Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Migraine

The truth of the matter is I have been A Migraine sufferer since before I was sent off to kindergarten. Which is a good thing, or so they tell me. It means nothing had suddenly begun growing inside the little area where my pea-brain exists when at 35-years-of-age life became absolutely unbearable.

I do not remember life without A Migraine. They were called, "Darya's Nervous Headaches." And more-often-than-not, A Migraine came on if I was especially excited about something like a slumber party or a looked-forward to field trip to some place special or even one of my own weddings.

And do not even get me started about how my menstrual cycle and then menopause figured into the whole shit-and-caboodle because I KNOW it did, but I NEVER could get a handle on THAT.

In fourth grade we visited the Starkist Tuna Processing plant in Long Beach--rode the train and everything. Some kids brought Their Motion Sickness and they got good seats up front by the driver. I brought A Migraine. I did not get a special seat or even a special bag to throw-up in. I spent the entire day doing recon for ladies rooms into which to wretch my guts. I got yelled at twice for getting out of my seat while the train was moving. I only recently remembered this and recanted it to the Caveman, who just shook his head.

And, unlike Sgt.Airborne and spousal abuse, A Migraine was inescapable.

I have spent an entire lifetime with one eye open on the look out for A Migraine. I have lived a life of hyper-vigilance. I have also had to be productive and take care of a kid and a home and a couple of husbands, as well as make a living and get an education and basically become and be an adult.

But, along the way to becoming and being an adult, when I was just a little girl, there were no calls home from the school sick room because Darya's head hurt or she threw-up in the trashcan on the kindergarten playground.


Those were just the things that happened when I had A Migraine and that is what I had to deal with in order to deal with A Migraine--perhaps that sounds cruel, but that part of me just learned to deal early.

At some level, I am grateful, because it has made me tough. I could handle it. Teachers, parents, friends, coaches--nobody ever really knew when I had A Migraine. Honestly, I know that I can handle anything because I have handled A Migraine and I know of no greater pain.

In my world, anyway: Childbirth; broken ribs; a collapsed lung; a busted nose and split skull; knocked down in the surf or knocked out in a rear-end collision; 7 busted ankles--3 in casts--6 armpit to wrist casts status post two surgeries each, and now a broken back with bona fide left hip bursitis who even knew that shit REALLY still existed outside of the Beverly Hillbillies' cement pond.

ALL my pain is measured by the yardstick of A Migraine.

And when A Migraine comes. It comes with a vengeance. Like, a Viking-styled vengeance. With axes and swinging balls on the end of chains and huge machete-like axes and burning and raping and pillaging--it is just on the inside of my head where no one else can bear witness--where only I can feel the carnage.

Even if I went to bed at the correct time and did not oversleep and I was not too hungry or too tired and I did not sleep too much. Even if I did not eat any cheese or yeast or MSG or fermented whatfuckingever or white wine or red wine or red meat or sleep too little for that matter, and I had slept on a lavendar aromatherapy pillow--or not--because sometimes just the smell of something--anything--makes A Migraine worse, oh, God, so much worse.

YET, on the morning of the first day of a very-well planned vacation I have been known to wake up at 4:00am sweaty and nauseous with diarrhea and feeling like I will pee and crap and barf all at the same time. I am not entirely sure which is gonna happen first, but it is all gonna happen, oh for sure it is all going down or coming up, whichever the case may be.

Generally, it s the vomiting that wins out. It is what makes me grab the sink or the trashcan or the pretty little bin that holds the extra toilet paper and heave. And heave like I have never heaved before, and, like, every 20 minutes, heaving almost like a seizure and hard enough to make me think that I may have actually broken something in my back--I know I have broken blood vessels in my chest and and across my cheeks and in my eyes--they call it petechiae.

And in those quiet moments in between the throw-up seizures, my mind wanders and I think,

"Maybe I am having a stroke?"

Because I was on The Pill a million years ago for a combined lifetime total of, like, seven months, and, well, dumbass, you did smoke for all those years, and also because the pain really is THAT bad and I am afraid I may die from the pain, and my mind wanders even further and I try to remember if anyone has ever died from pain besides my favorite grandmother's brother who actually blew his head off his shoulders with a gun because the pain was so intense and undeniable and inescapable from A Migraine, and then I am even more afraid that I will NOT die from the pain and because I only like guns for one thing and it is not blowing my own head off; then it ALL starts all over again.

In the meantime, mind you, I have been breathing mindfully, and massaging and accupressuring appropriately and reciting my mantra and praying my rosary and generally doing whatever I know to do to get the pain and panic to subside.

I take my "rescue medicine"--my Imitrex or Maxalt or Amerge or Zomig or Relpax or Axert--then, there is even more excruciating pain for a bit, and then, if I am a very, very lucky girl, I fall asleep.

I am rescued.

I sleep it off for just a a little while because now I am late for everything and my adrenaline is really pumping, and I am in a neurological fog or haze or web and my legs ache oddly and my fingers are not really attached to my hands, but I will take that over A Migraine any day of the week.

I walk around kinda hollow and kittenish--a wind could knock me over. I am a ghost of myself and my head hurts from hurting. As the day wears on, I am both grateful and going through the motions dreaming of the moment when I can lay my head back down on my pillow and recoup the lost hours brought to me via A Migraine.

But it never adds up; I never really regain those lost hours. I even swear it has taken years off of my life.

And people look at me oddly, like, how bad can that "headache " really be--and they make actual little bunny ear air quotes around the word headache--that you cannot get this work done or take that test or load this trailer or go to that market and those groceries and ice or whatfuckinever else you were supposed to do until A Migraine decided to explode the contents of your own brain inside your very own skull.

And here's the thing, there is nothing on the outside to show anyone exactly what it looks like on the inside of me when A Migraine war is raging.

It is horrible. You would turn away in terror if you only saw what I feel.

If you know me at all, you have heard me say, that I would birth a hundred babies if I never had to have A Migraine. I would make a deal with the devil. I really do not believe anyone that has experienced A Migraine would say I was being overdramatic when I make that statement unless of course they also had a horrendous labor and delivery, which is entirely possible, but it certainly makes my point even more poignant if you ask me.

It is the yardstick by which I measure every kind of pain or hurt or owie, internally and externally and emotionally and intellectually and physically. Even when I had two fractured ribs and a completely collapsed lung, I just kept asking myself, "Is this as bad as A Migraine?"

Even when I thought my teeth were knocked out of my head and floating in the whitewash and I knew my nose was busted and separated from my skull and my lip was split or my head was slammed into the front windshield and then back into the seat, which left me lying flat and staring right into the cold flat black wide-opened dead looking eyes of my four-year-old Hero.

And I kept answering myself, "No. All this sure as hell hurts, and I do not like it and I cannot breathe and I think my Hero is dead and I wish it would end and aren't we there yet, but I am not thinking about ending my own life at this very minute, so, no. No, it is not as bad as A Migraine." Well, okay then, no need to call the paramedics--epic fail on my part as we all later learned.

Truth be told, I sustained surgical menopause before the age of 40 and it really did nothing to lower the number nor the intensity of A Migraine. More is the pity; some women get relief that way. Not me. It has been only recently, like, within the last 18 months that I have been taking a daily prophylactic angiotensin medication that has taken me from approximately 15-30 migraines a month to 2 migraines within the previous 18 months. If you have something to say about drugs at this point, I ask out of respect to me that you keep it to yourself because I have tried it all: ART, accupressure, accupuncture, tapping, praying, a mantra and mala that I use to this day; self-hypnosis; and an entire host of dietary and lifestyle changes that have been good but never really did much to alleviate the frequency nor the intensity of A Migraine.

In the end, it was the drugs. Simple. Easy. Old. Safe. Drugs.

More than just about anything--more than Sgt. Airborne; more than the love of the Caveman; more than the birth of the Hero and the care I give to the MIL, A Migraine has been that sentinel experience; that one constant, that has literally shaped who I am.

Dafuq! How freaking sad is that.

xoxo Darya

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Coffee and The Flag

Like most mornings, I am already pissed off about something before the sun comes up--I say this metaphorically of course because we all know that I am not usually up before the sun or even really before Good Morning (Insert Your Hometown Crappy Morning Show Here) is long over; however, since the Caveman now has a 5:00am start time in LA and his alarm goes off at 3:15am or who the hell really knows when its all just a blur to me. Be that as it may, my contribution to this morning ritual is to be awake enough to turn on the coffee pot. Yes. After being coffee-and caffeine-free since 1996, we now need caffeine.

And, yes... I, actually get out of bed, comb my hair and brush my teeth or at least swish around some Colgate something-or-other-mouthwash and ((((TURN ON THE COFFEE POT)))).

Then, I sit perched on the edge of the barstool that really only me and the cats sit on while the Caveman packs his lunch and I make small talk. You know, so he does not feel lonely and so he is forced out of his own mindful reverie to listen to me prattle on about stuff, like, "Oh, look at Johhny Kitty! He looks just like a loaf of bread when he puts his paws and tail just like that. LOOK!" Or I talk about so-and-so and what-and-what, and mostly he just nods probably wishing I was still in bed where nothing is really coming out of my mouth ifyouknowwhatImean ::wink wink::. 

That all being said, that has very little to do with why I am spitting mad this morning. And at the risk of turning this into a confessional I will tell you: 

I left the flag hanging outside all night long. God, I know. I know.

Great care goes into our flag. It is not an exceptionally expensive flag nor is it an especially high-flying flag, so to speak. We simply hang it straight down--no pole; no dedicated light; no nothing, just our genuine love of that flag. That is where it has resided on appropriate flag days since we moved into this house--nearly 20 years now. We had another flag, but we actually wore it out, and the flag we have now is the flag that was in the meager belongings of the Caveman's father's found after he passed away

While the Caveman's father never served in the U.S. armed forces, he was an immigrant to the United States, and like most immigrants, he was exceptionally proud of the American flag and his legal citizenship, which when we did the math was greater than the time he spent living solely in Mexico. He was proud of both his birth country and heritage and his language, as well as his legal immigrant status in a state that has such a tenuous relationship with her illegal immigrants. 

So, this is the flag we fly. Evidently, even at night...even when I have to stand in the planter in the sprinklers in my pajamas to take the flag down before the sun comes up or my neighbor who works mids as a longshoreman catches me lurking in front of our house. Ugh...

Regardless, once the flag comes down, I do a simple folding maneuver that I learned in another lifetime and that I have done for years and that results in the flag looking reasonably proper by most standards, I mean, I ain't no Eagle Scout or a Sergeant Major so don't bust my balls, I am doing my very best for a real OC housewife

I want to do it correctly. And I want you to do it correctly. Because it is very important, and it is the most obvious and surest way for us to show our support to our troops and their families for their sacrifice whether we agree with the politics of how they got to where they are deployed or placed or God-forbid interred. 

Evidently, the most important thing is that in the end, there is no red showing and there are four stars pointing upward across the bottom. This is the real way you fold a flag. Make yourself a cup of coffee and get busy. 

It will look so nice when you pull it out and hang it up on the Fourth of July!

xoxo Darya

How to fold the Flag

Step 1

To properly fold the Flag, begin by holding it waist-high with another person so that its surface is parallel to the ground.

Step 2
Fold the lower half of the stripe section lengthwise over the field of stars, holding the bottom and top edges securely.

Step 3
Fold the flag again lengthwise with the blue field on the outside.

Step 4
Make a triangular fold by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to meet the open (top) edge of the flag.

Step 5
Turn the outer (end) point inward, parallel to the open edge, to form a second triangle.
Step 6
The triangular folding is continued until the entire length of the flag is folded in this manner.
Step 7
When the flag is completely folded, only a triangular blue field of stars should be visible.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Confusing the Problem With The Issue

Everybody's got their problems
Ain't no new news here
I'm the same old trouble 
You've been having for years
Don't confuse the problem
With the issue,girl
It's perfectly clear
Just a human desire 
To have you come near.
                   "Crumblin' Down" John Mellencamp 


In an effort to motivate myself to write, this is what I wrote on my XOXO Darya Fan Page:

"Note to self: Learn to write a simple post on my blog..." 

Well, hell. Problem solved.

And in a friend's infinite kindness, she commented back to me in a very encouraging manner. And because I just cannot leave well enough alone and accept love and kindness and wisdom when it is offered, I felt compelled to fire back in my usual fashion, which included a greater than healthy dose of self-deprecating humor, a big fat excuse wrapped in a dismissive attitude and then deep-fried in a smart-assed tone.

Take that, friend.

Now, I feel even more trapped and stuck then I did before I made my little Facebook dispatch, which in all honesty was meant to deploy and un-stick and re-motivate me and just basically get me writing again. In all honesty, and this may not sound like much, but to me it sounds like when a bird flies into your window and scares the hell out of you and makes you feel like the thing that holds you close and safe and secure may be knocked down by something as light and as small and as wayward as a bird, and through all of that I have found that I really enjoy writing for my little bloggity blog! And then I heard the big Hallelujah, like, the one you hear at Easter.

The problem here is I have what I believe to be a full-blown case of  acute on chronic literary constipation. Or maybe the common term is writer's block, like most things in life, I am self-taught so maybe I just do not know so much about what gets caught in a writer's craw and what gets it going again. I especially like how I referred to myself as a writer--that made me laugh out loud. Good one, D, good one.

However, all this huffing and puffing about getting writing again has enabled me to realize that I do this big weird controll-y "thing", and I do it when I see Dr. Headshrinker, and I do it when I write a blog post, and I do it in my marriage. And I know this to be true because I put it on the spreadsheet and I took it to Dr. Headshrinker for discussion and he said, "Yep. You sure do" and that was just between getting in the door and getting sat down on the couch.
Like most bad life habits, it can often be traced to early family life. We had a saying in my home that went something like this: "Darya, if you have not taken the aspirin, you are not allowed to complain about the headache."

Clearly, I took this missive and ran with it into adulthood as, "Suffer in silence with your stupid personality altering and blindingly terrifying problem until you, and YOU ALONE have come up with a solution. FOR. FOREVER. AND EVER." 

Not until I have come up with some sort of solution or rationalization or justification for "the problem" do I engage Dr. Headshrinker or the Caveman or whomever. And by "engage", I mean discuss the shit out of "the problem" until everyone including the people who love me unconditionally and/or are paid to hear about "the problem" are sick to death of me and "the problem".

In some ways, I think this is good. For one thing, it makes me appear like I am always in deep and thoughtful repose, which makes me at least look smarter than I am; although, it may also make me look older and probably even more constipated for real-sy; however, on the upside, all that needless "thinking"' burns a lot of calories, which helps me to stay naturally slim without the benefit of that pesky methamphetamine addiction because my skin is bad enough and I am deathly afraid of meth-mouth, so ultimately I really ain't about that kinda life.

In most ways, it is just not very productive and this probably more than anything leads to me looking older and more confused than my actual yearsSeriously, I do not possess the kind of discernment that allows me the luxury of  willy-nilly imaginary "problem solving". I mean, for chrissake, who do I think I am--I do not possess a PhD nor a PsyD nor an MD nor even a whatfuckingeverD. It is like I feel obligated to do all of our jobs--like I am not pulling my weight or I am not being insightful or astute or intelligent enough.

Unfortunately, if you follow this little diatribe to its most plausible and obvious conclusion, that leaves this post with no ending, which also leaves me very uncomfortable; however, I have indeed written something which makes me substantially less keyboard constipated.

So, there's that. And that is a good thing because I sure do love my little bloggity blog.

I think we all may just have to suffer through a few more of these hopelessly meandering-styled posts for me to find my way back on track.

My apologies in advance.

xoxo Darya