Tag Archives: excedrin

Dying For a Drink…of Coke

I’m trying to limit my caffeine intake, and it’s killing me. Using less caffeine is probably why I’m up at 1am blogging (and probably why I’ll regret it in the morning).

I developed a theory about why I haven’t felt well over about the past two weeks, and I’m trying to test it/eliminate the issue.

I’ve written a couple of times that I’ve been experiencing neck pain. It’s really just pain on the upper left side of my body, period, i.e. neck, shoulder, ear and headaches. This is not the first time I’ve had this issue, although I don’t really remember having neck pain to this extent–the problem was more so the earaches. I had pain in both ears, but mainly in the left ear. I have head pain often because I suffer from migraines, so that’s nothing new.

A couple of years ago, or maybe a year and a half ago, I went to a few doctors because of the earache. I was–apparently, incorrectly–diagnosed with having an ear infection. I received antibiotics, and the antibiotics seemed to help. But pretty soon after they were gone, I’d have ear pain again. I went to an ear specialist, and they ran all kinds of tests…only to tell me nothing was wrong with my ears and to give me no medication or answers. The specialist did throw out there that it might be TMJ and asked if I grind my teeth during my sleep, but he really seemed to have no idea.

Some time after that, I went to my dentist for a cleaning. At the end, the dentist asked if anything else was going on, which is unusual because the people there have never done that. I’d forgotten about what the ear specialist said until I was asked that, and I mentioned the ear pain. She had the dentist who owns the office come in. They did a quick test and told me it does sound like I have TMJ. The owner prescribed me a muscle relaxant–apparently what happens with me is I have muscle spasms and my ear muscles tighten up, and I know that I clench my teeth a lot when I’m awake–and he said if the problem continues to come see him for a night guard. I don’t think a night guard will help me, since I clench my teeth throughout the day and tense my muscles out of stress/anger. In short, if I have to work a job, I’m going to clench my teeth and tense my muscles. It’s not just during my sleep, if at all during my sleep.

The muscle relaxant seemed to help pretty quickly. I have had ear pain off and on since then, but not like what inspired me to go to the doctor. Until now. The problem is the muscle relaxant was prescribed for a one-time go. And I have exactly one pill left.

Like I wrote a couple of posts ago, I didn’t and don’t think the current neck pain is just from stress like it usually is. I realized that there’s a bit of a correlation, though, between all this crap starting up and my having more caffeine. I have been trying different things that will help me not feel dead for the first few hours I’m at work, and nothing was really helping. I had said that I didn’t want to go to anything that had caffeine in it, but it started to seem as if nothing else would work. So, I tried the Super C Energy berry mix, which has caffeine, a bunch of vitamins and a few other things in it. It actually does help me in the mornings, and it doesn’t make me sick like most other “energy” things with caffeine in it did.

But!

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I drink Coke and other sodas that have caffeine in them. I also swear by Excedrin for my migraines, which has caffeine in it. So, drinking Super C every weekday adds basically another full drink with caffeine to my days. I’m thinking that extra drink is one drink too many. My theory is all that caffeine is contributing to my having muscle spasms, which I’m starting to actually feel in other parts of my body, i.e. my feet and my face. But am I willing to go back to feeling like death every day at work for 3 or so hours? Uh, no. When I’m tired and can’t think, it makes my already-poor performance at work worse.

Instead, I’m drinking the Super C at work and not drinking sodas…which is torture. And, instead, I am even more tired when I get home. I basically took a five-hour “nap” after work, waking up after midnight (and I’m still tired). But so far, I’m not having the same level of pain. And I probably needed that nap to make me stop thinking about the Coke that I wanted. Unfortunately, now I am sitting in bed thinking about the Coke that I want. I’ve been drinking water in its place, which does nothing to curb my desire for Coke and other sodas. But it’s giving me the hydration that I probably need.

This is an issue I didn’t have at my last job, i.e. needing a lot of help to wake up mentally in the morning, because that job was far more active. The work I did woke me up. But at this job, I sit around waiting for phone calls, emails and staring at computer screens. At the job I had when I first experienced earaches, there was a lot of sitting around doing nothing. And it was overnight, so it wasn’t easy to stay awake, although it was better than my current job since I am naturally a night owl and not a morning person. They’re both jobs that allow me to sit around and drink caffeinated beverages at work whereas my last job wasn’t like that.

So, I’m going to give this a try for a while and see how it works. Thankfully, the weekend is coming, which means I can drink soda (not to mention I won’t have to go to work).

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Finding the Energy for Life

Tomorrow, I will officially be out of training at work. This means I have to come into work an hour earlier because I am no longer coming in on the same shift as the person who was training me. I am going to my own shift.

Just as I was getting used to my new day-to-day schedule, which was making it easier to not want to come home and just fall on my face. Now there’s a change that requires getting up even earlier than I have been. I’m almost positive this will throw me back into wanting to fall on my face within a couple of hours of getting home from work.

Truth be told, there are so many things I’ve created for myself that I “need” to do when I get home from work. I just never feel like it. Many of them relate to things that, in theory, I really want…or they, at least, would help me get closer to living the kind of life I’d prefer to be living. Learning more about programming and investing are two biggies. But sitting down and making myself learn anything has been a challenge ever since I spent two months studying for the bar exam. I had my fill of book learning with that, and I have been just about book-brain dead ever since…to the point of not even having sat for any IT certification exams yet. I can’t even finish reading books for fun anymore.

The other thing that coincided with studying for the bar exam, though, is struggling to find energy on a regular basis. While I was studying for the bar exam, I decided to try 5-hour Energy drink. It worked for a very little while, and then it did nothing for me. Since then, it’s been an on and off quest to find something that will help me make it through the day. When I was working at the hotel, I actually tried caffeine pills. Of course, I did think about that episode of Saved By the Bell when Jessie got addicted to caffeine pills. But that didn’t stop me from going to Walgreen’s and getting some. I don’t see how anyone could get addicted to those (I say the same for Oxycontin, too). They totally made me feel sick to my stomach, they made my head feel weird and, if I remember correctly, I could smell blood in my nasal passages. And they didn’t really work that well for me after a short period of time, either, and I think they only picked me up for about 4 hours when they did work. Yeah, it wasn’t long before I quit taking those.

Then I tried those Emergen-c vitamin C packets (that come with a lot of other vitamins in them, as well). They didn’t really seem to do anything. A lot of people feel that they help keep them from getting sick, and I’m really not sure it even did that.

Then I did something that I never thought I’d do–I drank coffee. Well…as much of it as I could tolerate. I might be alone here, but I really think coffee is gross. It also makes your breath smell. Coffee is what most of the guys at my job use to keep them going, and the guy who was training me…gosh, when he spoke, all I could smell was coffee. So anyway…yeah, I got desperate enough to try yucky coffee, and, I must say–you don’t even have to drink a full cup to get a little perk. Still, I couldn’t tolerate the taste enough to keep drinking even a little bit. I would probably have to say the same for stuff like green tea. Plus, with coffee, I’m too lazy to have to make it, first of all. And if it’s made already, I have to mix it to where I can tolerate it–which I’m too lazy for–and it’s impossible because I’d have to pour all of the sugar in the world in a cup for it to be tolerable.

I also have to say that the one thing that does help me without making me sick (or gag) is taking Excedrin, because Excedrin has caffeine in it. But, for some reason, I guess caffeine with aspirin and acetaminophen doesn’t make me feel horrible the way straight-up caffeine pills do. This is something I discovered just due to being a migraine sufferer. Excedrin got me through my last job in terms of energy because I had migraines pretty much daily at that job. Either that, or they were tension headaches, which I would consider a form of migraine. But I don’t have headaches or migraines to the same degree on my new job as I did at my last one.

So, how to not just sit at my desk and look like a catatonic schizo?

Well, I went to Walgreen’s again, but this time looking for stuff that was a little more natural…perhaps something with a lot of B vitamins in it. I will not try anything that has caffeine in it, except for Excedrin, and I don’t trust most other energy drinks. I decided to give Emergen-c another shot. I’m still not sure it works. I drink it on the way to work and for the first hour or two while I’m at work. I notice that I start to feel awake about 2 or 3 hours into work, but I don’t know if this is the drink or if it’s just a function of my having been awake and at work for a few hours. I will say, though, that the last couple of days I went to work with nothing to drink, and I completely felt like falling on my face until 3 or so hours into work vs just yawning a lot when I have the drink.

Needless to say, I’m not sure I’m done looking for something that will give me that extra boost. There is a smoothie shop next door to where I work. I did try one of those smoothies, one that comes with an energy boost in it, but I didn’t much care for the taste and I’m not sure it worked. I also drank some of that lame vitamin water. Excedrin is still the one [tolerable] thing with which I know I feel different and I know why I feel different, but I can’t just take Excedrin every day. And I really would like something that is more on the healthy side.

There is one other thing that I think would help me–getting more exercise. I think this would help not only with energy but also with headaches and migraines and stress. It did in the past, after all. I haven’t worked out in a while because, frankly, I hate exercise machines. They are boring. They’re something I just cannot stick with. I do like to play sports, though. I could play basketball almost daily, and I used to. To that end, I’m trying to push my father to build a basketball court of sorts in the backyard. Er…just found out that will be about $2000. But I still want to have this done. I played basketball last weekend, and I felt great afterwards. Pained…but great.

How do you get your energy every day?

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