Nov. 15th, 2016

The Spider

Nov. 15th, 2016 08:31 pm
cathugger: An orange-and-white cat facing to the left. The front of this face is fading into shadows. (Default)
As I may have said before, I’ve been getting a lot of quick hypnagogic hallucinations in the middle of the night. They started happening after I heard someone talking about how there are commonly spiders in people’s beds. I’ve never been that scared of spiders (actually, I loved them when I was little), but soon after that, I started waking up in the middle of the night to seeing and occasionally feeling a spider on me or in my bed. Luckily, there’s a futon in my room at the moment, so I’d just go back to sleep on that.

Eventually I got to the point where I could tell myself that it probably wasn’t real soon after it occurred. I’m sure it’s messing with my sleep, but I can’t help but laugh at it for some reason. I find me waking up and freaking out about “seeing” a spider in my bed over and over again very amusing.

Anyway, last night things escalated to a whole new level. Usually I’d wake up to a spider that instantly ran under the covers and vanished from sight. That made it easier to tell myself that it wasn’t real. Last night, the same thing happened, but the tickling feeling of a spider crawling on me was much more obvious (though I’m pretty sure I felt it on both sides of my body far away from where he spider hid, which stopped making sense after I snapped out of it). Then a spider web was floating, getting closer and closer to my face. At the time, I was awake enough to tell myself that it wasn’t real. It just hovered over my face for so long and eventually started tickling it. At that point, I got up and switched to the futon to get as far away from it as possible. It might’ve disappeared when I looked back at my bed. It’s hard to remember.

The next day, when I wasn’t stuck with that in-dream reasoning, I realized that it was pretty much impossible that a spider web could float and hover in that way. Another reason to laugh at it.

I just wonder why it’s always spider-related. Pretty sure I don’t think about spiders much–at least not consciously. I don’t think my normal dreams are about them either. It’s interesting.

Originally posted
on Tumblr. 
cathugger: An orange-and-white cat facing to the left. The front of this face is fading into shadows. (Default)
and I’m going to try to process them before I completely forget everything. Hopefully this ends up making sense.

Recently, I’ve learned two things: I’ve been chronically dehydrated and may need a PICC line/port, and I might be experiencing “spinal headaches. My geneticist, who seems to have experience with multiple POTS patients who can’t orally hydrate, brought up the dehydration thing. And I happened to come across info on spinal headaches accidentally when doing my research. (Can’t remember exactly how.) Spinal headaches are often associated with intracranial hypotension and procedures that involve the brain or its fluid. Based on the description–headaches that begin in an upright position and disappear or almost disappear when lying down–I’ve definitely experienced them before, though I could see the headache having multiple causes that aren’t as well-known.

I’ve been doing a little research on spinal headaches over the past week and learned that they’re often caused by spinal fluid leaks. The spinal fluid is held in by a sack (?) thing, which is more likely to tear in “those with hyperflexibility of the joints.” The brain then sags downwards toward the neck (possible relationship to Chiari?) and presses on some nerves. Several sources have said that dehydration can make this worse. I’m pretty sure that I’ve also heard that, when spinal fluid decreases in the head, blood may try to take its place, leading to a pounding feeling and possibly adding to the pain. Because caffeine constricts the blood vessels (sound familiar?), it’s one of the recommended treatments. Wow.

I started looking into dehydration a little more recently. I wanted to figure out how many of my symptoms might be caused by dehydration. After passing a bunch of obvious symptoms, I saw an article on “Unusual Dehydration Symptoms.” (Not sure what they mean by “unusual” but okay.) I learned a few things that might mean something: fever and chills are connected to dehydration, and food cravings. The second one is because the body lacks the fluids needed to convert some food into energy. (I can see this possibly affecting weight, too.)

But for some reason, the symptom in the dehydration article that surprised me the most was headaches. Okay, it’s pretty well known that headaches are caused by dehydration. The surprising part was the explanation of how dehydration caused headaches. It explained how lacking fluids could lead to decreased spinal fluid. And that leads to the brain sinking and… basically what I explained in the paragraph above.

So, basically, decreased spinal fluid might be able to be caused by dehydration alone. A leak may not be necessary (not that I fully trust that article or anything). (Maybe that’s how some other headaches are formed as well?) To be honest, I haven’t spent that much time researching “spinal headaches,” and I’ve already spotted possible connections to POTS, EDS, dehydration, and Chiari malformation. Interesting. It might also be connected to the smaller-than-normal opening my brain stem goes through.

***

Well, I just got interrupted because apparently, there was a physical therapy appointment no one told me about. I’m not going to try to finish what I was trying to say because 1. I’m exhausted and 2. this is long enough as is. Don’t take anything in here too seriously because I haven’t spent much time researching it (which might be obvious anyway).
cathugger: An orange-and-white cat facing to the left. The front of this face is fading into shadows. (Default)
Day #27: What's the most helpful advice you have had?

I know I say this a lot, but this one won't be easy to answer either. If tried to come up with the most helpful advice I've received, I would probably spend way too much time thinking and still not come up with an answer.

Some generally helpful advice I've heard is to figure out what you have the energy for, trust it, and accept it. Respect your body/mind for what it can do, and appreciate it for how hard it fights. Give yourself a break. Or two breaks. Or two hundred. Work on accepting your limitations, and don't try to stop yourself from grieving your old expectations if that's what you need to do. If you have a hard time doing something, let someone help you. Remember that it may not be hard at all for them. You're doing great.

Okay, that's not really one piece of advice. I just named helpful tips and reminders I've heard off the top of my head... but I think they all really have helped me.

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cathugger: An orange-and-white cat facing to the left. The front of this face is fading into shadows. (Default)
Ashley

June 2017

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