Of Headaches & Humor

Never did I dream that I’d ever see my doctor about a headache.  In the light of such things as broken bones and serious diseases, headaches seem so… forgive me here… trivial.  Everyone gets headaches.  Take a couple tylenol and a nap.

But when the pain is searing, maximum doses of combined ibuprofen and acetaminophen don’t help, the headache lasts over a week, and you’re vomitting from the pain, something is very wrong.

While I was busy apologizing for taking up time on such a small issue, the nurse assured me that it it was a legitimate medical complaint.  In fact, when the FNP entered the exam room and discovered that I’d turned off the light, she left the door ajar so that her scribe could use light from the hallway to see.  I appreciated her immediate grasp of the fact that this headache was serious, and bright lights made things worse.  I left with instructions to keep a headache calendar and return for follow-up in a couple weeks.

Obessive sort of person that I am, I went online to learn more about what types of things should be tracked on a headache calendar.  I wanted to include information that would be useful!  Based on what I learned, I created a file on my computer and left it open for easy access and round-the-clock updates.

Laugh all you want, but if you’d ever seen my penmanship, you’d realize that a handwritten calendar would not make things clear to anyone!  For two weeks I entered pertinent information, then when it was time for my follow-up appointment, I printed the calendar.  Thus began a flurry of follow-up appointments for something I’d once considered trivial.

A recent post at KevinMD reminded me of those headache appointments:  Humor Can Be Healing For Both Doctors and Patients.  Headaches aren’t funny at the time, but after things were under control, my calendar sorta was.

At one appointment, my doctor pointed out that the page said, “HA HA HA” all over it.  We both had to laugh.  It was funny.  I loved that my doctor had a sense of humor about it.

Laughing can help.  For some RA gallows humor, check out this thread at Arthritis Foundation’s RA Connect forum.

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Once we were looking for frequency pattern instead of possible causes, I changed formats.