A Migraine’s Message

Yesterday morning, shortly after I awoke, I developed a migraine headache.  Like a good little migraine sufferer, I took my prescribed medication, Imitrex, and tried to go about my morning business of getting ready for work.  In fact, I went to work, for a little while.

You see, my boss was going to be out of town, along with his wife, which would leave me alone to hold down the fort.  But, sometimes curve-balls get thrown your way, and there’s nothing to do to stop them.  By the time I’d been there half an hour, I had developed a black hole in my vision, and the wave of the worst of the pain was beginning to crash.  I had called my employer at home, and gotten his wife, who assured me she would have him call me when he got up.  He called me back within that first hour of work and sent me home.

After things were squared away at the office, Mom came and picked me up (seeing as how I still live with my parents and all).   I went home and crawled back into my pajamas and back into bed.  I put my sleep mask on just to keep the rest of the light that was coming in through the blinds at bay.  I drifted for a while, then went to sleep.

Mom woke me up around 11:00 for lunch, because I told her not to let me sleep unreasonably long so I could get some sleep last night in order to get to work today.  I felt much better by then.  Most of the constant pain was gone, just a small twinge in my left temple remained.  I was still a little sensitive to sunlight, though, so Mom closed all the curtains in the back part of the house between my room and the bathroom.  I ate some of the very comforting–to me–oriental vegetable soup she’d made chock full of red pepper flake, which opened up my coinciding stuffy sinuses, making me feel even better.

After that, I laid back down, and slept another few hours.

By three o’clock yesterday afternoon, I decided I probably needed to stay up.  All the pain was gone, just remaining light sensitivity.  I stayed in dim light the rest of the day, and, to keep myself from going back to sleep, I watched The Holiday on DVD and sipped some Mountain Dew so the caffeine could chase the remnants of the headache away.  I watched a little TV, ate dinner, and by 6:00 I was able to sit in light bright enough to read by, and read some before going to bed.

I went to bed early, and only woke up twice to go to the bathroom.  (I’d had too many fluids yesterday evening–water, herbal tea, etc.–to sleep through the night.)  I’m glad of that.  It’s been a very long time since I slept that much in a 24 hour period.

Did you know it had been, at the very least, almost a year since my last migraine, if not more?  That’s a vast improvement from where I used to be with them, when going a month without was flying.  But I digress.

This brings me to a point about the migraine:

It’s not like I shouldn’t have seen this coming.

I’ve been stressed out, both by things I cannot control, and by my reaction to them, which I can.  I’ve not slept well, consistently, for months.  And this week, until yesterday, anyway, I have been, internally, at least, a Raging Bitchmonster from Hell.  (No need to pretend that is not exactly how I thought, and, sometimes, behaved.)  I’ve not been resting.  I’ve not really been taking care of myself, with the exception of this past Sunday, and that wasn’t enough, really.  That was like trying to put a Band-Aid on a cut that needs upwards of 50 stitches.  And, for at least two or three months, the things I’ve been doing that are good for me (i.e. yoga, meditating, prayer, writing in my gratitude journal, reading for pleasure, etc.), I have rushed through where possible.  And for what?  Nothing of much importance.

One thing is fore sure, very few things will put me flat on my back quicker than a migraine.

So, I imagine, this was my body saying, “Enough!  You WILL rest!  You WILL sleep!  I’m going to MAKE you, whether you or anyone else likes it or not!”

So, I rested.  I slept.  There’s not much else you can do.  Not when your migraines are the sort that come with an aura and its myriad of symptoms preceding the worst of the pain.

This is how mine generally operate:

  1. Colored sparkles start in my vision, clouding it.  Colors get brighter, and angles sharper.
  2. A slow, dull ache starts in my left temple.
  3. My right hand goes numb, starting with my fingertips, and, sometimes extending up to my elbow.  (Sometimes this will cycle through twice, or more, in the course of the headache.)
  4. My tongue goes numb.
  5. The pain gets a bit more noticeable, and begins to wrap around the whole left side of my head.
  6. My speech begins to get scrambled, which scrambling comes and goes depending on medication, especially how soon it was taken.
  7. The pain spreads around to cover the rest of my head.
  8. My vision goes progressively black, once again, depending upon how soon I’ve taken my medicine, from a black spot in the center of my vision to fully blind.
  9. The pain shoots down into my neck and shoulders, and then it’s a pain free-for-all until the medication takes full effect and I’ve lain down and tried, at least, to sleep it off.  (“Sleeping it off” time varies.)

Today found me back at work, mostly back to normal.  I was most assuredly not Ms. Multitask today, which bothered my boss a little, but he got over it.  I could only hold one task in mind at a time, and I do still feel a little groggy.  I’m looking forward to a relatively early bedtime this evening.  Also, I managed to remain disinclined to care enough about petty crap at work to get upset about it.  Quite the change.

All in all, I should say the migraine’s message has been duly noted.  Lighten up.  Rest.  Sleep.  Take proper care of myself.  Stop rushing around like a decapitated chicken.  Do at least some things purely for enjoyment.  Got it.

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One thought on “A Migraine’s Message

  1. So sorry to hear of your anguish. So happy you’re better 🙂

    What a great story-teller you are!

    And yes, as a wise life coach once said to me, “When we don’t take care of ourselves, we don’t take care of ourselves.” Sounds pretty obvious, but very profound nonetheless.

    Rx: Extreme Self Care


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