Monday, May 17, 2010

Wasted Weekend

I work the so-called 9/80 schedule, which means I work nine days over a period of two weeks for a total of 80 hours. Of course, this doesn't include a 25 minute lunch period or the two and a half hours of commuting, which keep me away from home for more than 12 hours a day. The 9/80 schedule, which gives me a three day weekend every other week, is meant to partially compensate for that. Well, since I've been working overtime on a project recently, this past weekend was my first three day weekend in a couple months. This meant that, in accordance with Murphy's Law, a good portion of the weekend was going to be ruined.

I have temporal mandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder or sometimes TMD) in the right side of my jaw, meaning that the cartilage in the joint is damaged. Opening my jaw causes popping and grinding noises that are sometimes loud enough to be heard by people several feet away. It causes constant headaches and pain in the right side of my face, teeth, right eye, and neck. For the most part I've gotten used to it and have learned to appreciate the good days and tolerate the bad. This Saturday, though, was the first time I experienced another common effect of TMD; a full blown migraine complete with light sensitivity, nausea, and vertigo. The day went something like this:

7:00 AM:
I wake up and realize immediately that I'm not going to get far from bed. I retrieve the mp3 player and lay back down. There are rodents in my brain and they're trying to get out.

11:00 AM:
My wife brings soup and crackers. The soup calms my stomach but the act of chewing the crackers aggravates the TMJ, making the headache worse.

11:30 AM:
I take a shower, expecting the hot water to reduce the pain. It does, but only temporarily. The wave of nausea that hits me as I get out of the shower sends me right back to bed.

12:00 PM-1:30 PM:
I sleep through the score to 300 (one of my more energetic movie soundtracks).

2:00 PM:
Feeling a little better, I get out of bed just to end up sitting on the couch and staring straight ahead like a zombie. Someone please remove the rodents from inside my skull.

2:30 PM:
Not wanting to be totally useless, I help clean the house by vacuuming the living room. Did you know that physical exertion makes migraines worse? Now I do. The rodents have found little jackhammers and are working in shifts.

5:00 PM:
The rodents are getting tired and my stomach is calming down a bit. The Internet is my friend because it distracts me.

8:00 PM:
My wife runs to the store and brings back Excedrin.

9:00 PM:
The rodents go into comas from Excedrin poisoning and I return to my usual level of TMJ pain. I'm allowed back into the Land of the Living.

I'm sure the rodents are plotting revenge at this very moment...


  1. You should check out a TMJ specialist and see if they can help you.

  2. I've talked to my dentist and our family physician, but there's not much they could do. Insurance covers very little in the way of TMJ treatments, so I'm reluctant to spend a whole lot of money on a specialist; especially since it seems that TMJ treatment is not often successful. Any more days like Saturday, however, and I just might be willing to be a bit less frugal.



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