Monday, April 03, 2006

Town & Country (or Why I Love Robax Platinum)

Spent the weekend out of town with my boyfriend, visiting his Mom in the country. The quietly rolling terrain of Calgary gives way to prairie as you travel north-east. The 3h drive might be boring to some, but David and I appreciate the little details, can talk endlessly about nothing, and savour silence in each other's company.

On the drive, we spotted the following: a big black dog hunting in a vast, barren field (David missed this); a coyote standing alone in a equally vast but grassy field; a couple of herds of deer doing their thing; several sets of Canada Geese in chevron flight (thanks Joni); some rather large roadkill; many, many head of cattle on various acreages; a herd of buffalo; a hawk flying-then-soaring-then flying; a flock of tiny birds that flew like a school of fish over the highway; a pair of lost ducks arguing over directions (this way, no this way); a regal grey owl atop a telephone pole; horses and more horses; miles of railcars lined up on abandoned tracks waiting for salvation; long lines of freshly dug earth for planting new pipelines; plenty of farmers driving slowly.

The weekend was restful, sublime: a long Saturday drive in the country checking out dying Alberta farm towns; antique shopping; a Pep bar; bison-burger eating at lunch (I had the black bean chili); a supper of home-made asparagus risotto and to-die-for asian pork by my gourmet, David; apple pie courtesy of David and his Mum; a photo shoot with Lizzie the dog using the Ansel Adams black-dog-enhancing zone technique; long sleep-ins both days while David and Mum chatted up a storm in the kitchen; difficult sudokus; half of Lynn Truss's book "Eats, Shoots & Leaves", on punctuation, which is proving I'm not as smart as I thought I was.

Headache-wise, it wasn't great. Not until I re-kindled my love affair with Robax Platinum, a double-dose muscle relaxant with some ibuprofen thrown in. I've used it for a ages, but usually only at bedtime when my muscles are frozen knots and threaten to prevent sleep. I rarely take it in the daytime since it's not *sedating* really, just stupefying. So if I take it at the office, I end up sleepy and furry-headed. And usually still sore. But I awoke in such physical pain, emanating from my 900-year old neck and back on Saturday, that I popped one wistfully before the drive. An hour found the target! I was in heaven, or at least comfortably seated in a minivan. I felt positively blissful for most of the remaining day. I felt calm and relaxed, rested, comfortable in my body for a change. The headache dissipated with the fog. What a gift. I feel good so rarely that it's euphoria when I do. And the quiet countryside drive added to the allure. So I will keep the memory of this day for a long time to come, because I fear I won't be able to duplicate this experience on my next try. Nothing ever works twice. So I will save it for bedtime, and the odd day when I feel optimistic, and you never know, it may work again.

Painkillers don't work for me. I've tried the usual OTC's Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aspririn. I won't use Excedrin because of the caffeine and the risk of rebound. And Tylenol 3's never worked; the first time I got them I ate them like candy. Which reminds aspirin overdose causes tinnitus.

So I go through my days with nothing to do but sit out the pain. After 9 years, I've given up the drugs, given up nursing myself with hot packs and cold facecloths. Now I just white-knuckle it through my days. But once in a while I get lucky and a quick fix works. I haven't tried the migraine drugs because my neuro says I don't have pure migraine, but he gave me some Maxalt to try next time I get a whopper. He said it would tell us if I have a migraine component. I think I do because sometimes the pain is brutal and it gets one-sided over my eye, or I feel it worsening when I stand up, and have vague nausea at times. But I read the warnings on the Maxalt and think I'd rather have the headaches than the side effects, like feeling I am suffocating, or that my chest is constricted and I can't breathe. I may take it when I get desparate one day soon. But for now, I will keep on with the other stuff...the sleep schedule, the physio, massage, Mg supplements, pacing, self-management (being happy when you achieve nothing with your day(s), and making as few waves as possible in my life.


  1. Dear Wind Lost,

    That you had a day in which the Robax Platinum worked is such a blessing for you. I guess I've forgotten that these things were hit and miss, with emphasis on the miss. I just wish that there was something I could do to make you feel well all the time. Little things like shopping or cooking or whatever may help keep you comfortable to a minor extent, but what can be done about the pain apart from sleeping? I dunno. All I know is that we'll do all we can to make your world more functional, and help you derive some semblance of normalcy from it all. Poor, poor darling !

    ssszzzzzzzh !

  2. Hi Wind Lost!

    Great blog so far!

    I do take the Maxalt, and I have found, that as long as I don't take them within a couple of days of each other, I don't get any side effects. It doesn't hurt to try one? Also, if you do decide to try one, remember that they are most effective within the first hour or less of the symptoms coming on.

    I tried acupuncture, and didn't get much relief. Now I'm trying massage with acupressure. It seams to be helping somewhat, not a cure, but it gives me a day or two without headache, which is better then nothing.

    Good luck!

  3. What a beautiful drive, thank you for describing all that!

    I understand that euphoria, all too well!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your story. We just came back from a trip through Canada, and saw amazing animals, including wild sheep, that look like goats, and even moose. My back has serious pain and I found that Robax platinum really helped. Its hard to find in the US but recently have been ordering through Just like you, my back feels like its 900 years old, but the Robax makes me feel a spry 92. Well, at least 80% better :) Hope you feel better too.