Bad Weather = Bad Migraines

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Mag Illustration by J.Crawley

Spring has always been a mixed blessing for me.  Along with all the changes in weather, from the winter cold to the hot late spring, I can have many days of migraine.  When I was a student it often left me stranded at school unable to get home or even have the strength to walk to class.   As an employee I often worried it could cost me my job.  I still work away from home but thankfully not everyday.  I have been laid low for up to 4 days.  Laid low is a gentle way of putting it.  Intolerance to light, smell and strong neck pain are the usual symptoms.

2013 - 5 077RszdThe big weather we have all experienced in North America over the past 5 days has been tragic for our neighbours in the United States and I am personally horrified by the images of devastation.  Here in Ontario we have had some  thunderstorms and flooding.  Luckily I was able to teach last week and didn’t even have to take any pain meds for my head.  I guess I got lulled into thinking I am beyond the big migraines at my age.  They say they diminish with age.   It is true that I have less migraines.  On Saturday I thought I might drive to my parent’s home for a visit but events changed that, luckily.  I would have been stranded.  I started to lose my balance and felt dizzy.  I lay down and I realised I was in trouble.  The heat and the up and down of the weather [high winds and sudden heavy rains] were a backdrop.2013 - 5 080Rszd

Earlier in the spring I had escalating pain from the back of my head, rising to the top as I walked from my bed to the door, quickly doused with pain meds.  This weekend I was almost unable to walk around my home, make dinners, walk the dog, converse, do any of my art projects, or read.  I was taking pain relief every 4 hours.  I walked and talked like someone on a bender.  Today I still have it but I am able to get outside.  Tomorrow I work out-of-town and I am very worried about the long hours driving and standing.  I will rely on my headache meds, taken strategically to avoid any issues on the commute.  Today I will continue to rest when I can.

2012 - 9 217Migraines are exhausting.  A bit like the flu.  When they are over you are worn out – even though you’ve been bedridden.   Years ago I learned that there are many triggers to migraines and learned the ones that affect me.  Weather is a big one for me.  I almost never have any in the winter – none that I can’t squash with a pill.  The month of May is often my least favourite because of the storms – the high and low pressure.  I am a human barometer.   Hydration is a huge factor.  You must stay hydrated and never skip meals completely.  Any stress on the body can cause a migraine one or two days later.  As a young woman my hormones played havoc with these issue as I ate less and was quite dehydrated during menstruation.  Poor posture is also a big deal.  If I have been working and fail to notice my posture, my neck will start to ache and start-up the tension that can create a migraine.  I knew a migraine sufferer who went to a chiropractor to readjust her neck to stop hers’.   Hers were extremely harsh and long-lasting.

So if you are a migraine sufferer the only advice I can give is for each person to try to find your triggers.  Hydration and poor posture are big for most sufferers.  I am not a qualified person to talk about the pain meds available.  I have experimented over the years and I hate pills generally.  I try to take the least harmful and not get carried away with the amount.  To fellow sufferers – good luck.

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You Can’t Go Home Again

The CBC Radio did a very poignant radio show on Sat May 25th on DNTO about how going home to recapture the old is not going to happen.  I was on my way back to my home in Toronto.  I had just left my parent’s home in Guelph and had been visiting our old home just the week before.  Here are some of the photos.

Old Farm - laneway

Old Farmhouse - C1860
Old Farmhouse – C1860

My parents left this place in 2002.  The city has kept it empty.  Vandals broke windows – original windows from when it was built in 1860.  They put a new roof on it last year.  Last year they decided to sell it – no one has bought it.  Inside it has 10″ wide cedar floors and tall windows and large open spaces.  It would have needed lots of work and now with the veranda falling down I’m not sure anyone wants the headache. I remember sweeping the veranda every day – full of brown bats by the way.  The bats kept the bugs down – being right next to a spring.

The original Orchards are gone and the fruit tress my parents planted in 1967 are in bad shape.  The Lilac trees which reached up to my bedroom, now cover the windows.

Old Orchard

Old Orchard

2013 - 5 OldFarmhouse-Lilacs-Orchard 120Rszd

I spent many summer days swimming in the pond – taking my horse for swims as well.  It is still there and the trees and shrubs are almost hiding the house now.

Old Farmhouse - pond

Old Farmhouse – pond

2013 - 5 OldFarmhouse-Pond 110Rszd

You can see the worn out roadway at the old farm and the well-kept one at the new farm.  It may seem strange to you who don’t know this land – as all the farms are the same age and my family has worked them since the early 1800’s.   Here are the dogs off on their adventure to the old farm.  The New farm is just south of the Old Farm – the land flows downwards so the new place looks down to the old and the city of Guelph.

New Farm - laneway

New Farm – lane-way