If you’re reading this, it means I’ve managed to make my blog sort of work. I ran out of space on my .com WordPress and so have decided to try self-hosting with the .org version. In short, it has been a nightmare. You’d think that exporting XML files from one site and uploading them to another site, would be incredibly simple. But apparently not, because there seem to be a lot of photos missing, and possibly still some posts or pages. If you spot something that looks odd, please tell me because, my God this is weirdly difficult. I don’t think my domain has transferred yet, and when it does I’m not even sure if all my links will still work. I’m not even sure if this will be visible in the mean time, for all I know I’m being a huge idiot right now. Anyway.
So, I can’t remember if I mentioned after my pain clinic appointment that the doctor wanted to refer me to Botox for migraines. I’ve been unsure how it would help with all the wider symptoms, but at the same time I’m happy to try it because migraines have been ruling my life for what will be 2 years in not too long.
I wasn’t expecting the appointment to be the way that it was, though. The letter told us to go back to the pain clinic and see the same doctor. I pictured that I’d roll in there, get jabbed a few times, and leave. But apparently, not.
We turned up to the same place as before, and were told that we should be up on level D. That floor didn’t even have a reception desk, so we went to a staff base. They told us that I wasn’t meant to be up there yet, but they could deal with it anyway so they made me sit in the waiting area.
It was then that I saw the signs for where we were. Short Stay Surgery Unit. Uh oh. There were signs on the walls about stopping phone use at 10pm to avoid disturbing others. 10pm?! There were other notices about staying overnight and having the correct things with you. Uh oh uh oh uh oh.
So, my appointment was not at 12:30 like I was told it was. It wasn’t really an appointment. I was there for 4 hours, guys. Apparently our letters should have said that we would be waiting “for hours and hours” and we should have known to bring food, drink, something to read/ watch, and maybe even overnight things.
Will asked other people in the waiting room, and it turns out they got normal appointment letters like us, all for the same time, 12:30.
That morning, my phone hadn’t charged overnight and was low, but I decided against bringing my powerbank to a hospital. Had I known what was going to happen, I would have brought it, and probably headphones, and reading material, and food etc. I also wouldn’t have had Dean wait for us in the car and would have warned Mike, who was at home with Freya, that we were gonna be gone for absolutely ages. Thankfully Mike was staying with us overnight anyway so his schedule wasn’t impacted too much.
There was a woman there who was having some sort of bladder procedure, and she hadn’t been allowed to eat or drink anything beforehand. She had no idea she’d have to sit there for hours with no drinking or eating.
There were some other wheelchair users there and some of them had to sit outside because there was no room. I don’t know exactly what they were there for but it made me realise that if my Ehlers-Danlos pain itself is ever actually treated, it may involve sitting in a waiting room for hours.
We were mind-numbingly bored for hours, and as soon as it occurred to Will to check the magazine pile for something that might interest us, and he found a copy of Homes & Gardens, THEN they called me in!
It was all very . . . surgical. Will couldn’t come with me because I was taken through to a female bay, which I also wasn’t expecting. They properly checked me in and gave me wristbands. Even though it was confirmed that I was there for migraine injections, everything kept on looking so surgical. Staff had proper caps on and stuff. I started to wonder just how deep these needles were going!
I was taken through to what looked like a little operating theatre. I don’t think I’ve ever been so tense in my life, and a monitor confirmed it by beeping loudly in time with my heart rate every time something alarmed me.
I transferred from my chair to a trolley. They were willing to inject me in my chair, but I was worried that I’d feel ill so I wanted to lie down. I had to take my sunglasses off so they wouldn’t be in the way, but I was postdroming and still not getting along with light.
The doctor who came to do the actual needle-stabbing looked, talked, and had the same mannerisms as Ben. Ben could tell me the next time I saw him that he put on a hat so he could stab me with needles, and I would believe him.
They did my forehead first, which hurt a lot, and my eyes flooded with so much water unexpectedly. I had to ask them to stop for a while, because dang. I don’t know if it was blood or just fluid that ran down my forehead but either way it was dealt with.
It was much easier when my temples were injected, it hurt less and made a kind of gristly sound inside my head. The back of my head was also OK, neck hurt a bit more, and shoulders hurt second only to the forehead. But they were last so that was fine.
Thankfully, I didn’t feel how I do when I get blood tests. I was worried about that. But I did feel quite dizzy and ill, and also just confused. I think it may have been mostly psychological, because Botox is an actual toxin, not the kind of toxinz that people frighten themselves about over the internet, but an actual, you-could-die-if-it-goes-wrong, toxin. Botox’s full name is Botulinum toxin and it is the cause of Botulism. So yeah, I was worried.
They took me through to a recovery ward and monitored me for a while, apparently Botox can make some people’s blood pressure crash, and I already have pretty low blood pressure, but apparently everything was fine. I was very disorientated though, I remember just staring up at a vent on the ceiling, and then eventually I realised that the vent had moved, which means that I was moved on the trolley, but I don’t remember it happening! I was just suddenly aware that the ceiling had moved along.
I was looked after by a student nurse and I felt bad for not making more conversation, but she got migraines too so she understood. The nurses even put the lights in the ward on night mode for me to make my head hurt less. I honestly could have cried about that, lately it seems like everyone in the world is trying to hurt and alienate me and then just double-down on it as much as possible, and here were a bunch of people just trying to be good to me. I think I napped for a bit before being taken back to the first bay I was in, and then I was allowed to get back in my chair and go home.
I don’t think I had much nausea on the return journey, which is great, I think my body was just focused on the Botox needling.
All the staff in that place were great, but the way the department is run is just bizarre. Having all the day’s patients arrive at the same time and then sit around for hours, possibly even overnight? At once point we were told that there weren’t even any doctors in and that nurses couldn’t do some of the procedures. Huh? Why weren’t doctors scheduled to work when patients were there? Surely consultants aren’t the only doctors who turn up for scheduled shifts. It all seemed very random.
A mildly interesting thing was when someone who was clearly a prisoner, came past the waiting room. He was attached by handcuffs to a burly guard of some sort, but the chain was the longest I’ve ever seen. I guess I’d assumed that prison hospitals were a separate thing, possibly because of films. It turns out there is actually a Category B men’s prison across from the hospital, which I didn’t notice the last couple of times I went up there. I don’t know if the man was definitely from that prison though.
Anyway, in summary, getting Botox was an interesting experience. I’m not sure I understand why people do it just for wrinkles, it was more painful on my forehead than I was expecting. I did feel quite ill afterwards and am still a bit ill today. I guess it comes down to whether wrinkles would make so you unhappy that you were willing to put up with the pain and illness.
I have to go back for more in four months, as apparently it has a cumulative effect on migraines. At least I know what to expect now, but I’m worried I might still get worked up because of the pain.
This image came up on Google when I was searching for migraine injections; I’m glad this isn’t what they did at my appointment!
My forehead and shoulders are my most tender areas right now. I seem to be sweating from my forehead more than usual, which is causing some stinging. I’ve got a bit of a numb spot in my upper back, it looks like there might be some bruising but it’s also hard to see. The ones on the sides and back of my head don’t really bother me at all, except for when I absent-mindedly feel where the bumps in my ponytail are and then accidentally touch a sore bit.
It turns out that Will touches my back and shoulders in general conversation a lot more than I realised, because now it hurts and I am instantly aware. I imagine it will calm down soon and hopefully I’ll start thinking a bit more normally.
When I got in the car I noticed in the visor mirror that there were already some striations forming on the skin above my eyebrows. So I may yet end up with the notorious “Botox eyebrows” that sometimes happen to people who get injections for migraines.
Here are unrelated recent photos.
So yeah, hopefully WordPress.org works out, and blogging about my nonsense can carry on as before.