A Migraine from Medication Overuse Headache

Aug 25, 2018 by

A Migraine from Medication Overuse Headache

I awoke this morning after 14 hours of sleep caused by a migraine from Medication Overuse Headache. That’s what my neurologist calls them.

They’re the result of having been on opioids for 10.5 months as a consequence of what happened to my back after going to a local chiropractor for treatment.

I didn’t know the person who treated me on Friday the 13th, May 13, 2016 didn’t have a license when he walked into the room. That’d come two weeks later. I’m going to let the lawyers figure that out.

There is not a morning still, more than a year and a half later, when the first thought that shoots into my brain is that my back and legs still hurt. That’s because when I move, even slightly, a sharp pain rockets from somewhere along my spine to my brain and screams, “WHAT IN THE HELL!”

It’s chronic pain now. That’s what they call pain after it’s been with you after six months. Chronic pain tends to never go away.

And then there are the migraines. I had a bout of insomnia Thursday night. Friday was insufferable. By 6 p.m. last night I took an olanzapine, what my neurologist has ordered for relief, and went to sleep at 6:30 p.m.  I got up this morning, still woozy, at 8:30 a.m.

It’s kinda hard to live a normal life with the back and leg pain. Throw in the insomnia and the migraines on top. That’s my life now.

The church service I like to attend begins at 8:15 a.m. on Sundays. That’s about impossible to make anymore. Not when my body isn’t functioning on normal hours and within normal tolerances of pain. Yes, I have a pain stimulator on my back, but it also feels like I have a knotted grapefruit of pain around my spine and when the grapefruit moves, I’m in agony.

After so long, people don’t come around to check on me. They don’t call or text either. I get that. Why call and ask when the answer is going to be the same? Though quite honestly, it’d be nice to hear from friends. Claustrophobia is settling in as my neighbor.

I managed to not get addicted to opioids. Hurrah for that. But the long-term effects of what it’s done to the chemistry of my brain seems to have lingered.

The one positive in all of this is I read a lot. I’ve read 10 books so far this month and I’m on book 11, Olive Kitteridge. I consider my reading work because it is helping my writing. Though that’s harder to do these days because I’m not getting out as much so new ideas aren’t getting fed into my brain. Such vicious cycles, all of it.

The past two days I binge watched Amazon’s The Last Tycoon. I read the F. Scott Fitzgerald book in July. Maybe it was June. It’s one of the 33 books I’ve read since May, I know that. Regardless, the TV series was quite excellent, though I am not sure they went far enough in raising the stakes. They sure did a good job of setting up what characters wanted and then depriving them. That part was done most skillfully. And the acting was very good. Phil Collins’ daughter, Lily Collins, is amazingly beautiful and talented. I’m sure we will see her in more roles going forward.

All that said, my head still hurts and it’s 11:11 on Saturday. The pain has been there for more than 30 hours now and I wish I could go to the ER for an IV, but the last time that happened, BCBS said the drug the doctor used to stop it, (the normal migraine cocktail didn’t work) that his use of the drug wasn’t necessary and they then went about denying payment. But I’ve not gotten a bill and had to send them an ugly letter telling them it was the only damned thing that worked so just pay it. Maybe they have. What a mess.

We live in a society full of pain. When I was first referred to a pain specialist after my injury in 2016, the scheduler said they receive 50 referrals a day.

I’m going to go lie back down now. My head hurts too much to do anything else….

 

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale

Aug 22, 2018 by

Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale is one of the best books I have ever read. On Goodreads, it scores a 4.55 out of 5. There are few books out there with a cumulative score that high.

The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah’s fine work, The Nightingale is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

I read The Nightingale having recently read Hannah’s latest bestseller, The Great Alone. A book I reviewed and said there were several issues I had with it.

This was not the case with The Nightingale. The Nightingale far and away is the better of the two books. There almost is no comparison.

Set in World War II France, the story involves two sisters who are at odds with each other following the death of their mother and subsequent abandonment of their father. As France is invaded by the Germans, the older sister, Vianne, remains home with their daughter, Sophie, and is compelled to billet German officers. The younger sister, Isabelle, goes from the country home to Paris to join their father, who is said to be working for the German high command. This disgusts the younger daughter who has decided she is going to resist the offensive Germans. The story then evolves into an account of what each of the three do to resist the foreign invaders in their own ways.

Quotes from the Book

In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are. pg 1

Generally, Madame, the failing of a student to learn is the failing of the teacher to teach. pg 21

Because of them I know now what matters, and it is not what I have lost. It is my memories. Wounds heal. Love lasts. We remain. pg 438

This was not a book I spent a lot of time underlining for great phrases or prophetic insights. But the writing is excellent and the story compelling.

Modern v. Old Frame

This story uses a modern day frame to leap back into the old. Right up until the end, Hannah seeks to make it unclear about who the narrator of the story is–which of the two sisters. She also begins in the story in Oregon, 1995, and then retreats to August 1939. This works. It helps make it so she can hide the identity of the narrator until the end, and then pull the survivors out of the past into the present. And she does it quite well.

Paris

I have never been to Paris, perhaps one day. But what I found the most troubling in my mind was the chronological timeline. What I mean to say is that I have been reading a lot about Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the others of the Lost Generation and their time in Paris–all BEFORE the World War II, in the 1920s and early 1930s. I have that imagery well planted in the visual descriptions of my mind. Given all that, it is hard then to supplant those thoughts with what happens in this book, what happened in real life, to Paris, with the invasion of the Nazis.

Reading The Nightingale truly played tricks with my mind, as in, how could this possibly have happened?!

I think that is the magic and power of reading. Reading history, even if it is fiction.

This makes me all the more understanding of what life must have been like for Parisians when the German tanks came rolling in. And then when the Germans began rounding up non-French born Jews and sending them off.

The way I have done my reading, a totally random act, reading the Hemingway and Fitzgerald stories and accounts of 1920s Paris and then contrasting that with a book like The Nightingale really created a stark amplification for me personally. I am not sure I would have received the same impact had I read The Nightingale first.

Conclusion

I encourage you to read this wonderful book. The writing is excellent. The drama and story is superb and realistic. There weren’t any moments when I jumped out of the story and said to myself, “Come on….” I was under Ms. Hannah’s spell from page one until it ended. And several days after having read it, I still am and probably will be for a long time to come.

 

 

 

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

There There by Tommy Orange 

Aug 21, 2018 by

There There by Tommy Orange

There There by Tommy Orange is one of those profound books that only come along once in a long while.  This is a book that should be considered for a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize. It offers such dramatic insight into the human soul, such I’ve not read but in a few works ever in my life.

There There

There There by Tommy Orange is one of the most profound books I’ve ever read.

The story itself tracks several Native American characters as they eventually make their way through life to rendezvous at a pow wow in Oakland, California in modern times. They’re off the reservation, urban Indians, struggling with their past, struggling with their present and futures all rolled into one. And the stories are rich and real. Life is harsh and the book provides a vision of lives most would never even know exist. I certainly did not realize the struggles characterized in the book. The novel was an eye-opener. The beauty in it lies in that this isn’t a story only for the Native American soul. It is something that matters to the soul in all of us.

Tommy Orange has written a very great book.

Quotes from the Book There There by Tommy Orange

We stayed because the city sounds like a war, and you can’t leave a war once you’ve been, you can only keep it at bay–which is easier when you can see and hear it near you, the fast metal, that constant firing around you, cars up and down the streets and freeways like bullets. pg 9

…nothing is original, everything comes from something that came before, which was once nothing. Everything is new and doomed. pg 11

“We don’t have time, Nephew, time has us. It holds us in its mouth like an owl holds a field mouse. We shiver. We struggle. for release, and then it pecks out our eyes and intestines for sustenance and we die the death of field mice.” pg 36

…the place where she’d grown up in Oakland had changed so much, that so much development had happened there, that the there of her childhood, the there there, was gone there was no there there anymore.” pg 38-9

But for Native people in this country, all over the Americas, it’s been developed over, buried ancestral land, glass and concrete and wire and steel, unreturnable covered memory. There is no there there. pg 39

She told me the world was made of stories, nothing else, just stories, and stories about stories. pg 58

Even the old people in charge, they’re acting like kids. There’s no more scope, no vision, no depth. We want it now and we want it new. This world is a mean curveball thrown by an overly excited, steroid-fueled kid pitcher, who has no more cares about the integrity of the game than he does about the Costa Ricans who painstakingly stitch the balls together by hand. pg 82-3

Being bipolar is like having an axe to grind with an ax you need to split the wood to keep you warm in the a cold dark forest you only might eventually realize you’ll never make your way out of. pg 88

You can’t sell life is okay when it’s not. pg 98

When we see that the story is the way we live our lives, only then can we start to change, a day at a time. pg 112

Jacquie can’t remember a day going by when at some point she hadn’t wished she could burn her life down. pg 152

Secrets lie through omission just like shame lies through secrecy. pg 165

The poor dog was probably just trying to spread the weight of its own abuse. pg 170

To get injured and not recover is a sign of weakness. pg 214

Most addictions aren’t premeditated. You slept better. Drinking felt good. But mostly, if there was any real reason you could pinpoint, it was because of your skin. pg 217

Maybe we’ve all been speaking the broken tongue of angels and demons too long to know that that’s what we are, who we are, what we’re speaking. Maybe we don’t ever die but change, always in the State without hardly ever even knowing that we’re in it. pg 224

Places Featured in There There by Tommy Orange

Oakland, CA, USA
Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Phoenix, AZ, USA

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere

Aug 20, 2018 by

Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere

I recently read Celeste Ng’s best selling novel, Little Fires Everywhere, and enjoyed the book. It is a very well written novel and worthy of a read.

From the beginning, things are happening. There is no set up that takes pages to develop. We dive right in. The Richardson home in the suburbs of Ohio has been burnt to the ground and the kids in the family believe, rightly, that their sister Izzy has set little fires everywhere throughout the house to burn it to the ground. The rest of the book is an explanation of why their sister, who the other kids run down as being strange, weird, disturbed, maybe is the sanest one of the bunch.

Little Fires Everywhere

Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere.

There are some good passages I underlined while reading:

“Did you have to burn down the old to make way for the new?” pg 160

“Rules existed for a reason: if you followed them, you would succeed; if you didn’t, you might burn the world to the ground.”  pg 161

For the benefit of Penguin Press and additional editions, the word “the” was left out of the last paragraph on page 198. “Mia had boarded a Greyhound to Philly, then New York, with one suitcase and clothing and one of THE cameras.”

I also don’t understand why the word “laundromat” was capitalized on each use.

“Like after a prairie fire. I saw one, years ago, when we were in Nebraska. It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow.” pg 295

Characters

This really is a good book. There are more than the usual number of characters to keep up with, but it did not get to be too much. Each of them were unique.

Mrs. Richardson becomes something of an antagonist.

Pearl a victim of the actions of adults in her world.

Moody, also gets caught up in all the drama of his family and could be something more, but in the end, fails.

Lexie proves to be as dishonest as her mother in a different way.

Trip has his own guilt and shame, too.

Then there are the McCulloughs and we see adult self-interests, which over-ride the interests of children throughout the book, are alive and well in this other family.

We have Pearl’s mother, Mia. Running from her own demons and past.

And then we have Bebe, another adult who acted in her own self-interests and who tried to correct her ways.

Conclusion

I liked reading this book. The writing is authentic and real. The story is not outlandish. This is something that could happen. Maybe it has. Celeste Ng has done a good job with this work. You would be wise to pick up this book and give it a read.

 

 

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Aug 16, 2018 by

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

I read The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, a 427 page novel, in one day.

It was that good.

The woman in the window

The Woman in the Window is an EXCELLENT read.

I will say it again, with conviction this time.

Women who are mix alcohol with lots of pills–that should be a literary genre all unto itself. At least in the 2010s.

But in this case, it works. It REALLY works.  And A.J. Finn’s writing, not once in the whole book did I stop to question a grammatical or literary anything. The book is solidly written.

Before the end, I will confess I had figured out who had dunnit and how they were going to be taken out. But that’s okay. It was so late in the game, the reveals were there, hopefully a blind man could have seen them as well.

Books like these are not normally the kind I read, but this one, which has spent a long time on the New York Times Bestseller list, really drew me in and held me. There were definitely some surprises I did NOT see coming. And in all fairness to anyone who has not read the book, I won’t reveal or spoil them.

Sleeping After Reading This Book

I finished the book at about midnight and went to bed. Throughout the night the narrator kept talking to me as I slept. The night’s rest was definitely filled with a new voice. There were things this character and I had in common–IKEA desks and an hourglass that I use when I write. Many times I also write in front of my window. So I connected.

Conclusions

The genre thing about the alcohol and the pills though. It is truly depressing to think that there must be so many woman out there who can relate to this kind of thing that so many books are written about women like this. Just in the past few months I’ve read a couple books that fall into this category. The Ottessa Moshfegh characters definitely.

Regardless, I highly recommend this book. It will hold you from the second you pick it up until you put it down. Though I must confess, the idea that an inciting incident must happen within the first 50 pages or the book doesn’t work, as an agent recently announced at a seminar, doesn’t hold for this book. There is considerable set up. But the thrust of the story doesn’t begin until about page 100. That’s not to say those first 100 pages are lacking. They definitely are intriguing.

 

 

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante

Aug 15, 2018 by

The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante

I recently read The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante and enjoyed the power of this book. I don’t think I’ve read a book yet on my way to 101 works of fiction that is packed with as many powerful lines in so short a work as this one, and there are some great, powerful words in this book. I’ve included a list of the passages I underlined while reading the book for you to soak in.

The Days of Abandonment is an excellent read with incredibly rich language.

I wanted to write stories about women with resources, women of invincible words, not a manual for the abandoned wife with her lost love at the tope of her thoughts. … I didn’t like the impenetrable page, like a lowered blind.  I liked light, air between the slats, I wanted to write stories full of breezes, if filtered rays where dust motes danced. And then I loved the writers who made you look through every line, to gaze downward and feel the vertigo of the depths, the blackness of inferno.  pg 21

The contradictions in the life of a couple are many–I admitted–and I was working on ours in hopes of untangling and resolving them.  pg 31

In this long hours I was the sentinel of grief, keeping watch along with a crowd of dead words. pg 32

…taught as wire digging into the flesh pg 35

Women without love lose the light in their eyes, women without love die while they are still alive. pg 44

Sometimes she gave me the feeling that she didn’t like me, as if she recognized in me something of herself that she hated, a secret evil of her own. pg 52

…You don’t speak to a father who sneaks into the house and leaves no trace of himself, not a hello, not a goodbye, not even a how are you. pg 58

Meanwhile I grabbed Mario, who was turning around with frightened eyes, his nose bleeding, and he looked at me full of terror and astonishment at once. Hold the commas, hold the periods. pg 70

A woman can easily kill on the street, in the middle of a crowd, she can do it more easily than a man. pg 72

A long passage of life together, and you think he’s the only man you can be happy with, you credit him with countless critical virtues, and instead he’s just a reed that emits sounds of falsehood, you don’t know who he really is, he doesn’t know himself. pg 74

We don’t know anything about people, even those with whom we share everything. pg 78

No, I thought, squeezing a rag and struggling to get up: starting at a certain point, the future is only a need to live in the past. pg 92

There was no distance between me and them, wheres the rule say that to tell a story you need first all of a measuring stick, a calendar, you have to calculate how much time has passed, how much space has been interposed between you and the facts, the emotions to be narrated. pg 98

Tricks of words, a swindle, maybe the promised land has no more words to embellish the facts. pg 98

The most innocuous people are capable of doing terrible things. pg 114

We fabricate objects in a semblance of our bodies, one side joined to the other. Or we design them thinking they’re joined as we are joined to the desired body. Creatures born from a banal fantasy. pg 131

Success depends on the capacity to manipulate the obvious with calculated precision. pg 131

What a mistake, above all, it had been to believe that I couldn’t live without him, when for a long time I had not been at all certain that I was alive with him. pg 140

How heavy a body that has been traversed by death is, life is light, there’s no need to let anyone make it heavy for us. pg 146

Not even the TV in one corner, transmitting the latest harsh news on the deeds of men…. pg 157

Translation

This book was written in Italian and translated into English. What I’ve already learned is that there is more packed into the Italian version that does not come across in the English translation. That’s hard to believe given the list of quotes from the book already included above. Elena Ferrante has a command with words and it is beautiful to read.

This is a passionate story. A husband leaves his wife and she is left to pick up the shattered pieces of her life. The book is worth a read. A couple readings, actually. The writing is among the best ever. Truly.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Pin It on Pinterest