Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Puppet and a Swan

Have you ever been around other chronic Migraineurs or people who really get it? I've been around people with Migraine, but never realized how different it is to be around other chronic Migraineurs until last weekend. I have to say, it's really weird to be around not only one person, but a bunch of people that truly understand everything we go through. What's even weirder is that we don't even necessarily have to express what we are going through; they know.

I recently had the honor of being around a group of other people who, unfortunately, personally know Migraines better than anyone I have ever met; actually even way better than I do. It was kind of weird meeting everyone. Although I had never met any of them before, I had 'known' them for a long time.

First, I have to stop here a minute to confess that I still blog anonymously so most of the people there only knew me by my blog name. I felt pseudo embarrassed going up to these other grown women and saying, "Hi, I'm Puppet." I got over it quickly, with a little more color in my face, a chuckle and in reality, I am Puppet. I still love my Puppet name and wouldn't want to change it as I still feel that Migraine is the puppeteer that controls too many aspects of my life.

We were going to have dinner together at a local restaurant which was only a couple of blocks away from the hotel. The weather was nice so we walked there together and made it in one piece! I think it got a little scary after the restaurant door opened - it looked like it was standing room only and all of this loud music came pouring out into the streets. It really wasn't too bad because we had reservations and didn't need to wait too long before being seated. Thank goodness our table was upstairs in a faraway corner of the restaurant. It was a real quiet, pleasant atmosphere.

Not everyone there has Migraine food triggers, but it was interesting to see how everyone needed to negotiate dinner given our little idiosyncrasies either because of different triggers or other health issues. Because of my own food triggers and knowing how long it takes me to study any menu, I actually started analyzing everything I could order way before I got to town by pulling up the menu on-line. This really allowed me to settle in on the best (and only) item for me to order at the restaurant without wasting everyone else’s time.

In the beginning of learning about my food triggers, it definitely took me some time to accept them and sometimes something even happens today where it will dawn on me, all over again, how far I have really come with my food trigger acceptance. The problem with food issues are that they can seem so personal - where you almost take it like it is a personal front 'against' you. In reality, you are much better off just avoiding any foods that are not good for you or you will most likely pay for it.

This dinner was really unlike any other dinner I have ever been to before. Having dinner with people who know more about Migraines than I do made managing through my own triggers so much easier than normal. Yes, I have gone to a fancy Italian restaurant with some friend’s right after I started my second elimination diet where all I had was a glass of water for dinner, but I didn't need any special willpower to make it through this dinner. This was different because everyone there would understand anything Migraine related and no one there needed to go into a big long dissertation on the reasoning behind any decisions we needed to make.

I already knew that the only thing I would have was a glass of water and an entree which would have to be special ordered as to not include any of my big triggers. I basically kept quiet when they asked about ordering the appetizers because I knew I wouldn't be able to have any and I wanted everyone to get whatever they enjoyed without me being a downer. We ended up getting two big platters of antipasto misto; one of which was placed face level in front of me.

It wasn't until a brief exchange with the person next to me that it dawned on me that I didn't need to go into any depth as to why I wasn't eating the appetizer. She asked if I was going to have any. All I needed to say was that it was all a trigger. Her response? Would you like some bread instead? The bread was great and it was an alternate way of participating with the appetizers. Unfortunately, she would have loved to have had some bread, but couldn't because of other food restrictions.

I think you can start to see how interesting the dinner was with all of the give and take that needed to take place, but best of all, no one felt out of place - at least I hope not. Honestly, I felt it was great and that it ended up rejuvenating my strength. I don't feel like such an odd duck any longer; I was more like a swan among many other precious swans!

What kind of substitutions do you need to make for your Migraines or other health issues? What kind of challenges do you face when among others because of your Migraines?



Migrainista said...

I love that you got this experience! I've never physically met someone with crazy out of control migraines like mine before. I imagine it would be a real treat. I've felt judged a time or two when my limitations have caused me to behave outside of social norms.

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Glad you had a good time MP!! It is nice to be with others and not worry about stepping on toes due to health issues.

I have so many dietary restrictions I am sometimes not able to order anything on a menu. Unfortunately I then rely on sweet liquids to get me through a day. Sigh.

MigrainePuppet said...

Migrainista - On the one hand, it was comforting to meet other people just like me, but on the other hand, it was tough to see people struggling to do everyday things. It was nice that no one was being judged and you could see the support all around.

Winny - They really were a great group of people. I think it is usually easy for me to step on others toes when they don't understand. It is tough trying to negotiate through menu's at times, but as long as I can eliminate or substitute things on a menu, I can usually find something now.