Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Timeline of a Migraine

Indulging myself with complaining. If self-pity isn't your thing, look away.

Sunday night, 7:30 - headache begins, having been precipitated by not eating at the usual time because we were doing the Christmas play - in combination with the extreme performance anxiety (I had a solo) and the glaring stage lights that shone in my face the whole time, this is apparently the perfect storm to cause a migraine for me. I am still trying to determine if there was something that I ate as well. I was shocked to see photos of myself taken an hour before the migraine began showed me with a puffy face - my fat face. I am beginning to think that this is a warning sign that a migraine is imminent - my eyes were also weird looking. That night I go to bed, thinking I'll sleep it off as usual.

Monday morning - I sleep in well past my usual wake-up time and find that the headache has not disappeared in the night. It varies in intensity throughout the day. At 4:00 I finally take my prescription migraine medication, fully expecting to be better by 6:00 - it usually takes about two hours to work. No dice. I go to bed that night thinking, surely this will be gone by the time I wake up.

Tuesday morning 3:30am - the worst has happened (I think). The headache is so bad that is wakes me up. I get up, take another dose of the Rx (I don't realize it at the time, because I have a migraine at 3:30am, but this is the third time in one week that I take the meds - I'm only supposed to have them twice a week) I lay on the couch with an ice-pack waiting for the meds to kick in. Again, nothing. Around 4:30 am, I go back to bed, still with an aching head.

Tuesday - the pain does not let up. It feels like a grappling hook is lodged in my skull, directly above my right eye. Later, it spreads back across my head, so that there is an equally painful grappling hook at the base of my skull, right above my neck. Light is blinding, everything is too loud, and I can smell everything. I try everything. A hot bath, an ice pack, laying down, stretching, deep breathing. I even workout on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes, because sometimes cardio can stop a headache for me. This is excruciating - I'm sure people watching me wondered why some girl was on the elliptical was running with her eyes squeezed shut, gripping her forehead. Nothing worked. I ended up laying several hours on the couch with the ice-pack, which would normally numb even the worst pain, but I can still feel it. I go to bed around 10.

Wednesday morning 1:00am - I wake up with the worst headache pain I have ever felt. The grappling hooks have been joined by a screwdriver that is being ground into my right temple. I consider my options. There won't be anyone there if I call my neurologist's office. If I go the emergency room, I'm not sure what they would do, or if my insurance would pay for it. If I can manage to make it to tomorrow, I would have to find somebody to drive me to doctor. I get up and bring the ice-pack back to bed with me, and start praying, the repetitive half-conscious prayers of the desparate. A half hour later, I realize that the pain has lessened: I begin half-consious prayers of thanksgiving and slide into sleep.

Wednesday: I now have what I believe is a migraine hangover - postdrome. I don't have actual headache pain, but it's like I can still feel a delicate pressure - the barbs of the grappling hooks resting against my skull rather than piercing it. And if I move too quickly, I'm rewarded with a sharp, stabbing pain. I'm still tired. But overall, I feel better. I hope that this is it. I never want to feel that way again.

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