When Migraine Becomes Our-graine

, , , | Hopeless | September 16, 2016

(I work for a big box retailer. I also suffer from a type of migraine that is predominantly noted with visual aura. For 20 to 30 minutes before the events occur, I’m noticing all of the hallmarks of a visual aura hitting me, which will be promptly followed by a migraine. The neurological aura-confusion-vertigo behaviors are actually way scarier than the pain of a migraine, so I’m hoping that the headache will hit and the confusion will go away. However, it’s progressing worse and worse. I have vertigo; my vision is shot by this point and I can’t make out coworkers faces even 10 feet away; I’m leaning on the wall to make sure I don’t fall down. As it’s progressing it’s getting even more worse.)

Me: “Hey, [Coworker]?”

(I think my voice is loud, but it’s not. I try to get the attention of a coworker not even 10 feet away, but, busy with their job, and with my whisper thin voice, they don’t hear me. At this point I’m dizzy, swaying, paler than a sheet, and the last really coherent thought I remember was ‘Sit down, or you’ll fall. You fall, you crack your skull on concrete. Cracked skull bad.’ Thankfully coherent enough for that simple thought to percolate, I sit down, right where I am. Note: being retail and a big box retailer, this is not exactly a ‘sit down’ job. I’m normally on my feet for all eight hours I work in a given shift. Customers pass me by, four or five, while I keep thinking I’m speaking loudly, trying to get a coworkers attention, but I can’t, because my voice is a whisper. Finally, a guy, I can’t even remember what he looks like because of the visual aura, leans down.)

Him: “Hey, man, you all right?”

Me: “No. No, I’m not.”

(He went over to my coworkers, who finally turned around and saw me pretty much down. They got a manager who’s first aid trained, I kinda slurred/explained that it was a migraine hitting me, and ended up getting walked over to a bench by two of them — me, a reasonably fit 30-something male, walked to a bench by two much older women in their late fifties or early sixties. Personally, I remember the vague shapes of people walking past, so I know there were at least four or five people who just walked on by, but that guy and his wife stopped and checked on me. I’ve worked at the place for going on thirteen years, and we have many regulars who’ve been shopping there for as long as I’ve been alive, so I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him other times after this occurred. Wish I knew who he was because he was the only one who stopped, and I don’t even remember what he looked like. I was okay after 30 minutes and a double dose of an OTC migraine pill, but the fact that he actually paid attention — that was pretty awesome.)

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Kindness Is The Most Powerful Drug

, , , , | Hopeless | September 6, 2016

(I’m dealing with severe depression and anxiety and am on medication to try to manage them. To afford my prescriptions, one just half the dose of the other, we need to dig into rent money, but without my meds I crash so hard I’ve been institutionalized, so we don’t have a choice.)

Pharmacy Tech: “I’m sorry, but the price on [Medicine] has gone up again, it used to be [very cheap price] but now it’s going to be [seven times as much].”

Me: *sighing* “All right, we’ll have to pay that.”

Pharmacy Tech: *leaning in to whisper to my husband and me* “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but go home and print out coupons from [Website] and come back. Or, if you have a smartphone, look them up on there. It should save you quite a bit of money. It infuriates us too that the prices keep going up.”

(My husband and I walk outside to put away what we’ve already purchased, and in the meantime, look up coupons on his smartphone. When we get out to our car, we see a truck parked in front of us with the hood up and a young woman messing with the battery. It is over 90 degrees outside and it’s pretty clear she doesn’t know what she’s doing.)

Husband: “Everything all right?”

Woman: “Yeah. I’ve got someone coming to help. I think the battery’s dead.”

Husband: “Do you need a jump?”

Woman: “It wouldn’t hurt.”

(While I sit in the passenger seat of our car and look up coupons, my husband tries to get the truck going. After several minutes of attempting, it’s proven that the battery is truly dead, and the woman goes inside to wait for her ride. Meanwhile, I’ve successfully found a coupon that will get me my larger dosage for 50% off, making it much more affordable. We go back inside and show it to the pharmacy tech, who enters it into the system.)

Pharmacy Tech: “All right, that’s going to be [much more affordable price].”

Pharmacist: *interjecting from behind the tech* “If you can get your doctor to write you a prescription for one and a half of the larger dose, it’ll be cheaper, too, and you can just split the pills in half.”

(My husband and I agreed that it was probably karma working for us that day. We still go to that pharmacy every time we need a medication and try to pay it forward every chance we can.)

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Seize The Moment

, , , | Hopeless | September 1, 2016

(I have epilepsy and on the days when I have breakthrough seizures I have difficulty sticking with one train of thought. To avoid an extremely confusing lesson, I just tell my students that we’ll be watching a movie. One student has had my class before and knows I don’t like to show movies this early in the year unless I have a sub.)

Student: “Are you okay?”

Me: “I’m fine. Just breakthrough seizures.”

Student: “Oh, you have epilepsy? Are we doing anything to trigger them? I know [Friend]’s seizures are worse when he’s stressed.”

Other Students: *after hearing him* “Yeah, what can we do to help?”

(Keep in mind that this was the fourth or fifth day of school and only Student #1 had met me before. Not one of them had anything derogatory to say and they were willing to completely change their behavior if it was hurting me. The previous semester, when I had a (for me) bad breakthrough seizure, not one misbehaved for the entire day and I was repeatedly offered candy, hugs, and whatever else they thought would help. My coworkers offered to rearrange their schedules to help. These teenagers are the generation that’s supposedly the most spoiled and self-centered, but when it matters they’re the ones that give me hope.)

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Doesn’t Have The Head For This Kind Of Work

, , , , | Right | August 25, 2016

(I work as a dispatcher for my hometown.)

Me: “911, what’s your emergency?”

Caller: “My husband has been lying on the couch moaning in pain all day; I think he needs to go to the hospital. My address is [Address].”

Me: “Okay, an ambulance is on the way. Did your husband eat anything unusual today?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Does he have any allergies?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Where did he say the pain is coming from?”

Caller: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Okay, but did he do anything unusual today that could cause his pain?”

Caller: “Um, well, he shot himself in the head this morning.”

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A Little Punch (Card) Of Kindness

, , , , | Hopeless | August 4, 2016

(That morning I had quite a few things go wrong: my son didn’t want to leave home, my tire pressure light came on, and I didn’t have a chance to eat breakfast or stop for coffee. I’m checking in our first patient of the day, and despite my morning I have a cheerful face for patients.)

Patient: “Do you go to Dutch Bros.?”

Me: “I sure do! It’s my favorite place. “

Patient: “I go there a lot, but I always fill up the punch cards and never use them. Instead I save them and give them to people I find who are nice.”

(The patient handed me a full punch card, which could be redeemed for any size drink you wanted. It truly made my day better, and I greatly enjoyed getting my favorite blended coffee.)

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