Tag Archives: Hemiplegic Migraine

The Tribunal Dilema

My PIP “mandatory reconsideration” was a few weeks back now. Ever since I’ve struggled with extreme pain, illness and stress. There have been two huge storms. My niece was born prematurely. I’ve been under such enormous stress from all angles, I’ve just broken down. I’m being tested for CFS/ME. My Hemiplegic (and normal) Migraine is acting up. Don’t even get me started on the Paraesthesia. I’m a wreck, and only getting worse.

Thoughts of a subsequent Tribunal took a backseat. This is not a system that helps those desperately ill, exhausted, crippled, mentally drained and disturbed, or have chronic illness of any kind. This is a system only designed for those who are robust enough to endure it. The hypocritical irony would be laughable if it didn’t destroy so many lives.

Thusly… Now I think it’s just not worth it.

I’ve been asked about it and I’ve thought about it, especially having written my part on the Parliament forum about it. However, how can I justify – and better still, how can they justify – putting myself through applying for a Tribunal, going through the immense stress, strain, pain, anguish, and super-hyper anxiety that would go with it? As one person on the forum put it, the entire thing is barbaric.

However, both the PIP woman and the Mandatory Reconsideration knob lied through their teeth when it came to summarising the case they put forward. How do I let them get away with that? How can I stand by and allow them to desecrate what I endure every moment of every god-damned day? How can I let them be so crass, derogatory, hurtful, harmful, and not put their words and myself in front of a Tribunal?

I printed out the “booklet” for writing up the form for applying to the Tribunal. It’s 35 pages long and just huge. How are people like me, and especially worse, supposed to be able to manage to read that and write up their form? It’s not like the DWP or PIP have people available to assist in writing them out for you… Instead you have to go and hope the CAB has an opening for someone to assist you. Or if you’re like me, write the whole thing out for you too, because [hand] writing is so hard. Way too hard. Typing is hard enough.

I return to Spoon Theory. I like Spoon Theory because it makes sense, it’s logical and it’s about number and not feelings. I am in “Spoon Bankruptcy” right now – if it were a currency, I’d be homeless and living in a box.

I don’t even have the Spoons to even go to the bathroom, I need help with even that now… So what Spoons do I possibly have to concentrate, study, and then write up the Tribunal form… even before the anguish and stress of not only waiting for the reply, but then having meltdown after meltdown worrying about it before I go, more meltdowns after I’ve been, and then more after that as I wait for the result. And no matter the result, I’ll have a meltdown because of it – because at the end of the day, it’s emotionally all too much.

This system wasn’t built for people like me… i.e. the chronically ill. You know, the people it’s there for… We struggle with enough, that’s why we need it. It’s even worse for those with emotional and psychological difficulties and understanding. There is no excuse in making matters worse, making us more ill, by having such a flawed system it punishes those who need it the most. Those who are healthy are the ones who can get whatever they want from it, because they have the physical and emotional capacity to do whatever the hell the system asks them to. We don’t. It’s messed up completely.

Should I take this to Tribunal? Oh, with jingle bells on every toes I should. However, in doing so, I am jeopardising my health, my psychology, my conditions, my family life, my parents’ health (and they’re over 60 now). Do they take that into account when they do this to you? Hell, no. I am torn between protecting what little I – we – have, and doing the right thing.

It’s my very own Kobayashi Maru… and I don’t think there’s any way of cheating in this one…

 

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Silent Suffering, All Alone…

Does the grief ever really go away? The one you feel from all that you’ve lost?

The shame, the humiliation, the degradation, the demeaning secret truth of the life you have to… exist with… it just never seems to become “OK”.

To lose so many of the general functions you were used to your body doing for you, that you took for granted… does that ever really become something that’s really “OK”? You lose so much… I’ve lost so much… It’s not OK. Not even close.

It’s hard to know that the people around you just do not understand what you have to deal with… whilst at the same time so relived about that too. But then… they do and say things without understanding the impact on you, or the extent you have to push yourself to meet their expectations, or their level. What I mean is that they just think “popping out” is just something you can just do. Just like that. Or walking just anywhere they want is just fine, etc. When you live with a chronic illness, when you’re living in a wheelchair, when you sometimes can barely breathe because it hurts so much or your just too exhausted to manage it, it’s not that simple. Not even close. Getting out of bed is nothing to them, but to you, that’s every spoon you have and then some. Then they expect you to do even more.

I run on zero spoons. I do as much as I can on it, from going out for the day, to trying to do something normal like reading or reading, to attempting to make some food (which also requires at least one other person, too), but when they’re then a little tired from it they want “a little lie down”… as if they’ve done so much more than you have, expecting you then to do things for them… that really grates on me, and they do it because, quite frankly, you’re so damn used to it and they’re not. You live with the mind-killing exhaustion of chronic fatigue, so you therefore must be more used to it and are OK… Right? I’m not sure what this logic is, but it’s rather mean – and frankly, either ignorant or naive.

It’s not nice when just getting out of bed was utterly exhausting, then spending your day in your wheels, and your (frankly) grown-up Huggies, having no say over when you go or how, and just about able to stop yourself crying from pain or exhaustion or paraesthesia symptoms, or all the above.

It’s horrid when everybody leaves you behind for their “normal” lives, and look on with distain when you turn up in their lives… You’re supposed to deal with it, but Heaven forbid they do for a day or a few hours. What’s worse, is they make their jusgments without knowing the true extent or details… and they really don’t want to, either. What’s worse than the reality of seeing you is acknowledging the true reality of what you have to deal with. And they don’t want to know that… you know, in case it upsets them. Poor, poor them.

It’s hard so see everyone else in your life get on with being “OK” and you struggle to simply go to the bathroom. As your very basic functions, ones that you don’t even remember living without before, fail terribly and leave you stranded back in those days once again… How can you even look them in the eye with your head held high? Siting in grown-up Huggies pull-ups, or giant-tabbed Pampers, knowing they might not even do the job properly, how in hell are you supposed to have any self-esteem left?

I can barely feel anything from the chest, the lower rib cage, down (including not being able to feel the diaphragm), and thus I’ve been left with less and less control over things – first the legs, then a little bit of the pelvic floor, to having no concept of most of my abdomen, or lower abdomen, and my pelvic floor is barely even a memory anymore. Today, a really bad thing happened in this area and it was extraordinarily humiliating, and overwhelmingly shocking – to be faced with the reality of how far my body has slipped from my own grasp has left me reeling and unable to comprehend where I am (figuratively) in my own self, my life, my entire existence.

I’m hurting inside, but again, there’s no one there who really understands what’s going on… and once again I am alone. How do you even explain? It’s horrifying to you, so what does it evoke in other people? If you’re ashamed, what will they think? You can only imagine they would be horrified. Like you are.

I do not know how to deal with feelings. I don’t like feelings. They’re messy, unquantifiable, horrible, uncomfortable, and usually I can’t even cry (which I don’t like anyway because it makes your face soggy). Right now, I have a lot, and I don’t know what to do with them, how to process them, how to manage to get the hell rid of them, to be honest. I think there’s guilt, maybe shame… There’s definitely sad. Loss. Grief. Reeling and shock. But they all get so very overwhelming, and then I get very confused and upset.

In the last few days, maybe a week or so now (I lose track of the days), my hands have started playing up, and started not working properly. The paraesthesia in them is astounding and so painful. I can’t move them they’re so numb (imagine someone tied your wrists so tight it cut off the blood flow and you have them tied up like that all day). They can spasm so badly they curl up on themselves so tightly, they leave deep nail marks in your palms. They can never open out properly, they’re in a permentant “claw”. It prevents me from being able to do even the simplest thing, and also can prevent me from playing games, or even following a conversation because the sensation (or pain) is so bad there is no more room in my brain for anything else. It makes writing [typing] so hard sometimes that if I manage at all, every word has a spelling mistake at best and is gibberish at worst. It’s emotionally painful to endure, to be honest.

I feel like I’ve been left to rot by the system. Everyone has been less than useless. I’ve just been left to my own devices, and I’m floundering in trying to help myself. The diagnosticians throw me to general services (pain clinic, psych, physio, etc) and discharge me to make their targets look good. Those other services have nothing to  offer except inefficiency and long waiting lists you stay on just to see how inefficinent they are. It’s certainly not to be helped by them.

I’m lost, broken and alone, still trying to find something of myself in all this, wondering if I can ever rise to get the better of it, so I am what is driving me, not this.

 


Physi-Oh… Lordy…No…

The isobars are on the floor again (1000mb tomorrow, and I’m feeling it…).

img_0896I’m wearing arthritic gloves just to type this. My hands are aching horribly (well, they’re crackling, buzzing and being mini-shocked, like their on that electic ball at the science museum, and “clawing”, but “aching” could be shorthand for it).

My legs are even weaker and buzzing and my back in on another planet of wrong – and my abdomen is in constant spasm.

So, in other words, it’s a normal day for crappy air-pressure day. Naturally.

However, what I had hoped for – when that damn physiotherapist finally turned up – was that I would be able to be taught how to help deal with it. To have massaging exercises, or movements, or just help to deal with these day.

You know what I did get? A frickin’ printout that I could (just about) manage 3 of from it. On a really good day. That were already incorporated into my usual practice on my (fun!) DVDs. They could have just saved her time (and damn salary) and just emailed it to me.

stupid-people-shut-upShe poked a couple of times at my leg, asked me to move whatever I could. Then promptly ignored everything I told her and gave me the most basic printout I think she could find, made for people who could move things. It was for stiff and weakened people, maybe older, maybe who have been a little bedridden. It was not suitable for what I had, which was something for perhapse lower-body paralysis or stroke or MS (which is everything that this emulates, and often all at once…). They clearly have nothing specific to Fibromyalgia or Hemiplegic Migraine. It seems they may not even have something for the others either, which is strange and confusing – and entirely unhelpful.

The worst thing is, if they had come when they were supposed to, six months ago, these may have actually been relevant… a little. But now, that ship really sailed. Off into the distance, beyond the horizon, and far, far away…

I’ve done more for myself – found actually appropriate exercise DVDs and a great YouTube yoga video – all of which are both helpful and fun, all from my chair, with some on the floor. I found better stretchy bands than they were going to give me. I have hand weights. I wanted help going further, going forward, with better things, more intensive things. But… no. Just stuff I’d already covered, if I could do it. God only knows what help people with even more debilitating conditions or paralysis get from these people, they just don’t seem to have a bloody clue.

I don’t know whether it’s severely OCD “Heath & Safety” rules that I don’t know about, or whether they’re just idiots, but they’re really not helpful. Just next time, don’t bother me and email the damn printouts instead…

About the only thing I got that was useful was that she confirmed that it was not safe for me to even attempt to walk (and oh, I am so not making that mistake again now…!) – which will be handy if the PIP thing gets awkward again (but I’m fairly sure there will be no lying this time, at least). Otherwise, I’m not sure what use they are to me…

Carry Me

 

 


Better News

The weather is still terrible and the isobars continue to fall… and having checked the weather app, it appears this is expected to continue all the way into July.

Quite typical, really, considering the news I’ve been given today – you know, after the four days of hot weather and nice days we had…

I’m finally getting my chair on Friday (it’s Monday today) – Horrah! The nice lady who had been dealing with this even took the time to say how much she actually liked it (I put some interesting design choices on it) and that all the colours etc went really well and it looked great. So I’m hopeul I shall appreciate it for its practical and aesthetic reasons.

There is a long way to go still to stabilisation, but this is definitely a trophy chievement award along the way.

Three more days until Parole… 😋😎

 

 

 

 


10-11 June 2017

Having spent most of this week under extreme distress because of the weather and distinct lack of isobars, yesterday I ended up in extreme meltdowns and severe hemiplegic paralysis. This is, of course, thanks to the terrible weather inducing a horrible migraine… and that migraine travelling down into my extremities instead of up into my head.

Don’t get me wrong – no one in their right (or even wrong) minds want or prefer that horrific and excruciating migraine headache. Ever. However, that does not mean I have to be pleased with the Hemiplegic Migraine that then takes its place.

The problem also is that – despite knowing I have been experiencing hemiplegia instead of “normal” migraines since I was at least 17 – I still readily forget they still have to be treated the same. Not with medication: I mean in how they’re dealt with.

Today, because of this, I ended up blacking out all day. The closest I can describe it is like being seriously generous with Xanax, or Valium, and you are entirely unable to keep your eyes open. You might come round for a few seconds, but then off you go again. Rather like with General Anaesthetic, after the surgery. It took my mother to point out this was exactly my behaviour with “normal” migraines – and given the long-term stress, the extremely low isobars, the fact I’m under wheelchair-inflicted house arrest, it was obvious this was what was happening again. The severe hemiplegia I suffered yesterday was a testament more than anything to that.

It had now made me realise just how seriously I have to treat this – just like I used to treat my migraines when I was young.

I have suffered from them since I was 8 years old. They became more severe from when I was 10. They really hit their stride between about 12 and 15 – and the fact that was the most stressful time of my life (until now) shows testament as to how much stress is a great trigger for them. The Triptans didn’t turn up (well, in north Wales at least) until I was 17, and they were a godsend… but only for “normal” migraines. In Hemiplegic Migraine they can make them worse, or put you at risk of a stroke. So they’re not really that much help.

What has always been some help is mentality…. Kindness and understanding, allowing yourself the time to go through it and recover without expecting anything more than you can give. The next time this happens, I won’t be so scared. I’m a veteran – even Master – migraine-enduring warrior, so I don’t even have to learn anything new. Just go back to what I know.

It saves an awful lot of time and brain-space, I can tell you.