Coping, Triggers

Jackhammers, Diesel Fumes, Tar and a Headache

Jackhammering. I awoke to jackhammering at 7 a.m. Not the metaphorical kind — no, my head feels more like someone is drilling for oil in my brain — but the dig-up-your-entire-neighborhood kind. Road construction complete with idling diesel engines and, the creme de la creme, tar.

Don’t these people know that I need at least eight hours of sleep and my alarm goes off at 8 a.m.? That their smells trigger bad headaches or migraines? That the cacophony of heavy equipment makes it all worse? That the beeping of the walkie talkie-like cell phones, a staple of the industry, is enough to make me tear my hair out?

Like it matters to me if the neighborhood has better water pressure and streets. Harumph.

If I were writing this yesterday, I would have reminded myself that I can’t move the roadwork, but I can make myself not unhappy. Some days grumbling is a prerequisite to finding a solution. Especially when I’m tired (because a jackhammer woke me up at 7 a.m. . . .).


The Nutty Lady at the Coffeehouse

That’s me. I bounce from one table to the next as new people sit down. Once I even shifted all my stuff to a new table, started to sit in the chair and then moved everything back to one seat over from where I just was. It’s not like I just moved my latte back and forth. I also have a computer, iPod, water bottle, bag and sweater.

I needed to escape from someone’s perfume. It’s a sickeningly sweet floral-ish scent, which would be disgusting even if it weren’t a headache trigger. I’m having a good day; there’s no way I would wreck it in the otherwise lovely coffeehouse.

The perfume is being overpowered by garlic sauteed in butter. That smells fabulous, but the cloying scent has already done its damage. And the woman across from me just put on lotion. . .

Related posts:

Doctors, Meds & Supplements, Resources, Triggers

Great New Articles on’s headache page has long been a resource for headache patients. Teri Robert, the headache “guide,” has been hard at work lately writing some great new articles. Here are some of my recent favorites, but be sure to poke around on the site — it’s chock full of information.

Top 7 Steps To a Head Pain Sufferer Friendly Home
Reducing environmental triggers, simplifying chores and setting up your own headache place (much like finding “home”) are all ways to minimize the impact that headaches have on your life. By reducing odors, chemicals and stressors, you may also reduce your headache frequency.

Doctors – Helpful or Hopeless? How’s Yours? Need Help?
Tips on finding the right doctor for you and how you can help your doctor help you.

Headache and Migraine Medications and Wal-Mart’s $4 List
While no triptans are available for $4 (because there are no generic triptans), many headache preventives are. Teri provides a short list of meds and links to more information, including a comprehensive list of Walmart’s $4 prescription drugs.


Bus Shelters Trigger Headaches

At least the ones in San Francisco did on Monday. In a clever (if not well-thought out) marketing move, the California milk industry added the scent of chocolate chip cookies to their Got Milk? ads in five of the city’s bus shelters. The idea was that once people smelled cookies, they’d crave milk.

When scent-sensitive folks smell artificial cookie odors, they are more likely to have headaches or asthma attacks than a glass of milk. Advocates for people with environmentally triggered illnesses raised a stink, and the ads were pulled yesterday.

And I thought the most obvious problem with the ad strategy is that when people smell cookies, they crave cookies, not milk. I can’t laugh too much though — if Seattle bus shelters were scented with cinnamon or rose, I’d throw a fit too.