Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today There Were Tears...Yesterday Too!

Whew! Today was a test. I have been so thankful for the amazing neurologist I have found, and today was THE BIG DAY that I would have my Botox injections to treat my persistent tension headaches. He has adjusted my medications to alleviate my migraines pretty well. Yesterday, however, was a day of pain. I realized, though, in all that pain, that I have had soooo many excellent days. That is something I have not been able to say in years! To know that I had to travel to Saudi Arabia and be treated by a Muslim doctor, from Egypt blows my mind. I am not narrow minded, but I have tried every treatment offered to me in Texas. In one visit to this doctor, he changed my medications, and my headaches became less frequent. I have suffered migraines since I was a 6 year old little girl. The tension headaches started after I became a nurse, so let's say around 2005. These headaches have controlled my life since they began. Whatever medication the neurologist in Richardson, Texas recommended, I followed the recommendation. This led to rebound headaches, my body needing higher doses of medication and a ME that I did not like very much. Then....Botox was suggested. As many of you know, it is a paralyzing muscle agent. Tension headaches occur due to the muscles contracting and causing pain. To me, this seemed like a sensible solution. I went straight to a pain management doctor and paid $800 for 200 units of this toxin to be injected wherever he deemed necessary. I found it helpful. This first treatment was about 3 years ago. Fast forward to today...
I have seen this doctor once before, and he scheduled this procedure today. I arrived, and he asked me how my headaches are. I explained that this week has been worse (also mentioning that I think I am in more pain due to stress related to the construction on the compound). He says to me that we will increase my medicine and revisit the idea of Botox in the future. By this time, I am M.A.D!!!! My appointment was at 9:40. He did not see me until 11:15, for reasons I don't even wanna explain, but I was aggravated to start. I said, "NO, I do not want to increase my medication. This is systemic, and it is a guess. We know that Botox will paralyze the muscles that are tensing up as a reaction to the stress I am feeling." I started to cry, because that is what I do when I am upset. He said "do not be un-gry" You would have to be in the room, hearing the language. In Texas we would call Spanish and English "Spanglish". Well, I guess this was more like "Engrabic", because he would go in and out of English and Arabic. I told him "I AM ANGRY, because you told me you would do this, I have waited 2 hours, my husband took off work to bring me, I am in pain, and now you are changing your mind for the second time". I wanted to leave, but I was going to make sure that I accomplished what was scheduled for that appointment. This society is very accustomed to women just saying okay and following what a man tells them. It gets so frustrating!
Anyway, after all of that, my head was pounding!!!! He told me "halas", meaning "it is finished" and he would do the injection, it would take 5 minutes, and that I needed to go to the pharmacy to get the medication. I got there, and it was not approved. I will skip to 2 hours later. FINALLY, my insurance company approves EVERYTHING!!!! Thank God! I got back into his office, and my instincts kicked in, I guess. I started washing my hands, like I was about to give shots. The nurse said she was afraid to touch the Botox, because she did not want to mess it up and walked out of the room. The doctor walked out into the room. He sits down and asks me why I am not helping him prepare it. So, I started to open the syringe packages and hand them to him, using "my best nursing skills"....haha! I was in shock. This would never be appropriate in the USA! At that moment, I missed working. Then, it was onto the table for me. He put about 30 injections into my forehead, temples, occipital lobe, neck and shoulders. I was in so much pain. I cried and could not believe how badly this hurt. I had never felt any tenderness from this injection before. My mom was with me and almost passed out. She left the room, and I thought "what was so important that she had to leave me while I was in pain?" Now I know! I am thankful she didn't fall on the ground!
Anyway, I hope in a few days time, it will all settle in my system and take effect, making this whole day worth the pain and wait.
Today's list will be of the crazy things that have happened while my mom has visited. I SERIOUSLY need to write more about her trip!
1. Today, the doctor told me to go home and have alcohol. Let me remind you, it is forbidden in the kingdom, so I found that hilarious!
2. I had 2 doctors extend their hands to shake the hands of my mom and me today. That is the first time ANY man has done that since we have lived here. You can google it if you want more information.
3. Mom is full of questions, and it is funny. I see her curiosity and try to remember if I was the same when I arrived only 4 short months ago.
4. Mom had her picture made with the cutest little man in a thobe yesterday and was so excited.
5. A man was driving his car at full speed, and a passenger opened his car door to "holla" at my MOTHER while we were shopping downtown yesterday.
6. A man spoke very candidly with us about looking for his next wife, since it is acceptable in Islam to have 4 wives.
7. If you want to know about the culture here, and you ask someone (being respectful), they are very inclined to talk with you.
8. Mom is intrigued by how many different ways there are for a man to wear a scarf on his head and is determined to figure out what each "style" represents. I actually never realized that just as often as a women fixes her eyes, a man messes with his scarf.
9. A man will be wearing a thobe, sweater, winter hat, NorthFace vest, footless tights and....SANDALS!!! REALLY?
10. I asked my mom if she could live here, and she said not long term. I think she means longer than 12 days. Insh 'Allah

Arabic for the Day:
perfect for our theme of thobes and scarves

Blessed be your day!

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