295-Drinking With the Enemy

Oooh my poor head hurts. I have one of those awful tension headaches that start up on top of your head, slowly move down your neck, into your shoulders and back — and about this time starts to make you nauseous as well. I just took a pair of Excedrine Tension and poured a big glass of cold water — though what I really want is chocolate.

I took the Excedrine Tension because of the label, but I can’t really tell the difference ingredients-wise between it and the Excedrine Migraine. This is probably okay though, since nothing seems to stop my tension headaches besides sitting still in a dark room and waiting for it to go away.

So what do I have to be tense about? Well, nothing really. The irritating thing here is that I did this to myself.

A couple of months ago one of Lena’s crunchy friends (crunchy=”natural/health conscious,” sorta) convinced her that we would be healthier, wealthier, and happier if we stopped buying shampoo, and switched to baking soda mixed with water, with apple-cider vinegar and water as a rinse. After a breaking-in period we decided (together) that this was working really well and we never looked back. We were free from all the chemicals and the cost and felt like we had taken a small yet important first step towards a more holistic lifestyle. Yay us.

Lena has also made the move away from conventional soaps and wants to make her own. I think this is great on a lot of levels, since not only will we be avoiding even more unhealthy contaminants and potential carcinogens, we will also have really cheap Christmas gifts for all of our friends. Unfortunately it was in the soapmaking that the seeds of my plight were born.

See, crunchy soapmakers use something called essential oils instead of weird mad-scientist style alchemical combinations like are most often found in typical soaps. An essential oil is simply a concentrated oil derived from a particular plant that carries its essence, or smell. Lena had been spending some time trying to decide what smells to put into her soaps and had asked my opinions as well. Though many people don’t care for it, I have always loved the way the “patchouli people” smell so I suggested that. We got the oil but the rest of the ingredients for the soap were on order, so we were going to have to wait a bit. This was my undoing.

I thought that since it was going to be in our soap anyway, it would be cool for our patchouli to be in our “un-shampoo” too. So I put a few drops (no more than five!) in both our bottle of water and soda, and our water and vinegar.

It is possible that the people out there who know something about essential oils are already shaking their heads in sad disbelief.

Now, head pounding and week later, I find myself looking up fun facts about essential oils. Like “Never apply directly without extremely dilution in a vegetable based “carrier” oil.” Something on the order of 19 to one would have been about right. 5 drops of that mix would have done me just fine. Because “Undiluted essential oils can provoke an allergic reaction, and can irritate skin and breathing.” And guess what? I have allergies anyway! I usually sleep with a Hepa filter (fancy-shmancy air filter… think Nigel Crane) on in the room — which last night I completely forgot to turn on.

So basically I poisoned myself, then abandoned the only thing that might have helped.

But… at least now I know why I have woken up with headaches every day for the past week. They were never that bad and tended to fade quickly, so I wasn’t paying them much attention. (Lena has been complaining similarly.) It apparently took a really bad one to catch my attention. And now that I know, I can do something about it.

Aaaah… I think that the Excedrine has actually started to help. I can still feel the headache there, and my back is still knotted up, but now it doesn’t hurt as much and I care less. Maybe the clove oil would be better…

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