September 28, 2007

It's All About Amy

This week I had two medical appointments. The first was with the physiotherapist that I mentioned in an earlier post. The second was with the City of London Migraine Clinic.
For about six years now I've been suffering from headaches that come on every four to six weeks and last for three to four days. They are AWFUL.
Back in San Francisco my GP at University of California San Francisco identified them as migraines and then happily sent me on my way with about 200 pill samples. I tried them all, including a spray, and none helped. Over the years I gave up hope for treatment and after several self-treatment disasters with sinus meds and ibuprofen I also gave up trying to make the pain stop.

My appointment today gave me new hope. The doctor listened to my stories, asked me lots of interesting questions and started drawing some conclusions. Nobody seems to know what causes migraines (by the way, this is pronounced Meegraines in the UK) but most of my symptoms said migraine to her.

While I sat there, telling the tale of Amy to a medical professional for a second time this week I realised how indulgent it is to pay someone to listen to you. Yes of course that's what therapists do but this was different. This was Amy giving her health history and someone making observations and trying to draw conclusions. I can see how this could become addictive.

It reminds me a bit of Frida Kahlo who, some theorise, would pursue operations and treatments for her back to the point of obsession or even addiction. Just look at her paintings! She knew that Diego Rivera would be there for her, would leave his mistresses, to be by her side when she was in pain. I've always wanted some kind of connection to Frida but I think I'll take a pass on that one.

A cool point to note is that the Migraine Clinic has a suggested donation of 50GBP but you can pay more or even less. This then allows them to get a government match called Gift Aid. You get good service, make a donation and support a charity. If they can solve my headaches I'll be a donor for life. (That statement is not legally binding and this is not my Will :-)