Friday, November 26, 2010

Head O Head, why do you ache? a.k.a. Palak O Palak, kenak kawu mengada-ngada?

It seems that I was once again MIA.  But no, I was not.  I was merely sitting back and listening to what other people has to say.  There's a saying in Chinese (not sure whether it's a proverb or not but we hear it a lot in Chinese), not speaking does not mean that one is mute.  I like it very very much cos it can be used to scold people.  

While I was listening, things happened in my life which were not that important to write about but I have come to discover some things that might be important to you. 

You see, I'm a headachee, if there's even such a word.  The most common one that sticks to me like a stalker is migraine.  For years, it has tortured me and mocked me; crippling me at times.  It has been my shameful cross because it made me seem weak though I am not like that.  And they usually last for days.  At first, Ms. M's visit was occasional but throughout the years they became more and more frequent, sometimes even accompanying Aunt Flo.  

I recognized a pattern, though.  Ms M usually comes before Aunt Flo, which means that it could only be linked to the hormonal changes taking place in my body.  So I went to see a doctor as I also had a fever at the time and as is what usually happens in most public hospitals, I talked to the doctor, telling her of my suspicions.  Then, without so much as taking my temperature or checking my pulse, she prescribed me paracetamol (or in it's more familiar language, Panadol) and a mouth gargle for my sore throat.  That's all.  What, not even ergotamine for my migraine?

I knew it!  I knew it!  That is why I always hesitate when people suggest that I see a doctor.  I knew what they were going to give me.  I only went there to get a written permission for a blood test.  

However, I do find the service in USM clinic much better.  I don't just get paracetamol but for every sickness that I describe, they will interrogate further and prescribe something for it.  Is it because in USM, I'm a valued student while in a public hospital, I'm just a regular citizen with no identification whatsoever so everything is just kept to the basic because why bother, it's all in a day's work and there are a still a lot more patients out there? 

Ugh!  That is why I hate hospitals.  They make me more sick.  Period.  

But, hehe, that was not why I post an entry today.  I found a book entitled Hormonal Headache sitting comfortably on my bookshelf after my visit to the hospital.  Turns out what I suspected was right.  Most of the time, the headaches we suffer are due to the hormonal changes in our body. 

According to the book, there are 3 types of headaches: 
1. Tension-type headaches (common, everyday headache) 
2. Vascular headaches (i. Migraine, ii. Cluster headaches) 
3. Headaches due to organic causes (e.g. brain tumors, aneurysms, or inflammation of the blood vessels)

I have the second type of headache.  Sometimes cluster, most of the time migraine.  Cluster headache is a one-sided headache that occurs in a group, series, or bunch of attacks and usually lasts only a half hour to an hour.  For me, it usually felt like my final half hour alive.  This type of headache causes severe pain, tearing of the eyes, congestion of the nose, and flushing of the face. Both migraine and cluster headache causes throbbing pain which means that they are both painful!  *cry of anguish* 

Even worse, migraine is an inherited disorder.  So you know that if many members of your family has got a migraine, then you probably has one yourself.  Join the club.  

However, these headaches are usually triggered by what we do or eat.  So, hooray, there are ways to prevent it, or at least lessen the frequency.  I read somewhere in a newspaper article before that for some people, their migraines could be triggered by the amount of lipid and salt in their blood.  Therefore, we should avoid activities or food that exposes us to these two things (in abundance la...) like vigorous exercise, starvation, very salty food, etc.

The author of Hormonal Headaches believes that the pain caused during migraine is due to the dilation of inflamed blood vessels in our head.  I only included this part to help you understand the cause of the pain.  

How to prevent migraine? Hm... Let me think.  
I have lived many different lifestyles these past few years and I actually found out that the healthiest (in this case, it means no headache) I have been was after I quit my job and stayed at home, stress-free.  Not really, I wasn't really stress-free but a little stress is essential for healthy living.  During that period, I woke up almost at the same time every morning, drink my detoxifying drinks and do a 30-min aerobic routine.  I watched comedy, did the house chores and indulged myself in my hobby.  I didn't experience any headache (okay, maybe once or twice but very mild ones and I was not bed-ridden) or period cramps.  I get very bad period cramps that I need booze to help me get through it.  Seriously.  
So I'm suggesting that we eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly (just sweat!), be happy and you will feel healthy.  Oh, just for the record, psychology-wise, conflicts do cause migraines as well.  

And while we're still on the topic, I found out from the book that there are actually a migraine personality.  Generally, a migraine sufferer's personality is described as being perfectionist, orderly, ambitious, cautious, and emotionally repressed; that is they suppress their feelings of anger or hostility or inadequacy, which other people express readily through emotional explosions.  By and large, they are also very bright and alert; they talk very quickly and to the point, and they tend to overload or to expect too much of themselves.  But, be warned, the author did not say that everyone who has migraine are like this nor does everyone who are like this has a migraine (wow, suddenly I'm reminded of my Critical Thinking lecturer.  LOL).  It's just that many doctors have reported them in the medical literature.  There is also a theory that suggests a migraine may be an indication that a person is being overloaded and that it is the body's way of telling them to slow down. 

And to complete this type of findings, we need to name a few famous people who also face the same problem so that you and I will not feel alone or down because we are so unfortunate to be a victim of the bully, Ms M.  To name a few, Frederic Chopin (musician), Charles Darwin (who suggested that human beings evolved from apes, patutla palak kawu sakit sebab konflik dalaman - rasa diri macam monyet), Karl Marx (ni siapa tak tau balik Tingkatan 4 atau 5 belek buku Sejarah), Queen Mary I, etc.  

The only explanation that the author could come up with as to why so many famous and accomplished people have migraines is because these people are the doers.  They are very determined to achieve a particular goal at a particular time, and nothing, not even a severe and recurring headache, is going to stop them.  

So people, rejoice if you have a migraine.  Who knows, maybe someday you'll be listed in "Famous People Who Suffered Migraines".  Hehehe, I'm only following Gnet's advice to look on the bright side :p 

1NewMessages: I was happy that the blood test reported normal.  People around me had warned me about the third type of headache which was also the reason why I went to see the doctor - to prove them wrong.