musings from the pink chair

pain

Posted on: 22 February 2010

i went to bed early last night with a migraine. this morning i woke up, and within 10 seconds, realized my worst fear: the pain was still there.

i’m a migraineur, and it sucks. a lot of people think migraines are just bad headaches. no, no, no. they are incapacitating. they are bad headaches plus nausea, eye strain, sensitivity to light, sound, and smell, and sometimes blurred vision and dizziness (aura). they can last for several days. they’re also genetic (my mom gets them), and are way more likely to affect women than men (UNFAIR!).

on new year’s eve in 2003, i had a migraine so bad that it made me cry. if i had known then what i know now about the signs of a brain aneurysm (namely: the worst headache you’ve ever had in your life), i would have gone to the emergency room. in 2004, i had migraines so frequently that i took enough aspirin and ibuprofen to inflame my stomach lining. it felt like someone was yanking out parts of my stomach with a string. i had to have an endoscopy, take medication for almost six months, and follow a diet (no caffeine, no acidic foods like tomatoes or citrus, and definitely no NSAIDs). i finally got on prescription migraine medication, which comes with its own risks (serotonin syndrome, anyone?) and is CRAZY expensive ($10 per pill, and that’s with insurance), but is better than almost certainly developing a bleeding ulcer.

most migraineurs have “triggers” that they can avoid if possible. mine include sleeping too little and sleeping too much. but a big one for me is changes in the weather (usually when it’s about to rain), so that can’t really be avoided. which blows.

anyway, since i had to work today and since i try to avoid taking my prescription migraine meds (see: $10 a pill), i downed my tylenol-plus-a-can-of-coke-over-ice cocktail, put on my sunglasses (see: extreme light sensitivity) and hoped for the best. it did as well as could be hoped — kept the pain at bay enough so that i could function. it never really makes it go away. and now we’re nearing the end of day two of migraine pain. it’s fading. it will probably be gone by tomorrow. but in 2-4 weeks, i guarantee it will be back.

when i was like five or six years old, my mom said she had to lie down because she had a headache. i said, “what’s a headache?” because i couldn’t conceive of the inside of my head hurting. i miss that.

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I'm a twentysomething journalist who lives in Atlanta, loves all things artsy, and updates this blog from the cozy pink chair in my living room. More?

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