On a Good Day
How I’ve felt on a bad migraine day the last few months is better than I used to feel on a good day. In the fall, I wrote a bleak post describing what a good day looks like. Seeing how little I got done on a good day (what I now know was a great day for how I felt then) left me so downtrodden that I didn’t post it. Now that I’m feeling better, I’m ready to share it.
November 9, 2013
Friday I enjoyed four hours of level 3 to 4 head pain and a surge of energy. I cataloged everything I did in those four hours in an effort to illustrate what I mean by a “good day.” It’s dismal.
- Bought two bags of groceries (drove 12 minutes round-trip). Unpacked the groceries and hung the reusable bags back in the pantry.
- Opened, read, and dealt with six pieces of mail.
- Entered two medical receipts into Excel for taxes.
- Put away the dishes that were drying on the counter. Emptied the dishwasher and put those dishes away. Hand-washed knives, cookie sheets, and water bottles, then set them aside to dry.
- Wiped down a quarter of the kitchen counter.
- Did a moderately thorough cleaning of the cooktop. Took the burner grills and knobs off, but didn’t disassemble the burners. Washed the knobs in the sink.
- Cleared off the rubble that collects on one particular kitchen counter. Found homes for the receipts, post-it notes, Kleenex packets, and other miscellany.
- Did one full load of laundry and ran a small load of shirts that still had stains on them. Draped the clothes from the first load over the dining chairs because the dryer wasn’t drying properly and I didn’t have the wherewithal to clean the outdoor lint screen in the dark. Hung up the four shirts from the small second load.
- Folded six washcloths and put them away.
- Put a stack of folded T-shirts in the drawer.
- Put the remote controls in the bowl on the coffee table.
This is a great day and it’s no more than an hour’s worth of work done in four. On my best days, I might get in eight hours of work; I get no more than half a dozen of those a year.
My house is not large and the clutter wasn’t particularly heavy Friday. Four hours is plenty of time to clean the house from thoroughly, from putting stuff away, to scrubbing all the hard surfaces, to vacuuming and mopping the floors. Instead, my list of accomplishments includes putting away grocery bags because even that is a triumph.
I have vastly overestimated my productivity over these last six months. I’ve said I operate at 50% of my mental or physical capacity on a my best days. Considering that I did an hour’s worth of work in four hours on a good day, 25% seems like a more accurate number.
I’m not telling you this to elicit sympathy or pity, but to illustrate just how vastly chronic migraine can affect a person’s quality of life. Even though my diet-related improvements seem revolutionary compared to days of accomplishing nothing, the improvements are meager quantitatively.
Having a migraine all the time wears a person down beyond reckoning. Even I can’t believe the impact and I live it every second of every day. Maybe that’s because I haven’t wanted to face the truth, maybe it’s because the truth is unfathomable.