Me at every check up, “I get headaches a lot.”
My doctor, “How much is a lot?”
Me, “I don’t really know, maybe a few a month?”
My doctor, “How long do they last? How do you treat them?”
Me, “I’m not really sure. Sometimes a little while, sometimes a day. I take over the counter pain medicine and caffeine and sleep.”
It’s really no wonder that my doctor hasn’t really been able to help me with my headaches. They’re nasty and often and I never track them enough to know how much how bad how long to help her help me. I’ve tried to watch for what causes them. I’ve given up drinking beer and wine a few times, thinking maybe that was it. It wasn’t. I’ve gotten more sleep. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve treated my every-season allergies more consistently. That seemed to help at first, then didn’t. I tried a prescription migraine medicine, but only took it once because my pill aversion is stronger than my headaches. So I just keep getting headaches. They ruin weekends. They ruin trips. They ruin mornings and evenings. They sometimes linger. Headaches are the worst.
And yet I keep ending up at the doctor’s office with nothing to say.
Because what do I think? In those 15 minutes, I will remember all the headache details? I won’t. I never do. Ask me about my kid’s scratch on her face, though, and I can tell you a story with full detail. Ask me about her baby milestones and that 18 month appointment where they asked about her communication. Spoiler alert: Roozle had a lot to say.
I kept notes for her, though. I searched what was expected at each appointment and made lists of the milestones she was meeting and the ones she wasn’t. I wrote down my concerns and questions. And I brought it all with me. Because as a new parent, you make those 15 minutes with a pediatrician cover an hour’s worth of child health and wellness and all the things in between.
Last week, Roozle and I were at her latest wellness visit (pro tip: if you get lazy about scheduling your April child’s wellness visit, you’ll end up with yearly visits in the summer and she won’t ever have to miss school), and her beloved pediatrician told us she’s moving. OH NO. This one was Riley’s THIRD pediatrician in 8 years and goodness I don’t want to do this again.
Then I realized that my own new doctor sees kids! So I moved her. And now I have no excuse. Because when I walk in with 14 pages printed from Doctor Google for my kid’s appointments, you know that same doctor will expect me to be as prepared for my own. I’m done treating my own health as somehow less important than my kid’s.
I’m starting with these headaches. According to the neurologists Dr. Robert G. Kaniecki and Dr. Stewart J. Tepper, the most important focus of headache tracking is threefold: time, symptoms, and impact. This is where I go terribly wrong, as I spend nearly all my headache focus on triggers—trying to just prevent them—and I consistently fail. And apparently, all headaches aren’t the same. Untreated migraines last 4 to 72 hours. Migraines are accompanied by nausea and/or light/sound sensitivity. And for migraines to be considered chronic, headache symptoms of any kind need to show up 15 or more days a month. In order to know any of that, you have to keep track. And sometimes wrap your noggin in a blanket and sleep for a day. Because headaches are the worst.
Time, symptoms, and impact. That’s it. If I can keep track of that in a note in my phone, I can let my doctor do the rest.
If you suffer from horrific headaches like I do, learn how to tell your story and take this survey to be entered to win up to $1,000 in prizes because prizes make everything better.
This post is sponsored by Med-IQ and supported by an educational grant by Teva Pharmaceuticals. All opinions are mine, and Roozle’s. She has so many opinions.
Mornings are hard for grownups. Mornings are hard for kids. Mornings are the worst, really. And I need the smallest person in the house to brush her teeth and get herself dressed and omg why do I have to say these things over and over and over every morning. SOS.
“How many times do I have to tell you…”
“Ooooh Apa you hate it when people say that to youuuuu.”
Mornings with a kid were making me into the person I don’t want to be. So I started leaving her notes.
Everyone loves notes.
The notes were great. The notes worked. But then I had to write notes every morning. Because if I didn’t, the kid would be reading for an hour and not dressed and would never ever eat a single morning thing.
The notes got an upgrade to something more permanent. Because mornings are always the worst, but we don’t have to ALSO be fighting about the regular stuff in between.
I might need to make myself a fancy list. Maybe then I’d eat something more than a gallon of coffee. Maybe.
“Can you always tell when someone is queer?” She hesitated, and nearly not finishing the question. We sat at a window seat for dinner overlooking the busy street. Provincetown on Memorial Day is what queer looks like, I wanted to reply, as we were surrounded by drag queens and rainbows and poodles in tutus. It was her first time there, and she was starting to understand. And along with that understanding, she was beginning to piece together the stereotypes that go with all of it, and the problematic erasure that comes along for the ride.
I’m not going to tell my kid about the bombing, this time. And yes it’s the privilege of being unaffected enough to not have to, I know. After the Boston Marathon bombings here, I know the other side of that, too.
I know all the reasons to tell her. I’ve written some of them here before, but this time feels different. Too close to her childhood, maybe. Too close to her understanding that those were kids just like her. Too close to why is everything so terrifying.
I’m scared a lot of the time. She will be too, soon enough, I imagine. But she doesn’t need to be yet.
I don’t want to tell her. And if she finds out and asks more? This time, I’m keeping it simple. Vague even. Maybe for her. Maybe for me. This time is too many times. This time is too much. This time shouldn’t be again.
I’ve turned off the radio. I bought a subway pass for the week and left the car at home. I don’t want to hear about it. Let’s go to the playground. Let’s take the way too old dog for a way too long walk. Because being a part of something bigger sometimes starts in the neighborhood.
This time, I don’t need to know every detail. I’m not going to solve the world’s problems by scrolling through Twitter. I don’t need to process or wonder or hear any of it to know that this, again, is devastating. I don’t need to tell my kid and I don’t need anyone to tell me. Not this time. I can’t do it this time. This time is just too many times. There’s nothing left to say.
This post is sponsored by WeeSchool, the all in one parenting app from birth to age 3. All opinions and stories are mine, though. Because Roozle. Download the WeeSchool App here by June 1, and you can register for free, lifetime access to all premium WeeSchool content and features.
“How old is she?”
“Oh! Is she walking yet?”
She doesn’t stop for a picture as much as she used to. She rolls her eyes more when I start a conversation on purpose to teach her some kind of lesson. She argues. She responds to all things with, “My body, my rules.” This is 7 and a half. This is second grade. This is new, as all childhood phases are. Because this is growing up. And sometimes, this is a challenge. Mostly for me. My parenting tricks don’t work anymore. Especially the ones for bedtime. Sometimes nothing works except independence. Except letting her sort it out. Except showing up to check in, setting super clear limits and expectations, and always following through with all of it. Parenting is still a lot of work. Parenting is still this imperfect game of having a strategy and also figuring it out as we go.