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Welcome to my migraine!

June 9th, 2011 · 30 Comments · A Dog's Life, Daily, My Aching Head!

So, here we are again. It’s Day #3 of my monthly migraine, and although I thought I was on the right track yesterday, it turns out that I was not, and that always bums me out a bit. I’m now keeping a migraine journal, and it looks a little something like this:

June 7: Ouch! Took a Maxalt. Pain: 7/10 … 8/10? Pain!
June 8: Better in the morning? Continued with the preventatives. Not so great in the evening, writing it off as stress.
June 9: Ouch! Ouch! Not sure if it’s stress or hormonal. Took a cocktail pill. Two hours later, determined that it IS hormonal, but am now unable to take a big gun pill, because I took a cocktail pill! Life is spent paying for mistakes and bad judgment and IT’S BEHIND MY RIGHT EYE! Called doctor. Received permission to take big gun pill at 6:00 this evening. Am now counting down the minutes. 320!!!

I go back to the migraine doctor at the end of July. The final straw would be the application of a hormone patch during one week out of the month. We’re hoping to find a pill that will do the trick before we have to resort to the patch. Anyway. Wake up out there so I can talk about the dog! I know! (Believe me. I know!)

Last night was Scout’s second obedience class. Sadly, I’m currently reading a book that goes against a lot of the things that the instructor is saying to us. (For example, the book says that anyone who makes a blanket statement about a certain breed of dog is taking the easy way out. Saying “All beagles whine and are difficult to train.” is like saying, “All white people like coconut cream pie.” (I *do* like coconut cream pie, if anyone is interested in meeting me for some.)) Anyway, last night the instructor held Scout like a baby with all four paws in the air, and Scout hated it and screamed like she was in pain. Because of the screaming, the instructor sprayed bitter apple into Scout’s mouth and said, “It looks like she’s used to being the boss! She needs to learn that she’s not the boss!” Okay. First of all? Scout’s not the boss. She’s doing really well with all of the training elements of obedience training. To me, spraying bitter apple into her mouth because she didn’t like being held like a baby is sort of like punching my nephew in the face because he doesn’t like chocolate.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not the expert. The fact that I’m uncomfortable with the whole bitter apple thing probably puts a big “Naive Dog Owner” stamp on my forehead. (During class last week, I was accused of engaging in Wussy Talk. I’m still not sure how to respond to that, which probably indicates that I AM a wussy talker.) BUT, I did notice that Scout was quiet and hid from the instructor during the remainder of class last night. (Last week Scout was the crazy misfit during class, so it was a noticeable change.)

(As I type these potentially mind-numbing paragraphs, please know that Scout is under the computer table whispering things like, “That bitter apple crap is whack, yo.” and “I tend to prefer Sondre Lerche’s Human Hands to the Elvis Costello version.” (We all have our opinions.))

Tomorrow morning at 7:00, I will drive Scout to an animal hospital in the city where she will have her lady parts removed. What a discouraging week it has been for her. I wonder if dogs get migraines.
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30 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Meghan // Jun 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. I just did.

  • 2 Michelle J. // Jun 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    My little piece of unsolicited advice!! Have your blood pressure checked! I was having migraine like you describe for years. I was miserable. When I started missing work and family events I decided I couldn’t take it anymore.

    My doctor put on blood pressure meds and it’s took a few weeks but I was a NEW person. I still got small headaches but nothing compared to the migraines. Good luck with your medication. I know how much those migraines suck.

  • 3 evilsciencechick // Jun 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I used a bitter apply spray to spray things that Sadie was chewing on – the corner of her crate, the garbage can, etc. You are NOT supposed to spray it at the dog! Ever! That’s terrible! Can you switch to a different obedience class?

    My mom used to get migraines all the time. Then she went on blood pressure pills and went through menopause. Now she hardly gets them at all. So…there ya go. Countdown to menopause – yippee?

  • 4 Elizabeth // Jun 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    On the dog front: My sister’s been a dog trainer for 20+ years so I’ve sort of absorbed some knowledge, so with the caveat that I’m not a trainer myself, I think your trainer is a jerk. This might be useful: http://www.newimproveddog.com/choosing-trainer.htm

    On the migraine front: I’m going to jump straight into assvice mode here and say since I got a Mirena installed 98% of my hormone-related problems are gone, and I had SERIOUS hormone-related problems. I hope you find something that helps – multi-day migraines are totally not fair. xoxo

  • 5 Dooley // Jun 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    The blood pressure idea is always good for something or other and, if my memory serves, you’ve given them a looksee. I found out that my blood pressure was spiking and dropping in cycles throughout the night, which is kind of weird. CPAP = normalized BP = sleeping better. Crazy.

  • 6 Dooley // Jun 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Oh, and I’m totally with @Elizabeth on the Mirena — miracle foreign object, imo. I got to cancel a scheduled hysterectomy.

  • 7 Kate // Jun 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    It sounds like your dog trainer is an asshole. Am I allowed to say asshole on fluidpudding dot com? I could also call her a jerk. Either way I would find someone new. Because she sounds like an asshole.

  • 8 Sarah // Jun 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    That is awful, about the bitter apple! I am one of those crazy dog people and have had and trained plenty of dogs and that is horsepoo. It’s like punishing a kid with hot sauce. It *is* good for dogs to learn to accept touch and some degree of physical restraint, not only because it reinforces your and their position(s) in the family, but because they learn to tolerate it and thus don’t get as freaked out with vets, groomers, etc. None of them love the process, but if you do it and massage them gently at the same, they actually come to love it. Most wind up falling asleep.

    So I think you are totally right. :)

  • 9 elsimom // Jun 9, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I am joining the anti-[this particular]dog trainer crowd here. I do think some things are about fit – and dog training is one of them. For example, we went to a “gentle leader” (it’s a type of collar) class – NOT a choke collar class because there was no WAY I was using a choke collar on my dog. (Put another way -if I need to use a choke collar – probably not the right dog for me!) Some people favor treat training. Some people favor clicker training. Seems like there are many methods, and from what you’ve said it doesn’t sound like this trainer is a good fit for you and Scout.
    And since I’m dispensing unrequested advice, let me throw in one more thought: even if you can’t get your money back for this class – obedience training is the most important step in establishing the long-term behavior of your dog – so just eat the cost and find the right trainer – because it will set the foundation for you and Scout and your family to be the friends for life you want to be. The money we spent on training for our dog when we got her is the best money we ever spent on her – and she is a wonderful, wonderful dog – made better by being well behaved.

    I have now stepped off my soap box.
    Thank you for reading.

  • 10 Donna // Jun 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    More unsolicited input on the migraines: For me, the miracle drug is Lybrel. Suffered with hormone-related migraines for years and years, started taking Lybrel — no more migraines. Awesome. Hope you find what works for you.

    The bitter apple thing sounds cruel, but I’m no expert — we have cats.

  • 11 Carroll // Jun 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Noooooo! Poor Scout!!! I know, I know…you shamelessly manipulated us all into feeling ***extreme*** animosity toward that trainer. But seriously…what did Scout learn last night? To be afraid of the trainer! I’m betting that’s the kind of person who would feel that it’s OK to let a three week old baby cry herself to sleep in order to establish “a good schedule”. Aieeeee!!!

    And poor Angela Pudding! I will continue to remain extremely optimistic that your current, clearly-attentive and responsive migraine doc will successfully get to the bottom of what’s causing your suffering. Sooner rather than later would be good. :-(

  • 12 Cindy // Jun 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    When I was a girl, I had a pet beagle. The first day of obedience school, the teacher told me that I couldn’t teach a beagle obedience. (Nerd Alert!) We won grand champion three years in a row at the State Faire in obedience shows and he was off leash for at least one of those. Dogs are like people. Treat them well, love them, respect them and they’ll do anything for you.

    Also, I hate the migraine thing for you so much. I wish I could tell you the magic words to make it all go away. I used to suffer too, but I haven’t had an episode in about three and half years now. I wish I could tell you what worked for me would work for you, but I can’t.

  • 13 Kathy // Jun 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    You know what I think? I think you and Scout should hop on a plane and come down here and we can eat coconut cream pie (which I love and I know a GREAT PLACE HERE for that)(actually? TWO great places!) while Rascal’s super nurturing and positive and effective trainer turns Scout into the most amazingly obedient and awesome dog who ever lived, like she did with Rascal. I am sure that if we did all that, your migraines would go away! Like magic!

    And then you, me, Scout and Rascal will hop a plane back to your place and punch that other trainer in the head, because holy jeebus, you do not punish a dog for doing the wrong thing, you REWARD it for doing the RIGHT thing. We’ve tried both! That second one works, and that first one just makes you and your dog sad!

    In short (I know!), coconut cream pie is awesome, you need to fire the hell out of that trainer, and I hope that whole migraine thing gets worked out because I used to get them and they suck worse than almost anything.

  • 14 Laura K. // Jun 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    God I hope that all works out. I take Topamax for decidedly NOT hormonal migraines, but still get the occasional hormonal migraine. Which is balls but I’d rather get one a month than twenty. Cripes. I have no migraine advice. I am bad at migraine advice.

  • 15 Alli // Jun 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Ack Migraines! Ack Bitter Apple! This post gave me a headache and a bad taste in my mouth! In sympathy, of course!

  • 16 C @ Kid Things // Jun 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I get migraines all the time behind my right eye. Except I just take OTC Excedrin, sometimes though a lot more than recommended. I should probably see a doctor about them before I overdose.

  • 17 orooni on ravelry // Jun 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Yeah… when one of my dogs was a wee pup, our new vet cradled her in his arms like a baby, and she batted her sweet little eyelashes and there were butterflies and happy little faeries, and then she spent the next 9 years dominating our other dog to the end of the earth. So I don’t tend to put much stock in that test.

    And it doesn’t make much sense that negative reinforcement would be expected to make her calmer when held that way.

  • 18 pharmgirl // Jun 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    I am with Kate.
    Completely.
    So much so that I want to share a bottle of Sugar Creek peach wine with Kate before we march over to your trainer and help her dislodge her head from her ass.
    Sorry to hear the migraine is back. Have you ever considered the Mirena?

  • 19 Shmoo // Jun 9, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Hi, I’m a long time lurker (love the blog), and when I read the part about your dog’s obedience training, I seriously wanted to reach into the computer screen and castrate that “trainer” with a pair of rusty, dull scissors. FIND ANOTHER TRAINER! You want someone that teaches positive reinforcement, preferably clicker training (no, you aren’t forever tethered to a clicker thing). I’ve owned Siberian Huskies for over 20 years, I was a vet tech, I’ve volunteered with rescues, and what that idiot is doing is damaging your dog and he/she should be charged with abuse… seriously, find another trainer.

  • 20 Rachael // Jun 9, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    If it helps at all, scientific research seems to go against your dog trainer’s techniques:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/05/26/136497064/the-new-science-of-understanding-dog-behavior

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-02/uop-iya021709.php

    All of the solid information I’ve read supports the use of positive training techniques. I think I would have been tempted to spray bitter apple in the trainer’s mouth to see how *she* likes it.

  • 21 Reagan // Jun 10, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I am normally just a lurker (for shame!), but I felt compelled to comment to share a link with you about new understandings of dogs and training. Probably similar to the one shared above. Save Scout! :)

    http://www.salon.com/life/noble_beasts/index.html?story=/books/int/2011/06/05/john_bradshaw_dog_sense

    Side note: Our house rabbit loves apples and seems so unfazed by the Bitter Apple spray. Let me know if you need another bottle! ;)

  • 22 marianne // Jun 10, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    If coconut cream pie would make your migraines go away I would bring you one right now!

    I think that all us migraine sufferers must do a study to see what effect pie has on our headaches.

    My migraines make me a little stupid and giddy. They weirdly elevate my mood (even with the pounding/stabbing). Anyone else have that?

  • 23 Esther S // Jun 11, 2011 at 4:13 am

    I find you trainer’s behaviour disturbing and it seems that neither you or your dog are thriving in the class. I would join with others and recommend you find another class.

    As to migraines the only, temporary, solution I ever had was getting pregnant. So I’m not much help. Sorry :0(

  • 24 Isabella Golightly // Jun 11, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Sounds like the trainer needs a swift kick & you need to come down here with Scout & a coconut cream pie for a holiday, after you’ve had your mirena put in. Still got mine after 7 years & still bless it every single day.

  • 25 Ashlea // Jun 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

    one thing: Training should ALWAYS be POSITIVE.
    (you don’t want your PUPPY scared of anyone, even that terrible trainer!!!!)

    and sorry about your migraine. bleh.

  • 26 LaraSuzy // Jun 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Agreeing adamantly about the Mirena – no hormonal flux, no crazy moods, no cramping, no headaches, no period!

    And Toprol (it’s a beta blocker – I took Toprol XL daily for several years) has been proven to prevent migraines.

    I think the girls are on to something with the blood pressure meds, too – so much of migraine is vascular…

    So there ya have it!

  • 27 Charlene // Jun 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    MIGRAINES!!!! Ugh I feel your pain….. As the survivor of the 309 day migraine – remember me!? Here are my unsolicited advice – remember I am not a doctor I only play one on TV – ha ha . First – I second the mirena idea, but make sure that you ask for pain meds – MAJOR cramps the first few days – then you are good to go for five years, less and more mild periods – who knew? Second – definitely go for the Topomax and see if they can add an anti anxiety – if you need it – (I did – but I teach middle school – haha ) – then – when you do get a migraine – try the maxalt – I take Replax – it works for me – then, if you are not getting anywhere within 20 minutes, take some benedryl – about 25 mg – with some advil about 200 – 400 mg). Then if after another 20 minutes you still feel no relief, do another maxalt/ replax and the rescue med – this should do the trick. I just saw my neurologist and this is the cocktail she told me to do. LAST but not least – if after all of this you are not getting any relief – I would have a MRI done of your neck and spine curve – they tested me for chiari syndrome – I was negative, but did find out I have some bulging disks and am having some physical therapy for that.

    Sorry that this was so long – but having been there done that – I truly can feel your pain – also – drink LOTS of water – AND did you try the 400 mg of riboflavin???

    Okay – enough – get some sleep and rest – dark room – ice and heat – let us know what works – call your doc – you can always go in to the hospital and actually get some rest and relief with some good drugs, and a sleeping aid *grin* whatever works!!!!

  • 28 Cairn // Jun 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    I agree with the others about the blood pressure thing. I think my mom is on something having to do with that. I will ask! Thank goodness I have only had two migraines, but one was behind the eye and not fun. Sending hugs!!!

  • 29 haus // Jun 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    She’s little. I say, let her do her thing. She’s not going to turn into a terror if she won’t let you hold her upside down.

    Are you reading one of the monk dog training books? I like those.

    Hope the head is better. :(

  • 30 Amy in StL // Jun 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    This post makes me want to go home and cuddle Oscar, my dog. I hold him upside down all the time in my arms, I call it babydog….Hey, I have no kids, what?