Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Why Headache

I've been trying to figure out my headaches for a while now, and I think I might have reached, if not the answer, then an answer that should help me have less of them. I know that I have a lot of tension in my neck, especially on the left side. I know that I tend to have headaches on that side that radiate from my face down my neck, sometimes including the temple, sometimes including the right side, but mostly just a direct line from facial sinuses to neck and shoulder.

What I didn't know, until my husband told me a couple weeks ago, was that I've been grinding my teeth in my sleep. He insisted that I order a mouth guard online as soon as possible, and I did - though I was tempted to just wait until my dentist appointment the next week. Ambrose considers that the best mouth guards are the ones that you heat and mold to your own teeth, and that the ones from the dentist are probably a rip off.

On the other hand, I do have dental insurance so I might as well use it.

I readily believed Ambrose when he told me that he woke up to hear me loudly grinding my teeth. It's not only the headaches, but that for most of my life, my mom has worn a night guard because she grinds her teeth. I guess I get to blame her for it :)

When I did to go the dentist, it was time for a panographic x-ray. And that x-ray revealed that not only have I been grinding my teeth, resulting in some wear on the surfaces, but I've been grinding my jaw, resulting in a visible difference between my right and left side in the bones. As the hygienist pointed out, on the right, the bone was nice and round, while on the left it was narrower and pointier.

The dentist recommended going with a night guard from them because the one I had was chewy, and the tendency people have when something chewy is in their mouth is to chew it. That logic seemed sound to me, so I asked them to check with my insurance to see if I have coverage for a night guard.

Then, of course, I checked my coverage online, and after about 30 minutes of trying to figure out where I could view my actual dental coverage contract and what the technical term for a night guard is (occlusal guard, fancy), I found that I do have coverage for it, and that it will probably come out to paying the same as for a premium one I could buy online. It depends on how much my dentist charges. But it's nice the insurance will cover something.

Ambrose was pretty pleased with himself when I told him that the dentist had confirmed his suspicions about the teeth grinding. He's been calling me gnasher.

Since I've been wearing the mouth guard that the dentist doesn't approve of, I've been feeling better. Only one headache (on the day I went to the dentist). And it feels like the muscles on the left side of my neck are releasing some tension. And though the headaches haven't gone away completely yet, they don't feel quite as severe as before I started wearing the mouth guard overnight. I'm ready to take the plunge on the night guard, even if it means I'm turning out like my mom.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rain Coming Down

Last week, we had some thunderstorms. On Thursday night, just as Ambrose and I were getting ready for bed, the lights flickered on and off. For a moment, it was an annoyance. Then they flickered again, and finally faded. 

We could still hear the wind outside. The rain hadn't started falling yet, so I'm not sure why the power went out. Inside the apartment, it was eerily quiet and dark. You don't realize just how much electronic noise is going on around you until it is all silenced. No humming from the fridge or the computer. No whirring from the fans. I kind of liked it, though I was concerned about the food in the fridge and the freezer. 

I tried to check and see if Idaho Power had any information on the outage, but although I could pull up their website, it had no reported outages. I thought about making a report, but it was bedtime, so I plugged my phone into Ambrose's power bank and put it on my nightstand with two alarms set - just in case I slept through the 4:30 CrossFit wakeup call. The phone probably had enough battery to last overnight, but it was nice to be able to charge it up with the power bank. 

When I woke up during the night, I saw the power was back on, and although I don't like to wake up enough to check the time during the night, I did look at the phone time and the flashing clock time so I could guess that it had been out for about three hours. 

As I tried to fall back to sleep, I could hear noises. Something from outside. It slowly resolved into singing and drumming that I guess was from my neighbors. I didn't have the energy to get up and yell at them. Well, I wouldn't have yelled. Politely asked? Rudely asked. Yes, that's probably how I would have handled it. Instead, I wrapped my pillow around my ears and went back to sleep. 

The wind tore the cover off of our apartment's lamppost. 

These mushrooms sure liked the moisture.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Diet Confusion

After my solo hike revealed that the bars I bought to have more fiber in my diet made me pretty sick when I abruptly started eating them again, I kind of started to toss my whole diet plan out the window.

What do I mean by kind of? Well, I'm not actively seeking out more fiber in my diet. But I have tossed some of the rules out the window. For example, Ambrose bought some black beans and coconut rice dehydrated meals for our Queens River trip. And I hadn't eaten beans for months because of the whole fiber elimination. But I did alright with them on that trip.

So I decided that I could have myself some blueberries from the farm stand. And I haven't been quite so strict with certain foods. I have found that fresh and frozen pineapple does not sit well with me, though the kind that comes on pizza seemed to do okay. And beer hasn't been giving me stomach problems either.

I am going to move forward with trying to have moderate fiber intake and see how my body does. If I find a food that doesn't sit well, I'll take note and avoid it. I didn't find that the low fiber diet was actually helping all that much. It seems more like I have to work on moderation and pay attention to what I ate recently when I have stomach trouble.

Overall, I feel a lot more in control when it comes to my stomach pain, even though I stopped tracking my food and bowel movements when I went on my solo trip and never really started back up. I'm pooping regularly enough and while I could probably be eating more healthily, I'm not overly concerned at this point with tracking. The tracking itself becomes a stressor and I'm going to try and avoid those as much as I can as the backpacking season has wound down and my opportunities to destress in nature become more limited.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Unexpected Delay

Over the weekend, I volunteered to do trail work with the Idaho Trails Association. That work was fun, and I had a great time. But this post is not about that.

There was an accident on Idaho 21 on Sunday afternoon between Boise and Idaho City.

That's the only paved road that goes from Idaho City to Boise. And it's a crowded road on a summer Sunday afternoon with folks recreating along the Middle Fork of the Boise River and myriad other places. All that traffic got bottled up, and I was in that mess.

I left Idaho City by 4 pm, and I should have been home around 5. Instead, I saw a fire truck stopping traffic around a historical marker on the side of the road. The man who went with it told me that the road would be closed for 4, maybe 5 hours and I could wait or I could try to go around. I asked how to get to Boise and he said I could take Robie Creek Road to Rocky Canyon Road, or backtrack to Idaho City and go around the long way to Horseshoe Bend and then Boise.

I wasn't confident in taking Robie Creek, so I parked instead of turning around. I also parked because I knew another woman from the trail crew was close behind me and I wanted to touch base with her before moving on. After hanging out for a while, we decided to try Robie Creek.

I'd never been on that road before, and I knew that it should get me back to Boise, but my gazette showed me that it would do so by way of Shaw Mountain Road, which I know is not a road I would ordinarily want to take my Ford Focus on. But we took it up on the Magruder Corridor, so I supposed that I could make it work. And there were a lot of people going that way...

We drove by a couple of parks, and then went off pavement, following a dusty line of traffic. the car in front of me tended to drive in the middle of the road, which freaked me out a bit because there was traffic coming the other way.

As it turned out, too much traffic.

It took a while for the truth to come out. First we heard there was a dead end. A professional looking cyclist rode by and I asked him if he knew where he was an if the road went to Boise. He said that it did. So we drove on.

And then I heard that a truck went off a cliff up ahead and everyone was turning around.

But we went on.

Until we heard that two trucks with trailers had tried to pass each other and ended up jack-knifing, thereby completely blocking the road. Then it was time to turn around while we still could.

I spun out a few times trying to get my car to move forward up the incline on the gravel, but I managed not to roll backwards into my friend's car - just barely. And as we drove back towards 21, there was a bit more stopping for reasons unknown. During one of the stops I got out and asked my friend to stop with me at the park instead of going back to 21.

I executed an erratic tactical maneuver to get to an open parking spot, and we went to the park to use the restrooms and get in the water. Because we weren't getting over to Boise any time soon, so why sit in a car when there was a gorgeous park?

And, after what felt like too long of a wait, but wasn't as long as it could have been, we heard someone yelling that the Robie Creek road was clear. We walked over towards the cars, and by the time we got there, someone else said that 21 was open.

I got home by 7:30.

So many times, I've taken 21 home after spending time out in the wilderness or the forest. And I've taken it for granted that it would be open and allow me to go through. I had no cell service out there. No way to tell my husband that it wasn't me in the accident. And then, one day, someone drives across the center line and traffic gets stopped for hours.

And two people died.

So I'll complain about the delay, but I am so grateful to have made it home safely.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Driving in Idaho

After my solo trip, Ambrose and I drove from Big Creek, ID to Elk City, ID by way of McCall, Riggins and Grangeville. I took a few pictures, though I didn't get really into it until we started driving on Idaho route 14. 

We stopped at this rest area to make some lunch and take a break from driving.

I was quite surprised to find a pay phone here.

50 cents for a phone call - I did check for dial tone, but it was really staticky.

We saw a lot of people having fun in the river as we drove on 14.

There's some serious low clearance on this road.

The river kept getting shallower, but still beautiful.

No need to worry about clearance with this rock.

The trees were getting lower - almost to Elk City.

No more river views/ 
Approaching Elk City, ID.

We had to slow down a bit.

They  have a tank.

French Gulch campsite, outside of Elk City on the way to the Magruder Corridor.

I really enjoyed driving around Idaho, and I was glad to see more of the state than just the Boise area. After we made it to Dry Saddle on the Magruder Corridor, we ended up continuing the road trip with a drive to Lewiston, ID, and then on to Clarkston and ended up going home by way of Oregon, stopping to camp at Woodland campsite in that state.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Getting Enough Water

First for weight loss purposes, and then because of the IBS diagnosis, I have spent the last couple years trying to drink large quantities of water each day. A gallon a day, sometimes more. And, during the same period, I've had an increasing number of headaches.

The other day, I forgot my water bottle at home when I went to work. Typically, I'll fill up a quart Nalgene bottle with hot water in the morning and make an herbal tea to drink. I count herbal teas as water since they're pretty much flavored water. I'd usually drink two of those before lunch and at least one after, then another quart after getting home from work. If I exercised, then I'd add a sports drink type thing to try and keep my electrolytes up.

But without the Nalgene bottle, I ended up drinking a lot less altogether. Maybe 16 ounces of tea in the morning. Maybe a quart of water the rest of the day. And, unlike a lot of work days, I didn't get a headache. So I decided to try consciously reducing my water intake as an experiment, and last week was the first week in a long time that I didn't get a single horrible headache at work.

So maybe my quest to "stay hydrated" has backfired on me. It's definitely an experiment that I'm going to be continuing to try and find out what the right balance of water is for me to drink in a day. I'm going to pay attention and try to figure it out without getting constipated or getting headaches.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


When I was in high school, I didn't like my eyebrows. Too thick, a tendency to grow together, and just so dark. But I also didn't like makeup and other such feminine rituals. My mother never taught me much about such routines, though she wore makeup and used Clinique cleansers and lotions. So I never really had one, but I've been plucking my brows for about the last decade.

When I first got them done to the point that I liked them, a nice little swooping curve, I continued to pluck at that line and never looked back.

But I have started to have trouble with plucking the hairs. The left eyebrow especially gives me problems, with hairs being harder to pull and a tendency towards ingrown hairs. My eyesight is poor enough that I need to be holding a mirror about two inches from my brow with one hand while wielding the tweezers in my right. It's not comfortable.

And so, after a long backpacking trip where I didn't tweeze at all, I decided to see what the heck I look like without plucking. It's not all grown in yet, but I am taking it as a sign that the day after I decided to try this, a white brow hair appeared, as if out of nowhere.

I figure, if I don't like how it looks, then I can spoil myself with a professional waxing or something to get back to the plucked style. Or, I might discover that the brows that I used to consider ungainly and too thick are just... me.