Pride, Pills, and the Ring of Sustenance

I know, I know, the titles a bit odd. My thinking’s been a bit odd this past week, entirely because of the second title item. Yes, pills. Exactly. See, I now have this bottle hiding in an undisclosed location that contains little circles that look something like this.

Well, okay, they don’t actually look like that, and you can stay curious. See, I have chronic migraines, and the last several weeks, they’ve been more dastardly demonic than usual. Crippling, in fact. For my readers who have them, you know the ones. Can’t move, speak, or even think without pain, nausea, and the sense that either you are dying, or death would be a hell of a lot better than this. Yes. I said that word that starts with h and ends in ell. Because these bad boys are. Without boring you any longer, I’ll simply say this spring, my tormentors have been calling at least twice a week, if not every other day, for the last six to eight weeks. Pain won over pride, and I scheduled my first appointment with a physician in ‘checks calendar, sits back down’ probably too many years. Excuse me, a moment. The weather is at it again. (Changes in barometric pressure are one of my main triggers, and we’ve had a fun spring.) On the other hand, this migraine is probably a 3.5 out of 10 – 10 being curl up and wait to die. Most of them lately have been 6 – 8, but I digress.

I mentioned pride, and I can be a stubborn, prideful jerk. I know I’m not alone, but I do feel like I’ve cornered the market some days. Now, before you start trying to tell me pride can be a good thing, let’s get our definitions straight. I know there are two kinds of pride. One looks a bit like this.

The other looks more like this.

I can never die! Behold, my HISTORICALLY ACCURATE ARMOR!

Nah, one arrow. That’s it. And I was basically doing the second, running into artillery fire, half-naked, with no plan, because I. Hate. Pills. I do. With a passion. Which is odd, because I know quite a few people who swear their sanity or their health or both by some kind of daily pill, be it vitamin or otherwise. I’ve fought to keep myself healthy without any sort of “artificial” help. But by Friday last week I could no longer keep up daily functioning. Monday morning, my conversation with a doctor I’d never met before ended in a prescription for a medication not to control the pain of the migraine attacks, but one that I would take regardless of a current attack or not. In higher doses, it’s used for epilepsy, and in both cases taken every day. Today is day five. Last night was dose four. And this week has been a test of endurance and patience like few in my life.

See, they warned me of a potential side effect. Exhaustion. For about the first week to week and a half of acclimating to this pill. And I thought, okay, I’ll be tired, but I’ll still function, no big deal. Oh, no. This has been bone weary, worked ten days with no sleep, and still cannot sleep, dead to the world exhaustion. It started the first day waking up from taking the evening dose the previous night, and just barely started letting up yesterday afternoon, but only in such manner that, on retiring for a nap, I reclined in bed wide awake, and arose only to become zombie once again.

I expressed this frustration to my husband, as I like getting things done. I like to work, and I like to be productive, and meandering around in a zombified state does neither of those things. That’s where the ring comes in.

2 hours of sleep and no need to eat? Conquering the world will be a snap!

2 hours of sleep and no need to eat? Conquering the world will be a snap!

See, in Dungeons & Dragons, there are a few magical ways to get around the need to eat or drink, because most Dungeon Masters either don’t want to keep track of rations, or do track rations, and the players find themselves in dire straits, usually starving in the wilderness somewhere, with no ranger to hunt for them. One of these items is a simple brass ring imbued with magic that allows the wearer to go without food or drink. In addition, though, it ALSO allows the wearer to feel fully rested on only two hours of sleep or rest per night – rather than the typical eight for a human or four for an elf. In other words, assuming a 24 hour day, you now have 22 hours to do whatever you want to do. No need to stop for food or sleep in those 22 hours. This ring doesn’t just instantly work, though. You put it on, and you have to keep it on for a full week to finally stop eating and drinking and sleeping eight hours.

I didn’t see that until he pointed it out to me. This pill, if it continues to work, may be like my Ring of Sustenance. Sure, it likely won’t cut my needed sleep down to two hours, and it certainly won’t keep me from needing food, but if the small improvements I’ve noted so far (and larger ones, if the ease with which today’s migraine was managed is any indication), continue, and the exhaustion does, indeed dissipate, then it will certainly increase my ability to function. I simply have to remember that with the Ring, I don’t know exactly how the magic behind it works. With the medicine, I, and perhaps even the doctors, don’t know exactly how the chemistry behind it works, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is charging half-naked into artillery fire because I’m too stubborn to ask for help.

What about you? Ever had something you just KNEW you could get through alone, but finally had to ask for help with? What do you think about medications? Have they helped? Hurt? Have you never needed them? Let me know in the comments below.

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4 Responses

  1. I know what you mean about this migraine hell. I always say, “you know you have a migraine when decapitation seems like a viable option.” I say it jokingly, but in the throes of the battle, it’s all too real.
    Here’s hoping the new meds are a long-term Ring of Sustenance for you. Hoping, too, that you’ll return to some semblance of normalcy re: sleep and rested-ness. And that you will consider it blessing, not a thorn in your pride. πŸ™‚

    • Raidon T. Phoenix says:

      Decapitation has, on occasion, seemed a preferable option by far. April, You’ve got an incredible way with words, and I thank you for kind words. The meds seem to be working so far, and if I can keep thinking of them as a magical boon, they are less of a thorn. πŸ˜‰

  2. Heather says:

    Thanks so much for this perspective on accepting a need for medical intervention! I have chronic pain due to an autoimmune condition, so I’ve also had to go on a daily medication. As someone who hardly likes to take an Advil unless I need it desperately, it’s been a “last resort” kind of decision. I really appreciate your take on it, especially the part about accepting its help even without being able to understand its magic. I’m with you on the crippling fatigue, too, so I really hope that subsides for you as your body gets used to its new magic ring!

    • Raidon T. Phoenix says:

      For people like us, I don’t think daily medication is ever an easy decision, and often not a simple one, either. Often it does come down to which is worse: the symptoms we cope with daily, or the blow to our pride taking the intervention. When the pain of symptoms outweighs our pride, though, it’s time to seek help. I’ll follow up on this post in a few weeks and let you know what the results of this magic ring are, Heather. Thanks for reaching out.

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