I am on a lot of medication, and recently I have been re-evaluating what I am on, why I am taking the medication, and if I STILL need to do so.
I was able to wean off two medications, and cut the dosage in half of another medication. This made my kidneys very happy, since they have to filter all these substances.
I have suffered from migraine headaches for as long as I can remember. Even as a kid I remember having headaches, and hiding behind a door because my dad wanted to wrap a vinegar-soaked rag around my forehead to help with the pain. (That was an old Italian remedy.) Now I understand that the smell probably would open up the sinuses if they were blocked and probably WOULD relieve SOME pain, IF I had a sinus headache.
I finally mentioned to my doctor that I suffered from migraines after she questioned the result of a blood test showing some strain on my kidneys. She couldn't figure out what was happening until she said, "The only thing that could cause this test result is if you take a LOT of ibuprofen. Do you?"
I laughed a little and said, "Are you kidding? I take them like candy!"
"Why?" She asked.
"Because I have headaches all the time. Migraines."
She couldn't believe that in all the years I had been seeing her, that I never once mentioned it to her. I have no idea why not. I think because it was a way of life with me. A new day, a headache. That's what I was used to. The record was 17 days in a row with a headache. I just wanted Jim to cut off my head. I think at that point he was tempted to do so. I'm sure I was not pleasant to live with!
The doctor put me on a prophylactic dosage of Topamax, which I take two times a day. This usually prevents migraines, or headaches of any kind, from happening. If one should happen, then I take another special pill within 20 minutes or so at the onset of the headache. This pill does wonders.
I have been on Topamax for years. How many years? I don't know. More than 8 years. 10? 12? I can't remember.
And therein lies the problem.
Topamax has several side effects. One large one is memory loss. Topamax has been nick-named "Dopamax" because it makes people "dopey".
I know that being forgetful comes with getting older. Everyone I talk to tells me that they, too, have had times that they've forgotten someone's name, or where they put things, etc. I feel that I am worse than the average person my age when it comes to memory loss. Is this due to being on Topamax? Probably.
I decided that I would try to wean myself off of Topamax. How do I know if I still needed it? Last Friday I started with half the dosage. By Friday night I had a migraine. We were away from home, by my daughter's house, and I had packed that special "pill" with me. I took it and my migraine was gone by the next day. Saturday I went back to my full dosage of the medication.
We had a wedding to go to in Iowa which was another 3 hour drive. I had reserved a non-smoking hotel room in advance, but when we got there, I found out that it was on the second floor. The hotel had no elevator (we're talking Super 8 here), and stairs and me don't agree. I asked if there were any rooms available on the first floor and the clerk found one and switched us. But she neglected to inform us that it was a smoking room. IF she would have told us that, believe me, I would have CONQUERED the stairs!
We were only in the room about 45 minutes before we had to leave for the wedding. The smoke smell didn't hit me, it just smelled closed up and, well, smelly. But when we came back from the wedding, it DID smell smokey. I thought I wouldn't be too bothered by it since I wear a CPAP mask connected to a machine. (You might wonder why I didn't demand another room. I assumed that the hotel was booked because when we pulled up, I saw a couple sitting in their car, the dome light on, while the woman was shuffling through papers. It looked like she was looking for other hotels in the area.)
WRONG. All night I felt like my head was in an ashtray. The pillows smelled of smoke, and even though my CPAP machine has a filter, I smelled smoke. I was very, very sick with a full-blown migraine the next morning.
I had no more "special" pills with me (I usually only carry one since it is so rare that I get a migraine!), so I had to suffer all the way home - which was a five hour drive! Nothing worse than being sick when you are in the car, and light and sound bother you!
We finally arrived home, I popped a pill, and went straight to bed. Two hours later I became human and surfaced.
Today I awoke with a slight headache again. Three headaches in four days. That is not good.
This is what I learned.
Don't fix what isn't broken.
Don't f*ck with the headache medicine!
I'd rather be dopey than walk around with a migraine.
So if we should meet on the street, don't take offense if I don't remember you. Just reintroduce yourself, okay?