I knew it had been far too long. Three months is entirely too long. I even said it last week; “it’s been like 3 months since I had a migraine.” It pisses me off…I knew I shouldn’t have said it. I had that tinge of doubt when the words passed my lips and here I am in, day two of a take-no-prisoners battle with this effing migraine.
The worst part is that I felt so confident. I was so genuinely happy and secure about not having had one, I didn’t even see it coming. All the symptoms didn’t even make a blip on my, once super-sensitive, radar…not one.
I’ve been through it. The medications, the foods, stopping other medications, trying new medications and side-effects, really crazy side-effects. I’ve tried at least 5 acute meds in the past 2 years, 3 different precautionary meds (this does not even account for dose changes which can really do a number you). I’ve had side effects that range from dry mouth to making me forget how to spell, weight loss, weight gain, you name it!
Outside of that, there’s the pain. It makes me cringe to think about times when I couldn’t even bare to talk; the light hurting my eyes so badly but, being unable, physically unable to move to turn them off.
The worst one I can remember, was about a year ago. There have been worse that ended up in the hospital but, I don’t/can’t remember those. It’s probably better that way. Anyway, the worst one “still on the books” was on a Wednesday. I left work early and in tears that day. I could hardly keep my eyes open to drive home (it was only a mile). Every part of me wanted to have someone drive me home but, that’s part of the problem with migraines; unless you have them, there is no possible way for you to understand the pain. I know that it would have sounded a little dramatic for me to ask someone for a ride because “my head hurt.” So, off I went.
I knew this one was a big one. You just “know” when they’re different like that. I immediately took my acute meds…sometimes they help, sometimes they don’t. I have yet to find one that works 100% of the time. The second I got home, I went up stairs and drew a super-hot bath. That’s what I do ALL THE TIME (probably 5 times as often if I’m not well). No lights, just the sound of the water and still, that’s way too much. It might as well be a jackhammer. Finally, the tub is full and I turn the faucet off with my foot. My constant goal is as little movement as possible. I lay there in silence until the water gets to be lukewarm and then drain the waiter I pick myself up and walk, soaking wet, to my bed.
I lay on the bed, face down, pull the covers all the way over me and put my pillow on top of my head. My goal here is to make it as dark as possible and to get pressure on my head, as well. When I have a migraine, I contort my body to find a comfortable spot lay to achieve these conditions. I squeeze my neck, press on my eyes, grind the tendons between my thumb and index finger…anything. I need pressure somewhere else. This is typically a make-or-break stage in my migraines. I will either fall asleep for several hours and wake up a new person or, the torture continues.
Obviously, in this case, I did not fall asleep. After an hour, another bath and back to bed. Finally, around 6PM, Mike got home.
The dogs are excited. They have a hard time understanding why I won’t even acknowledge them but, I really feel like they get it. In any case, they run downstairs. I hear the keys in the door and Mike’s voice when those cute puppy faces peak around the door as he opens it.
“Coty,” he yells. No Answer.
By this time, he knows something is wrong. My car is at home, my purse is on the table and my clothes are at the bottom of the stairs. I can’t yell to him. I literally can’t make that kind of noise or my brain will burst. I just know it. When he comes upstairs, I pathetically whisper to him that I’m not okay. It takes a combination of whispering, hand motions and facial expressions but, he finally gets it. He knows there isn’t a lot he can do for me. After all, this is not our first rodeo.
So, he goes downstairs and turns on the TV. It’s time now for my 3rd bath in as many hours so, I feel my way to the bathroom. All the lights are off upstairs and my eyes are closed. I am in the throes of this thing and it isn’t pretty. I picture some junkie looking for a fix. I wish this upon no person.
The steaming water pounds the porcelain tub and I climb in for some kind of relief. Even a different kind of pain would be relief at this point. Maybe the water will be so hot I’ll forget about my “headache.” I lay with my back propped up against the back of the tub and when it’s really bad, like this, I’ll pull a towel in with me. I soak the towel in the almost-scalding water and lay it over my chest to keep my entire body warm.
Door closed, lights out, warmth, silence…
Nope. It sounds like the TV is on a roller coaster that runs up the stairs, past the bathroom door and makes tight spirals around the bathroom until it goes back downstairs and starts all over again. I lay there in dark with my eyes closed and summon the strength/courage for a loud whisper, “miiiiike.”
I will try again. Whatever pain I experience afterward will be worth it in comparison to this roller coaster scenario. Deep breath…
The TV is on normal volume. I am upstairs, in the bathroom, with the door closed. There is no hope. Mike will not hear me. I will not see the end of this migraine. I will sit in an emergency room for 6 hours and wake up in the morning feeling tired, but okay. I will have to call in sick because I had no sleep and I will feel guilty for doing it. After all, it’s just a “headache.” When the reality of my situation sets in, I begin to cry. I DON’T WANT TO CRY. I try to be strong. I can’t help it.
There is nothing worse than crying with a migraine. The energy, the movement, the emotion required to cry is monumental. Really, think about it. Crying is exhausting. It’s the last thing you want to expend energy doing when it hurts to breathe.
Defeat. Coliseum-like defeat. Give me death. Death by lion, bear, whatever. Just end it.
All of a sudden, the bathroom door swings open and Mike’s voice cuts through the steam.
“What happened? What can I do?”
My answer, “turn down the TV.”
He apologizes, runsto turn the volume down, and then back upstairs to help me to bed.
That night, I fell asleep face down with my knees under my chest, curled in ball with my pillows on my head. I woke up the next morning and was okay. Worn out, but okay.
The past two days have been a cake-walk compared to that. I’m scared though. I’m really scared of that. I feel helpless. I feel a rat running through a maze to get away from the scientist.
Hey, rat, he sees you. Go wherever you want. When he wants you, he’ll get you. You’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise.
I’m really not all that scared of many things. I’m an adrenaline junkie. Give me the highest heights you can find, the deepest water, the biggest animals, the fastest cars.
I’m terrified of this fucking migraine. TERRIFIED.
Note: if anything is misspelled, that’s a side-effect of my current migraine medication…AWESOME. Very humbling for a journalism major…life’s funny, huh?