My recent crankiness, unreliableness and remoteness can all be put down to one cause:
I am like a full on headache-monster. With angry red smoke billowing from my nostrils and everything.
The latest spate started in about October. It’s now July. I am demented. My gut feeling is that it was a sinus infection that set it all off. I don’t go with my head feeling anymore. It tends to lead me down the path of confusion.
I got a cold. A regular cold. As did most of the members of my family. Except, everyone else was blowing their noses and, you know, just generally increasing the value of tissues. Where as, I, only had a slight sore throat and sneezed a couple of times.
Everyone rejoiced, “Mum is fit and well!”
But I panicked, somewhat. I increased my inhalers and bought shares in Sinupret. Because, from past experience, I’m well aware, if it doesn’t stream out of my nose like a gushing river then it either clogs up my lungs or my head.
I continued to breathe easily but I stopped thinking straight.
I shoved sprays up my nose. Washed Sinupret down with gallons of water and rubbed peppermint oil on my temples and forehead.
The latter sometimes served as a welcome distraction, as the oil has a nasty habit of running from the aforementioned forehead into the eye.
And that burns baby.
Enough to make you forget you ever had a headache.
But it lacks longevity. So, it’s by no means a cure.
I fought on with nose showers and steam inhalations and raw garlic.
I am a truly horrible patient. I hate being ill. It stifles my get up and go. And without my get up and go, I’m a right old mess.
So I battled my ‘cold’ and I won. But soon enough I realised that I’d only won a battle and not the war.
I apparently got attacked by one cold virus after another and it seemed like my sinuses got more and more stuffed and the company who make Sinupret had to weaponise me with stronger, more kickass versions of their product.
I knocked back painkillers like an addict. Though I wondered if they did any good at all.
I saw doctors, of course.
They cheered me on in my endeavour and handed me prescriptions that made no difference. At all.
So, I visited a specialist in June, she smeared cold, slimy gel all over my cheekbones and my forehead and told me she could see nothing. At all.
Apart, that is, from a large cyst in the sinus cavity which she reckoned would not be responsible for such continuous pain.
She informed me that there are cavities she was unable to see with her machine and that I would need an MRI.
I asked her for medication. She declined.
I told her Ibuprofen doesn’t seem to help. She said, “No, it wouldn’t.”
We called all the radiologists within 50 miles but none could bang magnetic waves around my head for more than six weeks.
I despaired. I whined. I ordered my husband to learn acupressure from the internet and he, in turn, dented various areas on my head, face and hands. The relief was minute. Even trivial.
I threatened my head, that if it didn’t stop bloody hurting, I would bash it off a wall. It didn’t listen.
There was one other thing that the specialist had mentioned. My neck.
Now, my neck has been a regular source of headaches for me over the years. I’ve repeatedly had physiotherapy. It’s one of the areas I carry my stress, along with my shoulders and my jaw. But also a physio had once told me that the first vertebra in my neck wasn’t sitting correctly, which would lead to me suffering repeatedly from headaches. One of Joni’s friends had been having migraines and had been for a procedure known as ‘AtlasPROfilax‘. Her headaches had been cured but she remained sceptical about the procedure.
For one thing, it costs 220 Euros. That’s £153. Or $238.
But my husband persuaded me.
I was given an appointment, fairly quickly, and my husband drove me there. I had reached the point where I could no longer drive the car. My concentration had gone and I felt like a liability to other drivers.
The first thing that got me excited was the sofa. I kid you not: it was made of recycled cardboard. Here it’s here. Isn’t it brilliant?
It distracted me from my nervousness. For a wee moment. But that was all I needed, because then the physio invited me into his treatment room. I dragged my husband in to assist me with decision making.
During my many years here in Germany I have met many, many doctors, nurses and therapists. But it would be fair to say I’ve never met any quite like this one. He felt, to me, to be more like a salesman than any kind of therapist.
My husband is a pessimist and was also the one carrying the wallet so the holistic ‘healer’ knew he was the one who needed to be convinced.
I was told to stand up and things were pointed out about the way my feet pointed, that one shoulder was higher than the other and the like. If I remember correctly, he also noted that one boob was larger than the other. I’m sure that was the case, because I have a vague memory of wondering how appropriate such talk was. I was living in a land of fuzz and confusion at the time, so I may actually have imagined that part of the conversation.
My husband announced that he couldn’t really notice the minimal difference in shoulder height and that it was regularly the case that one boob would be bigger than the other.
It could be that I attempted to block that last bit out and that is the real cause of my confusion. I am a jealous gal. And I bury my head in the sand about previous relationships my soul mate has had.
The two men chatted on. I was made to lie on the bed, on my tummy, with my legs up in the air. Supposedly a pen was balanced on one of my feet. I turned my head to one side and then the other. My feet moved too, and so the pen was never aligned with the other foot. I didn’t feel anything I just did as I was told and begged inwardly that someone or something would cure my damned headache.
I would describe myself as a realistic optimist. I am an optimist but I also like to be realistic about things. So I glanced around for some sign of science. The healer/physio/car salesman – whatever you want to call him – showed us the bone, called the atlas, which your head sits on and keeps the rest of your spine aligned (or something like that) with one of those plastic skeletons on a stand that doctors have. He told us, when we are born, it’s already misaligned. He told us that is the case for everyone and that everyone needs to have this procedure done.
Now, I know that I told you that I’m an optimist. But this was the moment when my inner pessimist started to kick in. Everyone? He babbled on about evolution.
That was it. That was the science. The remaining 20 minutes or so, he ‘sold’ us evidence of his healing ability by telling us about various local doctors who, along with their families, had come for AtlasPROfilax at his clinic. He even dropped in a few names in order to convince us.
I should probably mention that he did also look at my neck for a few seconds.
I asked him what the procedure entailed and to my horror he pulled out a patented tool, which, I thought looked rather like a poking vibrator, and told us, quite excitedly that this tool vibrates (I wasn’t really surprised by that point) which softens the tissue and muscle around the atlas so that it can move into the correct position, from which it can never move again.
Then he asked us a question, befitting a true salesman:
Do you trust me?
Now had I been fit and well…
Had he had a healthy specimen standing there before him…
Had I not been driven to the point of no return by a raging headache…
I could have stomped on his foot, told him to shove his obscure looking vibrator, yelled at my husband to grab the sofa while I nabbed the very cool plastic skeleton (for educational purposes, naturally). In order to to teach him about the consequences of conning all of those doctors and that 91 year old female patient he told us about. And about the importance of data protection.
I wanted to shout, “Why the hell would I trust you? You just broke medical confidentiality! I would be a complete lunatic to trust you!! I don’t want you anywhere near me with your vibration rotation contraption!!! You just insulted my boobs you cocky scoundrel!!!!”
Instead though, I just said, “Do it!”
I was that desperate.
I can tell you there was nothing soft or soothing about the treatment. My neck was intensely beaten by a pokey vibrator. In fact, in the days that followed it was clear to me that I had some internal bruising.
He made me stand again and strangely one of my feet seemed to stand naturally straighter than before. He did the pen test again and apparently, no matter how I turned my head, my feet stayed in the same position and therefore were always aligned with the pen.
I went to the receptionist who insisted on a cash payment. I was given a receipt from a copy book that could have been bought at any stationers.
Which all, of course fuelled my inner and my husband’s outer pessimists.
But within a couple of days my headache was gone.
Gone, I tell you. GONE.
And it stayed away for about two weeks.
Then I caught a bloody cold again.
But I have a free, follow up appointment in two days. And my MRI is now only just over a week away.
I’m feeling distinctly optimistic.