My CranioCradle Review and Meclizine

My CranioCradle Review and Meclizine

The CranioCradle review is towards the end, sorry.

Christmas Eve was horrible. I was capital-D Depressed because of, well, all the things, and my pain was an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10. Dan decided we should put Boomer in the back seat of the car and go hunting for Candy Cane Lane, a local neighborhood here in Urbana where the homeowners get serious about decorating with lights.

“Can you slow down a little when there aren’t other cars?” I asked. “It takes me so long to get my eyes to focused.” Dan tried to accommodate my secret nystagmus, vertigo, and tinnitus sauce, but it was pretty hopeless. And what was supposed to be fun started making me kind of sad.

Then we passed a house with red, white, and blue lights in the shape of an American flag, and I just started bitching. “Twenty bucks says the couple that lives there spent the last four years telling everyone who ever criticized 45* or his policies not to make everything political.”

I tried to enjoy the other displays. Some tacky but cheerful. Others just tastefully simple and elegant. But after thirty minutes of craning my neck at moving targets and flashing bulbs, I was forcing myself to take deep breaths and wondering if I was going to need one of the barf bags in the glove compartment. Then we passed a house with the candy canes blinking so fast…

“I think I’m going to have a seizure,” I said to Dan.

I wasn’t making light of anything when I said it. I felt so weird just then.

After 20 or 30 minutes of riding shotgun, I couldn’t move my neck. It just locked up on me. My muscles were so tight I wanted to cry. They were pinching nerves so tight I had lightning bolt pain running down the outsides of my legs to my knees. I stumbled through the door and headed straight for bed, asking Dan if he could find me the bottle of Meclizine that my palliative care doc had prescribed as an as-needed rescue med for when the dizziness got to be too much.

My history with prescription drugs being what it is, I’d never taken one. But Christmas Eve I was so desperate for relief, I decided to throw one down.

Much to my relief, it worked. The room stopped spinning around me, the tinnitus quieted, and the nausea faded. O, Holy Night! I feel asleep watching a man restore an old railroad emergency lamp on YouTube.

Christmas morning, I woke up feeling weirdly optimistic. My neck wasn’t in good shape, but it was in better shape. I took it easy and decided to look for adaptive silverware on the internet. I popped open an OT/PT website that had been recommended to me and started browsing everything from paraffin baths to finger splints when I came across a shop listing for the CranioCradle.

“Oh yeah,” I thought to myself. “I bought one of those on Amazon back when everyone was telling me I had fibro.” (It was recommended in one of many books I read about fibromyalgia. I don’t remember for certain, but I think it was in The FibroManual: A Complete Fibromyalgia Treatment Guide for You and Your Doctor.)

Anyway, seeing the CranioCradle made me think maybe I should try it again. After brain surgery I was cautioned to be very careful where my head an neck were concerned. So I put the thing out of sight and kind of forgot about it. But seeing it again—and on the website of a medical device supplier—made me think it might be time to dig it out. Close to four years had passed since my brain surgery, and anyway it was more ergonomic and comfortable than the headrest on an MRI table, and I’ve had my head in plenty of those.

I spent three hours with my neck cradled on Christmas Day, and have been using it for about 30 minutes, three times a day since then. And the muscles are finally starting to loosen. I honestly thought I’d die with my rock-hard trapezius. That one day they’d cremate me and find a solid block of forged steel covered in ashes. But the CranioCradle is doing something.

It’s like a foam roller in that it puts pressure on the muscles until they kind of snap out of this permanent spasm. The difference is there’s no motion involved. And if it can unlock my muscles? Let me just say that my brain surgeon (the man who pulled them out of my head and laid them to the side so he could biospy my tumor) opined, “I’ve never seen anything like ’em. Those are serious muscles.”

Now, neither the meclizine or the CranioCradle are Christmas miracles in the sense that I’m suddenly cured of dizziness and pain. The miracle is in just finding relief for a few moments a day.

The neck, shoulder and back muscles (I position the CrandioCradle in different locations along my spine, because I’m perpetually tweaked from the base of my head to the top of my butt crack) are susceptible to painful spasming all the time, because tension is my body’s first reaction to the tumor-induced nerve pain. So I have to spend a lot of time using the cradle. More time than most people have in a day, I’d wager.

But my mood has improved so much just having a few moments a day not writhing in intolerable pain. I have hope and ideas for the new year. And I’m optimistic and full of ideas and the desire to create things. I guess I just felt compelled to share a bit of good news.

And now that I’ve been hunched over my laptop typing and I can feel the clenching kicking in, it’s time to turn on the heated mattress pad and melt some muscles.

If I don’t write and update post again before the New Year (and I don’t think I will) have a Happy New Year. Stay safe. Be kind to strangers. Hug your people. I hope in 2021 you will have everything you need.

Zentangle Doodle Art & Stuff

Zentangle Doodle Art & Stuff

I’d like to invite you to draw Zentangle doodle art with me today. But first, an update for everyone who’s morbidly curious about the woman with the brain tumor: I’m still here. 🙂

It’s 46 °F in Urbana right now, and it’s supposed to be cloudy and rainy for the next couple of days. I checked the weather app on my phone just to be sure I wasn’t lying to you all about the forecast, but just know that my body already told me yesterday we were in for some crappy weather.

I took my last dose of edibles (a chocolate peanut butter indica candy bar) last night to quiet the loudest of the aches and pains, and my pain level is still tolerable this morning. But I know that will be wearing off shortly. I can already feel the future settling in.

I have some oils and a couple of loose joints, but they are just not as effective as edibles for me. I really wish the dispensary would go back to curbside service right now. I can’t describe how badly I do not want to be inside the dispensary. Not only do I not want to brush my pandemic hair, put on actual pants, and increase my chances of being exposed to Covid-19. I just don’t want to do people-ing today.

Might they bring my order to my car if I call and ask nicely and explain that I’m a med patient? Yeah, maybe. But I hate the phone, too. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m going to be using up my vape and tincture remnants because I’m having trouble shaking off this depressive mood.

So let’s talk about something else instead. Like my YouTube channel. I didn’t post anything for the entire month of November because my creative resources were entirely drained after the Inktober doodle art videos , but I’ve posted twice so far in December. Go me!

One thing that motivated me to start drawing and recording again was buying the first-ever Archer & Olive subscription box. (They gave me a referral link. Use it to get 15% off if you’re in the market for some premium bujo goodies: http://archerandolive.refr.cc/emilysuess)

The subscription box is a limited-supply quarterly thing (you can watch me unbox the contents here) that cost about $70. I would normally feel guilty about spending that much money on notebook and stationery supplies, but 1.) I just deserve to be happy sometimes, and 2.) I am confident it’ll help me grow my YouTube channel.

So anyway, the unboxing video didn’t perform so well. I actually had a net loss of subscribers the day I posted it. And that bummed me out. It’s not that I need every video I make to do well, but because the video was outside of my usual it took me longer than usual to edit it. Plus there was a voiceover with it, and that adds about 4 extra hours of work. There’s definitely something deflating about putting all your very limited effort into something that you’re super geeked about only to have the world be like, “meh.”

(But don’t feel sorry for me. I posted 9 Easy Zentangle Patterns for Beginners – Organic and Botanical Patterns a little over 48 hours ago, and it’s doing really well.) It features the patterns Kiss, Floral Waves, Fungees, Pearl Pod, Anooka, Flory, Flos, Alcatraz, and Dicentra.

I plan to keep doing the bullet journal videos, though, because bullet journaling is what’s going to help me organize the rest of the content I produce. I figure I might as well have to camera rolling while I’m doing it. The #bujo community on YouTube is huge, and it seems like such a great fit with Zentangling. Anyway, I’m excited about it, even if no one else is at the moment.

Anyway, there’s a new Zentangle-only video up today for Patrons (tomorrow for everyone else). If you could use some simple, cheerful art to brighten your day, you will probably really enjoy this one featuring the pattern Alcatraz by Diana E. Marshall. In it I draw the Zentangle art at the top of this page. It’s not an overly intricate tile, so it’s a good Zentangle to try if you don’t consider yourself artsy but still want to Zentangle with me.

TGIF, folks!

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