Friday, February 13, 2009

Migraine: Make It Easy on the Family

I found a series of videos sponsored by Zomig about planning ahead. I tried this medicine, but determined that it was not right for my migraines. Even though this series is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, the information contained here is priceless.

The video below is about dealing with family. This one hit pretty close to home. I have been trying very hard to make each moment with my kids, and wife, as positive as I can. Everyone in my life is affected by my migraines. I need to remember each of these five things as my family and I cope with this illness; communicate, make peace, stick to routines, love them, and have an emergency kit.

These things are a little different for me; my family is made up of adults. My youngest is 15 and she is much wiser than her age, and my other two are in college. In my communication with my family, I try to keep my pain out of my conversational voice. Too often, the pain in my voice seems as if I am mad at the one I am talking to. My tinnitus doesn't help. I sometimes talk too loud, because I can't hear my own voice over the buzz in my brain. My family may take the loudness in my voice to mean, I am mad at them. I need to always communicate my true intentions and feelings.

Making peace, for me, means retreating to my lair. While at the same time, not disturbing the other activities in the house. If I need to go lie down, I just excuse myself and go. The rest of the family knows that I am in pain and they seem to turn down the volume without anyone having to ask (or decree).

Sticking to routines is very hard when my ability to participate is so sporadic. For me, establishing routines for myself helps to survive the daily headaches that have plagued me for so long. I try to go to bed at the same time each night, and wake at the same time each morning. I take my medications at the same time each day. I need to implement a work out regimen that I can keep on a continual basis. Making sure that my inability to participate does not affect the routines of the rest of the family is just as difficult. We incorporate extra time into preparation for our day, in case dad wakes with a headache or has had a headache all night (or all day, or all night and day). The rest of the family works hard at keeping to their own routines despite me.

I love my family. I tell them how much every day. We have little rituals that we use to tell each other how much we love them. Saying, "So Much", in my family will result in a kiss on the forehead. It's a tradition that we have had for a long time, and those two words mean a lot more than "I Love You". I never leave or let my wife and children leave home without telling them that I love them.

Having an emergency kit means two different things to me, the tangible and the intangible. I have a toolbox of items, some of which are intangible. Some of the physical items that I keep prepared are ice packs, medications, and a quite room. The intangible items include a positive attitude, relaxation techniques, and hope.

Making plans is important. I have plans for how to deal with each migraine. As the pain level increases, so also, does my steps and tools for dealing with it. My family makes plans for themselves that do not require them to be at the mercy of my headaches. If dad can participate, fine. If not, I know they are thinking about me and miss me.

Especially when they return with a chocolate milkshake.