Tag Archives: vestibular migraine

That deer is a sweater eater. He is on WOOL. -M.H.

Let’s do something completely nuts, and I’ll just tell you what’s been going on.

1. Penny. I’ve covered the whole 20 months old is hard and frustrating thing, right? Okay, forget all that. She’s also hilarious and delightful. She learns at least a new word a day, most days it’s two or three. And she learns them. I hand her a carrot, and I say, “This is a carrot.” And she’s like, okay, carrot. And she’ll hold it up several times and show it to me, and be like, “Yo, here’s a carrot,” to show off to me that she now knows that the hard orange thing that she has FUCK ALL intentions of actually eating is a carrot. And she smiles proudly. And now she knows – that’s a carrot. She knows it forever.

Words learned in the past two or so days: bird, pretty, thank you (on top of the previous “thanks!), carrot, apple (to actually refer to clementines, which we just bought for the first time EVER – how about THOSE THINGS, AM I RIGHT? PEELING RIGHT OPEN!), taco, pop (for ice pop), and, I don’t know, world peace.

She’s also started calling her collection of blankets “naps.” It’s wrong, but it’s adorable.

I want to tell you all of the words she says, but I’m not going to, mostly because I didn’t write them down, but also because there’s got to be over a hundred at this point. She said her first sentence I don’t know how many months ago, and has been asking questions and holding simple conversations for a while now, too. Sometimes I forget that I’m the only one who hears her so perfectly clearly, but a good percentage of her words are easy for just about anyone to decipher.


Oh, and she also made up this song, which is no big thing, kids do that, but the same little tune and nonsense words were repeated so often over the next few days that we actually all sing it now.

(there’s a video here)

Try not to be intimidated by my perfectly staged, perfectly lovely, perfectly perfect mommyblogger home and life.

Zap-oh-dee, zap-oh-dee, hey, Penny, do you want to sing zap-oh-dee? Zap-oh-dee in the shower, zap-oh-dee while I’m cooking dinner, zap-oh-dee while we were doing annoyingly cliche adorable family walking through the little local wildlife zoo together over the weekend.

Phil & Penelope

The membership to the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium was Penny’s “big” Christmas gift from Phil and I. Since she is young enough to still fall under “free,” the membership technically only covers me. It came with a one time free adult admission, which we used for the family visit pictured above to get Phil in, so we only need to go once more before it’s nearly paid for itself. It’s close to the base – only 5 miles – and parking is free, so it’s hardly a huge loss if we head over and she loses her baby mind and I have to haul her back home. Or, to go over and just visit her current favorite things. The zoo has a petting zoo and playground, carousel, kangaroo walkabout, four aquarium buildings which she liked quite a bit (and which I imagine we’ll visit quite a bit in the Arizona armpit months), a baby animal nursery, a train, and, I don’t know, animals.

When we were in the petting zoo, I was taking pictures of Penny while Phil let her feed some of the pushy goats and deer some pellets, and an older couple was talking to each other, saying, “Look at that deer, eating that lady’s sweater! Look! That deer is just eating the lady’s sweater!”

Eventually, I heard them and was able to rescue the pocket of my FAVORITE FRUMPY OLD MAN CARDIGAN from the mouth of the world’s pushiest deer EVER, but geeze, people, THE LADY was standing right there and clearly distracted by her adorable child’s first face to face encounter with stinky tame wildlife. A little “Excuse me, ma’am, I don’t mean to be rude, but I wasn’t sure if you were aware that there’s an animal eating your clothing” wouldn’t have been amiss.

Honestly, I’m not as mad about the deer backwash all over the pocket of my sweater as I am about the opening left for my husband to say later, “They didn’t have to fawn over you, but a little head’s up would have been bucking nice.”

Don’t worry, I killed him, and it was painful.

Petting zoo

2. My head. I saw my neurologist yesterday. I like the guy. I saw him for about two seconds yesterday, seriously. He’s very quick, he’s very brusque, but I’ve never felt rushed or like he wasn’t giving me full attention, or like I wasn’t getting quality care. I saw him for the first time when I was hospitalized with my first vestibular migraine, and this past time when I saw him, yesterday, we decided I don’t have to go back for six months.

Things are good. It’s not perfect. I told him, my words exactly, “I am not completely miserable,” and he knew exactly what I meant, and he is familiar with me, and familiar with my situation – both mine and the general condition – enough to know that we’re at a good spot. I’m very pleased, compared to where I was last April, or last summer, or even last fall. If I thought everything could be perfect, I probably wouldn’t have accepted an appointment 6 months out to just check in, but then, I don’t get the feeling he would have offered that, either.

I feel like this is probably vague, like a weird update on a chapter I haven’t actually written, but whatever. Aren’t you kind of glad I haven’t made my head thing into my thing? You know what I mean. It’s been a thing in my life, and in Phil’s life, but ugh, aren’t we all glad I haven’t made it my thing.

Anyway, so this chapter I haven’t actually bothered to write is mostly closed, except that to get to this point that is good but not perfect, I take some medication at a higher level than I used to, and I liked the old level because it didn’t work too well, but didn’t have any side effects and I thought that was a good balance. But now I take the higher level that works quite well, but does have some side effects that I don’t really care for, one of the main ones being that while I have a lot to say, there’s a lot more wild hand gesturing and frustrated face pinching-upping to get my point across, and things like calling the oven “the onion” and saying what I almost mean, which works pretty fine when you’re talking to someone near you, or to your husband who isn’t particularly big on nuance anyway, but not particularly great for blogging.

So, like I said. It’s good, but not perfect. There’s not really a way around that.

And to be clear, I’m not offering that as an excuse for not blogging as much. I’m not saying, “Oh, I haven’t been blogging as much because I take a medication that makes it harder for me to blog.” I do take a medication that does make it harder, but I’m not making excuses because I don’t feel I owe anyone any. It’s a small distinction, but it is one, because I hate when people apologize for not blogging, because, come on. Do it or don’t, it’s okay. It is. You can stop for as long as you want to or need to, and then you can start again, and it’s always okay, okay? You don’t need to apologize to anyone, ever for letting one or two or twelve or a hundred days go by without writing a blog post. You can have reasons, you can say where you were, but you never have to apologize.  I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT PART IS CLEAR.

3. PJs! Oh, gosh, you guys, PJs is coming. I’m equal parts excited and exhausted already. I’ve got plans in place already this year to make it easier on me and less stressful than it was last year, and I’ve already got my eyes toward next year with tiny tweaks to prevent things that are tiny wrinkles in my plans this year. Last year, I thought I was doing a one time thing until right afterward. This year, I’m already thinking about next year before anyone even gets here.

The thing about PJs that makes it fun for me is that it’s my party. Whenever I find myself getting stressed out and a little freaked out about what if people hate this or what if people don’t like that or how will I possibly please everyone, I just remind myself that it’s my party. I’m not putting on a blog conference or facilitating a bloggy get together, I’m throwing PJs at TJ’s, which is my party, and I can be a good hostess and make sure my guests are comfortable and fed and reasonably accommodated, but when it comes down to it, I’m having friends over to come to my party. When it’s reframed like that, it suddenly shifts back to being fun to plan and I get all refreshed and enthusiastic again. I recommend everyone throw their own parties.

4. We’re MOVING. We’ve outgrown our house. I guess I don’t really have anything more to say than that. We’re not leaving Arizona, we can’t do that, we’re going to be at Luke until the end of time, probably. I don’t mind. This isn’t a bad place to live at all, and when Phil is out of the military and we eventually head back to the east coast, it will be with no small amount of bitter on my part.

We hope to be out of here as soon as March. I want to throw away everything we own and move with nothing. Not really, but I want to shed a lot of crap. Things we don’t use, things we have just because we think we’re supposed to have it, things we mean to use “someday,” things with misplaced sentimental value, BABY THINGS. I want it all to go. Anywhere. Not here. Not with us.

5. ONE LAST PENNY THING. She’s learning to dress herself. She goes into her bedroom and chooses a shirt and puts it on, but she doesn’t know how to put it on, not really. So she comes back out of her room “wearing” the shirt she’s chosen on top of whatever else she’s already wearing. She pulls the shirt over her head until her face comes through the neckhole, like a hood, or a scarf around her face, like CORNHOLIO, you know? And the sleeves just dangling down uselessly. And then she just GOES ABOUT HER BUSINESS with her toys and stuff. Completely seriously. I have no pictures, because if I get the camera, it tips her off that something isn’t right. You have to imagine it. IMAGINE IT.


Please don't act as though you don't have pellets, lady.

What it all comes down to is that I had to make my own jello.

No time for pleasantries.

– Remember when Penny was in the hospital in August and I was all cryptic about what was wrong with her? That was because I didn’t want your reassurances. I know, that makes me sound like an asshole. But the thing is, I had (and have) genuine concerns, and sometimes a person just needs to worry them through without being told “oh, my aunt had that and she’s fine so obviously your kid will be fine!” Anyway, we worried through it all, and now I’ll tell you – Penny has vesicoureteral reflux – or VUR – or kidney reflux. And we’ve gone ahead and scheduled her for surgery for July 5th. It was just one of several possible options, but it was the best option for us. I think. I’m pretty sure. I mean, logically, I’m sure.


This is how I intend to distract you from the impending lack of content.

– Okay, remember when I was in the hospital and you were a total jerk about it? Well, I went (or more like, had Phil take me to) the ER because I was dealing with insane vertigo. More than dizziness. I mean the whole world was just whipping around me. It was so miserable. Nonetheless, I was still surprised when I was admitted to the hospital. They made me use a walker and wouldn’t let me pee by myself. Honestly, if I had blogged it in a timely fashion, it would have been some hilarious stuff. In a sad-for-me kind of way, but that’s usually my best stuff. I want you to know that it bothers me that I just ended two sentences in a row with the same word, but I just sat my kid in the middle of the floor with a whole cheeseburger and some french fries so while normally anal about such things, it’s a bit low on my give a damn chart at the moment. Just want you to know that I know.

Moving on, I had a CT scan and an MRI and both were perfectly clear, which is why I didn’t feel the need to alert any of my east coast family that I was in the hospital – I mean, come on. So they could worry over nothing? So I would have to call them multiple times a day to update them on my nothing? I told Phil that if it had turned out to be a brain tumor, he could call them. It didn’t, so he didn’t. Long story short, my mom threatened the shit out of him when we were in Pennsylvania for Penny’s birthday.

Internet, I need your honest opinion on this. Is it my job, as a 30 year old lady, to inform my family, on the other side of the country, of all of my medical issues? Some of them? Where’s the line? Colds? Fevers? ER trips? Broken bones? Admissions? How many days? Keep in mind that YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING from across the country and also family across the country wants CONTINUAL UPDATES from the person WHO IS SICK and DOES NOT WANT TO UPDATE. Seriously. What is an adult’s duty to family when it comes to medical issues, disclosure thereof?

So, the vertigo would have remained a mystery, had the neurologist not arrived right when a ripping headache that the floor doctor refused to treat in case it would mask symptoms was about to kill me. He quickly diagnosed vestibular migraine, which you can Google if you want, and then you’ll know exactly as much as I do, which is about nothing. When I got out of the hospital, the dizziness and vertigo took so long to fade I was resigning myself to the fact that I was going to be desperately clinging to walls for the rest of my life like all of the other sad stories I had managed to find online. Then… it was gone. Mostly. Most of the time. Lots of headaches and some mild dizziness, but no big episodes.

I don’t want to say a lot about vestibular migraines, because as of right now, I don’t have a lot of information. When I was looking for information myself, all I found was horror stories or just more people looking for information themselves. So. Nothing like that from me. I will say that my neurologist is going to be running a couple more tests and as of right now, thinks I’m an excellent candidate for migraine management with medication, so I’ve started on Topamax. I’ve taken it in the past and I know it’s a brutal medication, so we’ll have to see if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. I have high hopes of no headaches. Well, fewer headaches, since Phil has no plans of moving out.



– Remember all those times you told me, “You know, you really should go to the eye doctor, and you should let the eye doctor look in your eyes, and also you should do the puff test?” Well, I don’t like to do any of those things. I like to order my glasses online and never discuss it with anyone, ever. But I unfortunately have birthed a violent hooligan who slaps my $8 Zenni Optical frames off my face on the regular and they finally gave up the ghost on Saturday night, when Phil and I were supposed to be having a real live adult date while my mother (who flew back from Pennsylvania with Penny and I under the guise of helping me since Phil had flown back a week early but UNDER THE REALITY of soaking up my adorable child) had the only kind of grandparent-grandbaby bonding time that really counts – the kind where the parents are nowhere to be seen.

I would have loved to order from Zenni again, but with the whole headache mess, I couldn’t deal with being glassesless for any length of time and thus had to deal with the OPPRESSIVE NATURE of shopping for glasses in the real world, where they refuse to just GIVE YOU SOME and instead insist on peering straight into your head.

And you know what? Go ahead and say you told me so. Just get it out of the way. Because guess what? The doctor looked in there? AND SOMETHING WAS WRONG. He referred me to a specialist for papilledema, which as I basically understand it, means my eyeballs are going to explode. But that’s not the CRAZY part.

Like any normal person, before calling any specialist, I of course went home and googled (this was yesterday). This papilledema is caused by high pressure inside your brain bag, and you know what one of the main causes of THAT is?


Except? I had a CT and an MRI just a couple of weeks ago and there WAS no tumor.

Obvious conclusion?


(Please note: no tumor has been confirmed and is, in fact, only suspected by the part of me that is convinced that everything from an earache to stubbing my toe is probably caused by a tumor, but when you think about it, what other conclusion could there be?)

There was going to be more here today, including some deeply philosophical questions about leaning your seat back on airplanes, but guys – I am not even shitting you right now – I just got back from urgent care and I have strep throat.

I have crazy migraine managed with the medication from hell, exploding eyeball most likely caused by the naked cancer box at the airport and NOT EVEN FUCKING WITH YOU STREP THROAT.

Here’s my current favorite picture of my baby.