparing it (you can only obtain it by medical prescription in Spain i don't know about other countries) for her chronic strong headaches accompanied by a strong migrain, those are what american would call horse pills, though in Spain under medical recipe they come free if not it would cost roughly 40€ to 50€ euros every box with only 3 or 4 pills per box, so yes those are quite nasty pills :3
    While not on the political side of view on this comment i feel sorry for people who have to pay for a doctor advice it's just plain wrong ugh. Though there's a political side here on Spain who is trying his best to change the way we have our social security and our medics for free. >.<

  4. You have definitely built up a tolerance to the pain medication. Talk to your doctor about alternatives.
    I have Topomax and Vicodin prescribed for mine. (It helps but does not kill the pain). But the cause in my case is physical. You need to determine what causes your cluster headaches. Good luck.

    And one other thing. I understand that these caps are an important form of self expression, but if it hurts to make one on any given day, then dont do them that day. Seriously. We will all be here when your pain goes away.

  5. Ok. If you cant afford to go to the doctor try this. ALIEVE, (iso acsectesone I believe), is both a pain killer and muscle relaxer. IF it turns out that your headaches are a muscular contraction problem then it will help more then you think.

  6. @Alectra
    I am in Michigan, USA (and yea... thats about as specific as I'll get!).

    As to who recommended the pills... no one did. In the last 10 years I have tried just about every over the counter pain medication available. For the longest time (about 6 years) Tylenol was the only thing that worked. And to Geofrey... yea I have tried Aleve... it doesn't do anything for the headaches. The only reason I came upon Tylenol and Ibuprofen is my father had 800mg motrin tablets for his arthritis. Once day I took four tylenols and it didn't do anything for me, so I popped a motrin in about 45 minutes later and that took care of it. The next headache that came along, I took one of the motrin.... and nothing. So about an hour later I took my four Tylenol and it worked. Since then that has been my go to combination.

    When you mention the dose over months.... well for weeks at a time I take 4000mg of Tylenol and 1600mb of ibuprofen daily. That process has gone on for years. As to prescription meds, there are a lot out there that would be better than Tylenol, ibuprofen or a combination of the two... but that requires a trip to the doc. And he isn't (if he is a good doctor) just prescribe a new painkiller without researching what is causing the pain. So beyond the cost of the pills, it is still way to expensive.

    And yea... I won't get into the politics of the healthcare systems of various countries.


    Yea... I have built up a tolerance to the meds. its easy to get rid of the tolerance... I just need a holiday from those types of meds. But without something to take the pain away in the meantime, I can't just drop them. That's what I tried the past few days, and there is no way that is going to work. I graduate from school in December (so long as I pass my classes). I should be gainfully employed a few months after that, and insurance would kick in about six months after that. So I have to hold out for another year and a half or so, then I can head to the doc and get this looked at.

    Thanks for your consern about the caps. But sometimes when it isn't a bad headache day, capping actually helps. It focuses my mind on something other than the pain. Now if it IS a bad headache day, I won't cap while the headache is going on. I couldn't... I can barely tie three words together, let alone a photo and a full story. This cap was made after the meds knocked the pain back. I was still a little loopy and just damned happy to NOT be in pain.

  7. Hey Stacey here (I know it says Samantha, but
    I'm Stacey at Rachels Haven and Laura's
    Playground (I never said I wasn't strange).
    Anyways - you could try monitoring your blood
    pressure with a very inexpensive machine -
    before I lost a lot of weight, I was having
    a lot of headaches from blood pressure spikes

    Anyways, of course I like the caption,
    it's very well done-I'm kind of bumming
    about it now though, knowing the backstory
    Takie Care.

  8. @Samantha/Stacy

    I'm glad you like the cap. I'm sorry that this story bummed you on it though... I really should have seperated my headache explination, and the cap itself. I really wanted to just mention that I had gotten over a bad headache, and that I didn't feel that my writing skills were up to snuff. But saying 'I got over a bad headache' just didn't encompas why it would still effect me... so thats why I wrote the whole thing out. I'd also love to say that I battled the evil headache to make you this cap... but during the headache I couldn't write a thing. It was only after it was under control that I could write.

    And about the BP. I take my blood pressure fairly often as high blood pressure runs in the family (and mine is marginally higher than 'normal'). Sadly the headaches don't match up to the BP. If I sit with a bad headache for long enough the BP does go up, but its the headache causing the bp spike and not the other way around. But thanks for the suggestion!