Posted by: cynewulffe | November 5, 2009

Nasal Spray Headache

I happened to miss a dose of my nasal spray for allergies. I had been having headaches every day for a week.

It all started with allergies that couldn’t be helped with modifications around the home, or from taking a prescription allergy pill. After trying all of the OTC meds and prescription ones, I settled on Allegra and it has worked better than all the others…except Zirtec. When Zirtec went to generic, I began to use it and experienced a slight improvement in my symptoms: itchy eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and congestion.

Remember that congestion leads to the blockage of sinus draining.

If your sinus cavities cannot drain well, pressure builds up causing horrible headaches, and possible infections.

But then, the allergy symptoms became worse-leading to continual congestion and sinus build up. After going to the doctor again, we began Round 2: nasal sprays.Nasal sprays seem to take longer to work before you notice effects. But, the itchiness stopped (which was really bad) and the congestion didn’t come so much of the time.

And then the symptoms worsened again. We tried different nasal sprays but they gave me headaches. I should have remembered this fact! So, now that I’ve had surgery and don’t have to deal with sinus headaches anymore, I began to all of a sudden notice these bad headaches that grew throughout the day. I thought about “tension” headaches but I’m a laid back person and life is smooth right now. I tried caffeine lately: drinking it more slowly so it wouldn’t rush into my system; even drinking less for a few days. No change.

Then I remembered that last week I finished my nasal spray and took another down from the cupboard. This one was in a different colored bottle (batch) but the same type. Also, during the last few weeks I’ve been adjusting when I do my sinus rinses (only one in the late evening). I’ve been taking the nasal spray in the morning (because it loses its efficacy if taken near the time of a sinus rinse due to the salt) and more consistently.

I stopped taking the nasal spray three days ago and haven’t had a headache since. I’m assuming that it was either due to the spray or due to taking it in the morning, OR due to taking it very consistently the last few weeks.

But who wants to experiment? That’s where I am right now.

Posted by: cynewulffe | October 31, 2009

Sensitive to Smells

I was spraying for bugs a few days ago. I remembered how when I sprayed with the same chemical in years before, it would have a distinct smell and cause me to feel a chemical reaction within my head. I usually wore a mask and worked to achieve good ventilation.

This time when I began, I purposely tried to stimulate my self  in a safe way in order to see the type of reaction I would get.

I felt a similar feeling as when my nose was healing inside. I felt a reaction up in my nostril as if a whole bunch of nerve endings were charging or firing. It’s not unpleasant, just weird. It almost feels like an “alien” body is entering. Then, my nose started to run, and I sneezed violently. Similar in ways to a sinus infection where a sinus cavity drains and pushes out a foreign body.

What could this mean for me? Well, I think it means that I’m still healing, that my nerves and olfactory system is still working its way back to normal, and that hopefully I will be at full strength again. Right now my taste is nice at 60%: especially with lemon, peach, orange, vanilla, and chocolate tastes. Blueberry, strawberry, and cheesy things still don’t work well. I would say that my smell ability is at 15%.

Posted by: cynewulffe | October 27, 2009

An H1N1 Headache

I see the attendance records of over 1200 students in my school. For the past 3 weeks, between 7-10% of the students have been absent each day. In most cases, students miss at least 3 days of school. Most of the complaints rotate on a headache, a fever, and some vomiting. The headache tends to be one of the first symptoms, along with a fever.

Hand washing, wipes, and constant disinfection are our solutions. Hand shaking and sharing objects are a no-no.

In my 13 years of teaching, I’ve never seen so many students out. It’s very, very difficult to maintain a consistent level of scope and sequence (timely instruction) with such high levels of students gone. The students tend to get sick in groups. Many times, groups of students will get sick so a certain class will be hit hard, a team, or grade level in a school.

An encouraging trend is the supportive administration, teachers and parents working hard to help each other, and friendly and hard-working students.

Posted by: cynewulffe | October 26, 2009

Caffeine headache. Gotcha!

I was surfing the net trying to explore a little about headaches caused by caffeine. The following sites had great articles: and

I’ve always known that if you go off caffeine, it can cause headaches. This usually happens if I’ve had a lot of coffee on a Friday and then I sleep in on Saturday. Bang!

But what if you get the headache right after you drink coffee?

Coffee is a stimulant that activates, or over-activates your adrenal system. If you have certain medical conditions or take antidepressants or blood pressure meds, it may boost your problems. This is what is happening to me if I drink 2 cups. Occasionally, boom! The headache lasts all day and no pain med will get rid of it.

It’s an interesting predicament because adding caffeine to pain meds boosts their effectiveness, and many pain meds include up to 40% caffeine.

Once again, it’s an individual case-by-case situation that you have to grasp. My situation involves this type of headache once in a while. I cringe when I think of just three years ago and how I would have caffeine, tension, migraine, sinus, and pain headaches without knowing which was which and how to resolve any of them.

Posted by: cynewulffe | October 25, 2009

Occasional Smells

Today I smelled three things: one whiff of lumber at Home Depot (but not at Lowes when I walked through the same type of aisles), a candle on the stove, and onions when I sliced them. I guess that’s an improvement over not noticing any smells on most days. It’s been 4 months since maxillary sinus surgery, I’m not currently congested, but I don’t understand why I can’t smell. I guess it’s getting better…but very very slowly. Like super slug speed.

I was the most surprised at Home Depot because I wasn’t expecting it. It’s interesting how a smell connects with your experiences in the past, and certain memories. It’s one way that we associate or make connections with those things and people around us.

I was also surprised by onions that I briefly smelled. I wasn’t expecting it. I used to smell them all the time, but now my experience is to smell nothing. So when I do, it’s a slight shock.

I wish it wasn’t so.

Posted by: cynewulffe | October 16, 2009

Weekly Update

I’ve determined to move to a mountain when I move next. Away from smog and chemicals, away from unknown pollutants, away from waves of pollen that sweep down the valley floor, away from the crops of trees and flowers and plants that are around me all day. A mountain top. I used to live on one and had very few problems. Of course that could change, but I’d rather have mold or fungus than allergies to grasses and trees. Yes, a mountain has trees, but they tend to be more hardwoods and less ornamental.

I’ve been sneezing some off and on this week and a little congested because of it, off and on. My bronchitis (cough) is much better and I can breathe and talk with little aggravation. Singing, talking for a while, and mornings are a little rough at first.

This next week I’m going to try breathing through my nose more as I eat. I find this already helps some to taste better. Also, I will eat my food warm or hot instead of cold, because it helps me taste better as well. Maybe the steam?

Posted by: cynewulffe | October 12, 2009

Article Review: Impaired Smell after Sinus Surgery

Observational research was conducted by HR Brenner in 2003.

Impaired sense of smell in patients with nasal surgery.

The research looked at how often olfactory issues come up after nasal or paranasal sinus surgery.  The 6 month study of 184 subjects gave pre and post assessments that involved a subjective questionnaire and an objective smell test.

The results show that no patients developed anosmia (complete loss of smell) while about 3% developed an awareness of some type of loss of smell.

Not much, unless you’re one of the 3 in 100.

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