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Water, water…

Weirdly, I’ve written the word water for the title of this piece in my drafts, and it just looks wrong. I suddenly cannot read properly, or perhaps spell properly – ??

I’m clearly overthinking again. Always on the lookout for something to worry about, but still, this is – momentarily, at least – more than a little disconcerting.

And has almost made me forget why I wrote the title in the first place… the perils of age!

But yes, I remember now. ‘Water, water…’ is a reference to a new regime upon which I have embarked recently as a further initiative to reduce headaches. I’ve been advised to increase my daily intake of water to three litres, from the three pints I roughly guesstimated on the spur of the moment when the headache consultant asked how much I usually drink.

Three litres is one heck of a lot – believe me, after a week of this I feel practically afloat in my own living room.

It wasn’t quite so bad when the weather was sweltering. I quite easily reached my target. To be honest, I suspect if I bragged about this too much I would be told that rather more than the three litres is needed on such days in order to replace continual gentle leakage from sweat glands all over the body, but anyhow – it is a great deal harder when the weather is dull, rainy and actually rather chilly. This now feels much more like a form of torture (ok, I exaggerate, but it has become a burdensome inconvenience for sure). As per usual when something doesn’t agree with me, I am randomly researching alternative plans so that I can justify not bothering to continue with this eau-so-annoying plan. 

But I conclude that I must give this a fair chance. People have told me that it doesn’t all have to be water. Well, maybe not, and I know that many foodstuffs help to meet the liquid intake requirement, and there are many alternative beverages, but that somehow doesn’t help me much.

All my life, I have been vaguely aware that I consume less than ideal amounts of liquid. We had a range of nasty squashes to flavour our water when I was a child, (initially this was the sickly Welfare Orange I remember collecting from the baby clinic, situated in the old Tithe Barn in our village – I have bizarrely clear visual and olfactory memories of this clinic, which was not as romantic as it perhaps sounds to those of you who were not rural babies), we were forced to drink milk (which I hated to such an extent that my normally law-abiding infant-school self would devise all sorts of plans to get out of drinking it, especially in summer when it was warm and creamy – I am almost heaving at the thought of it now) and were sometimes allowed fizzy pop at the weekend. I’m not sure I ever particularly liked any of it.

My mother regularly exhorted me to drink more until my liquid of choice became Pernod in my mid-teens, and she quietly gave up.

I abandoned tea completely at some point before I became an adult. I’m told I drank it sometimes when younger, but can hardly imagine it now and never touch the stuff  – apart from very occasional instances when it is practically or socially unavoidable, in which case I can just about get through a cup of hot black unsweetened without gagging.

I love coffee, but in the past decade I have reduced my intake to one cup of caffeinated and another one (or two at most) of decaffeinated per day. 

All the rest of my liquid is plain tap water. No calories, no tooth decay, no after-taste, no stains or stickiness if split. Ideal.

So, three litres of water it is.

Filling up another pint glass (approx 500ml if filled to the top). As it is such a miserable day today, I still have 1500ml to go. Partly because I’ve been sitting with an empty glass beside me for hours while writing this. Ho hum.

Water, water everywhere, Ev’ry bloody drop to drink




Hopes and headaches

I have had a little rush of optimism about my headaches. This may be misplaced. The jury is still out.

Having endured chronic migraine all of my adult life, with more and less intense episodes at different times, I have had a few attempts at dealing with it more successfully. In recent years, the availability of Sumatriptan has helped me a great deal, but this is a drug which does not prevent the headaches, it simply gets rid of them once they have arrived. I have found that usually, if I catch the headache early enough, this is completely successful and I weaned myself off the highest dosage a few years ago. But, I was still taking one almost every day, as I usually wake up with a headache. 

In November and December 2020, I was genuinely excited that my headache-free days each month were slightly greater in number than my headache days. This appeared to be a major improvement and I hoped that it heralded a significant reduction for my middle and later years. This is supposedly a ‘thing’ for women when they reach this otherwise frequently problematical time of life. Sadly, most of 2021 has been a complete pain in the head and I finally got round to making a GP appointment. 

I quite like the fact that currently my GP practice is using telephone appointments instead of face-to-face, and these have been useful. I am experimenting with a pain-killing drug which I have tried before but this time I’m hoping to give it a better chance. So far, it has not been a success, but we keep increasing the dose in the hope that it will suddenly settle and become effective.

In the middle of this experiment, a neurological referral magically appeared and I had a longer telephone conversation with a headache specialist. This guy seemed to understand where I was coming from, but began to talk about me being ‘medication dependent’ and explained that I needed to come off the sumatriptan. My heart sank, and I was ready to discount everything he was saying to me – but he was very persuasive and by the end I was enthusiastically agreeing I would follow his suggested regime.

The regime involves going out for my walk in the morning, immediately after breakfast. This is a huge issue – due to my general lack of energy in the mornings and the added doziness brought about by the pain drug. I have so far managed this once (out of three days) with an ‘almost successful’ yesterday when I dragged myself out around 10.30am. Today I did a short walk to the bottom of the garden, and then did the housework instead. I reckon that’s just as energetic and maybe counts because we have lots of windows open in this lovely weather.

Where I have so far failed is on giving up taking the sumatriptan when I feel a headache coming on. I have promised myself that when I genuinely have nothing else important to do, I will try to go without, but so far there have been two days in a row where other important things have got in the way. Hmm – must try harder.

A strange extra tip the consultant gave me: take 3 soluble aspirin (apparently these days known as ‘dispersible’ aspirin – who knew?) dissolved in Coca Cola. I don’t like Coca Cola, but I can drink it if needed, so I have already tried this as a remedy to my headache yesterday. (Took the edge off, but didn’t completely work.)

I realised as I was writing up my diary last night that anyone reading it would be perplexed at my sudden change of personality – “took some aspirin and some coke”. I always was one to invent a more exotic lifestyle for my staid little self.


Achievement morning

It is 10am.

I have already succeeded (I use that word advisedly, and quite probably incorrectly) in the following:

  • Washing the dishes from yesterday evening’s meal, which includes the grill pan after sausages, and a saucepan with mashed potato remnants. Two of my absolute faves.
  • Vacuuming the kitchen floor and under the tables in the breakfast room where the cat seems to shed more fur than he actually wears on a more-than-weekly basis.
  • Mopping the kitchen floor to try and remove the various unexplained stains and smears that most definitely have nothing to do with my culinary catastrophes.
  • Taking in the post (none of it for me) and the milk from the step.
  • Completing my daily diary – for the wrong day. (In fairness to myself, days are pretty much all the same and who will ever care if I have listed my exciting Sainsbury’s trip inaccurately. As long as there is never a police investigation for which evidence will be needed…maybe I should change it after all? Or maybe I have watched too many detective procedurals on TV?)
  • Almost getting rid of today’s headache. Almost. Not completely. Still there. Making me annoyed. Can you tell?

Look on the bright side. I can tick some things off my to-do list and feel better about myself.

Except I don’t. Grrrrr.


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