Managing migraines by managing blood pressure and heart rate

I guess I have abnormally active brain cells πŸ˜‰

So, if migraines are vascular — as I’m told they are — and (in my case, anyway) they develop when my heart rate is elevated… then might it be possible to manage them and calm them down, by managing my heart rate and/or blood pressure.

Interestingly, my blood pressure doesn’t seem to bring them on when I am exercising. It’s when my heart rate gets up there. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened in a while. My headaches have been pretty chilled out, actually.

Perhaps due to cutting back on coffee, as well as stretching more.

Anyway, I’m really practicing lowering my heart rate, as well as my blood pressure, on a regular basis. And it seems to be helping.

Just this morning, there was an early knock on the back door — really loud. It startled me, because we rarely get any guests who come to our back door. And the knocking was really loud. I wasn’t yet dressed, so I threw on some clothes and ran downstairs. My heart was pounding — it was still early, and I wasn’t yet warmed up for the day.

Turns out, a workman had the wrong house. He was nice enough, but my system was still on hyper-alert. And all of a sudden I got a splitting headache.

After I pointed him in the right direction, I went back upstairs and did my controlled breathing. That throbbing behind my eyes was starting to set in, which worried me. So, I breathed slow and steady. My system was full of adrenaline — ready to fight — and I needed to back it down. I checked my heart rate and BP, and my BP was fine — 110/76 or thereabouts. My heart rate was 109. And I know it was going faster than that, when I was running downstairs. I did some more breathing, and my BP stayed about the same, while my pulse went down to about 97. Progress. I put away the blood pressure cuff, and just chilled out, breathing slowly and steadily. Before long, the headache subsided from an 8.5 to a 5… and it’s been slowly decreasing since then. I imagine breath filling my head, expanding gently and then washing the pain away… and it seems to help.

So, for now, I’m hopeful that I can eventually clear the headache and just have a good day.

I’m supposed to get the offer letter for my new job today, and it’s pretty exciting. Then they will need to get me into the system and finally approved (probably with a background check), and I can give my notice by the end of the week.

Then the final countdown starts… and the transition to my new chapter in life begins.

Onward

Blood pressure and heart rate – what’s the connection?

I checked my blood pressure along with my heart rate while I was exercising today. You can see a summary of my findings here: http://www.slowmyheartrate.com/an-interesting-connection-between-my-pulse-and-blood-pressure/

Basically, my BP went pretty low, while my heart rate is up. That has interesting implications for the whole headache thing, because if migraines are triggered by high BP or vascular issues, then if my BP actually goes down while exercising… WTF? Why the headaches?

It may be moot, because I can actually control my heart rate with controlled breathing, but it’s still a conundrum.

In related news, I tried Ruckpack the other day, and on an off chance, I checked my blood pressure within an hour after I drank it, and my BP was108/46 with a pulse of 64. That is very low for me — especially the 46. So, I did some controlled breathing and got myself back to 113/56Β  with a pulse of 59. I wonder if Ruckpack has that effect on me — I’ll need to do another test.

Anyway, I’m running late for work, and I have a lot going on in my head. Lots to think about. Lots to do. I had a restful weekend, overall, and I’m looking forward to this week, with only two standing appointments I need to keep.Β  Sweet.

I’ll need to do some more experimentation on Ruckpack.Β  Buy some more and see where it takes me. It could be I can’t tolerate it, and if so, it might be good to let those folks know about the effect it has on me. Because it might have the same on others.

Then again, I am an odd creature at times, so I’m not one to judge the rest of the world by.

Still, it’s worth looking into.

mother dementia temper

Source: Clinton Steeds

So searched one of my readers yesterday. Three words that say a whole lot.

My guess is that someone’s mother is starting to fade, cognitively, and she has been blowing up at them…. and they’re trying to decide what to do — to keep coming around and visiting/helping mother, or to slowly distance themself from her tirades and protect what sanity they have left in life.

One can hardly blame them.

I think it’s particularly difficult, when you’re an adult child, you have plenty of responsibilities already, and you are keenly aware that you don’t have tons of time left on the planet to just enjoy yourself. It’s hard, having a parent who’s declining. You don’t want to just “dump” them, but you also need to have a life. It’s an impossible quandary, from which no one escapes unscathed.

I haven’t been thrust into the midst of that terrible What To Do With Mother/Father quandary, just yet. And it’s a good thing. I’m just now starting to really enjoy my life. After 40-some years of confusion and some pretty tough times, I’m coming out of a long, dark tunnel into light.

About the last thing I want or need (selfishly, perhaps) is a parent in decline who is my responsibility in some way or another.

I am indeed blessed. For the time being. And I’m savoring the moments of blissful normalcy while I can.

Because you never know when something unexpectedly awful will come ’round the corner. And then the recovery starts all over again. Some kind of recovery or another. Maybe it’s physical. Neurological. Emotional. Or just plain logistical. Terrible stuff happens. We all know that. What we don’t know is whether or not we’re going to survive it, the next time.

The odd thing is, sometimes we have a much clearer view of our difficulties in advance of them, as well as afterwards. While we’re in the thick of things, we can get so focused on just dealing with what’s in front of us, we don’t realize what a big chunk the situation is biting out of us. We’re intent on survival — pure and simple. Only later, do we fully realize just what a steep price we paid for our survival. And then the post-traumatic stuff sets in, with you feeling awful and inadequate and jumpy and itchy, ready to leap out of our skin at the drop of a hat, or pick up a stick and go racing down the street threatening anyone who looks at you the wrong way.

Kind of like

mother

dementia

temper

How’s that for dysfunctional haiku?

And so our lives unfold. We value our ties with the ones we love. We see those ties unravel. And we lose it over the littlest things. In the midst of it, in the thick of it, we shore up our resolve and tell ourselves we’re Good People who mean only to Do Good, chasing our gumption with a stiff shot of the hard stuff or a strong helping of whatever rationalization fits us best. We’re so irreversibly human, so fraught with limitation and trepidation. Yet, somehow, we continue to Do Good — or at least intend to.

And we mourn the missed chances, the lost causes, the opportunities we now value but passed up before. We shed a few tears into our pillows before falling asleep, we brush the tears from our eyes as we drive home from appointments with care providers and experts whose primary purpose is to help us and our loved ones through the day. We ask for help. Or we turn offers away. We do what people do — strange, inexplicable things that somehow serve to dull the pain of daily existence.

mother

dementia

temper

None of it seems to make much sense, some days. And yet, we go on. We continue. We put one foot in front of the other. We double-tie our shoelaces so we won’t have to stop too often to re-tie them… so we don’t trip over a shoelace.

We mourn for Haiti. And Louisiana. We rue the dark schmutz on the Gulf coast of Florida. We rail against The Powers that refuse to let good-hearted citizens save sea turtles and pelicans. We watch for the inevitable lawsuits that may — just may — dispense a version of justice in this terribly unjust, benzine-fumigated world of ours.

mother

dementia

temper

And part of us doesn’t blame Mother Earth for throwing all that oil up on the shores during storms and hurricanes. Because we’re the ones who loosed it from Her deep, to begin with. Part of us doesn’t blame the birds for just dying — who could hold up under that terrible dark weight? Part of us loves Tony Heyward for giving us a single figure on whom we can fixate the full brunt of our anguished disgust. Tar and feathers is for BP execs, not endangered species.

Or so we would like to think.

It’s all so fragile, isn’t it? Our connections strengthen, then fray and dissolve. The small chirping creature in the woods outside our living room window pips melodically… then starts to shriek, and then goes silent. A tree comes down and the electricity goes out, and someone slips in the dark, hits their head, loses a part of themself in the process. A certain part in a car fails, an accident happens, and the driver is injured invisibly… for a few months, till their life starts to come apart at the seams for no apparent reason.

mother

dementia

temper

Google soothes, as only Google can.

The comfort of small things

Source: darkpatator's photostream

Looking at all the pictures of fouled water and dying birds and fish, I find myself in serious need of an image of clean water. Unspoilt by the complex, all-too-human machinery of greed.

I seek solace in small things — the shafts of light beaming through a break in the clouds, lighting up the pollen-filled air… saving a beautiful little moth that took up residence in my coffee cup overnight, and watching it fly out over the back yard… stopping to watch the deer that ran across the road a couple of hundred yards down from my house, to make sure it’s heading safely back into the woods… the feel of my body unwinding and uncoiling after a long day hunched over the computer… Β a cool breeze wafting across my aching body as I drift off to sleep… The sound of an owl hoo-hoo–hoo-hoo-ing Β in the distance.

Great wailing and gnashing of teeth… this British Petroleum Gulf oil spill catastrophe is so horrific, I’m surprised the people responsible for it can show their faces in public. I’m surprised they are still in the positions they’re in. And I’m surprised that more individuals are not seeking retribution.

The lawyers have been called out, of course. That’s another piece of all-too-human machinery that’s become part and parcel of our collective experience. Someone, somewhere will be seeking retribution. They already are. It just surprises me that the response hasn’t been more explosive. And more personal. After all, someone in power must have explicitly said that any fault-finders on the rigs who complained about unsafe conditions would have to be sacked. Rig workers, from what I understand, don’t scare that easily. It must have been a powerful force that shut them up, and cost us all so much.

I guess folks on the ground are just trying to fix what they can when they can.

There will be time for rage later, when it’s clear that no more can be done under the circumstances, when the battle fatigue starts to wear off, and the reality of the situation starts to sink in. And it doesn’t go away.

I don’t envy any of the BP bosses. Just like I don’t envy the money managers who sank all their clients’ funds into Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme.

It’s all coming home to roost, now. I just hope we can survive it.

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