Monday, August 01, 2005

Isn't it ironic, don't'cha think?

The neuroscience nurse got what was probably only the second migraine of her life last night.

I think I might've had one about three, or maybe ten, years ago. I actually called Beloved Sister, who gets them fairly frequently, to describe the symptoms and make sure I wasn't overreacting.

Though it's hard to overreact when your head feels like one half of it might just pop off at any moment.

What an interesting sensation that is. The trouble with knowing about things like headaches is that you tend to catalog what's going on in your body and your reactions to things as you're lying there hoping that maybe you'll die. It's a fun hobby, but not one I want to practice more often.

Now I'm feeling very logy. I think that's from the two Dramamine tablets I took in desperation, trying to kill the nausea and get to sleep. There's not a headache any more; rather, there's the sensation that a headache will start at any moment. And my head feels like a large porcelain bowling ball balanced on the end of my neck. And colors are very bright, still.

Hildegarde von Bingen was lucky. At least *she* got heavenly visions and snatches of music with *her* migraines. All I got was this lousy post.


shrimplate said...

I am always delighted when Hildegard comes up. I especially relish the recordings that the early-music ensemble Sequentia made in the late 1980's before singer Barbara Thornton died from breast CA. Her voice floated like gossamer. Perfect.

When I was a kid the family doctor said they were "ear-aches." Then I thought that everybody occasionally saw black-and-purple flashing clouds blocking their entire visual fields. Nausea, photophobia, blinding auras. Yup. That's an ear-ache all right. Now I think family doctors know much more.

I am a big fan of Imitrex. When it first came out it cost $70 for 2 injectible doses. That was great if I had a $35 headache. But sometimes I only had a $20 headache... (now my insurance covers it.)

Sometimes I get the lovely aura, which can be very pleasant visually, but no headache. That's always a bonus.

Anonymous said...

Toldja you'd feel the effects the next day. Yes, yes, YES, that sensation that a headache might start again any moment, that's post-migraine. The loginess might be due in part to Dramamine, but I get it for free afterwards, so it's probably at least partly the migraine too.

Visually, migraines can be like Las Vegas. Hildegarde saw six-branched bridges floating in air, and winged lions. Occasionally I get glittering spirals or retro mustard-yellow and olive-green geometrics. I have not yet seen "Eat At Joe's" or flashing tumbling dice, but I have years ahead of me.

Differences between us: my head doesn't feel like a large porcelain bowling ball afterwards, and colors aren't bright the next day. Instead, my head feels like a very dense rock that's sore. You didn't mention visual disturbances either. All in all, I think I would rather have my symptoms than yours. You poor thing.

Anonymous said...

Why not ask the neurons on your floor for a sample of a 'triptan, Imitrex being the first of a slew? The sooner you take them during a headache, the higher the probability of relieving the whole thing. If you take them during the aura (if you're lucky enough to get an aura before your headaches), you may be able to abort the whole thing.

I only get the aura, not hte headache. Nothing aborts the aura. And I don't get visions, only lights that blot out parts of my visual field. And since I generally only get them when I'm overtired & cleaning my desk in the big push before a vacation, all they do is make me have to stay in the office another damn half hour. And I can't read nor play oon the computer cuz I can't see. Royal PITA!!


may said...

and are you spared from thinking it could be worse than a migraine? there is nothing more exciting than having one symptom and self-diagnosing with a whole lot of diseases. it drives me nuts that i know some stuff. the more you know, the scarier it gets.hope you'll be okay...

me said...

I've been getting them since sophomore year in college and when the aura strikes they STILL scare the crap out of me. Despite numerous assurance from doctors I'm sure I have a brain tumor or am having a stroke or something. My treatment suggestion: take the imitrex (or whatever triptan) plus three aleve.

shrimplate said...

There's a nifty little book called I'ts Not a Tumor that might be useful for those of us who might tend to self-diagnose neurological concerns. (Me, for example.)

Oliver Sack's 1st book was about "Migraine" and I like the way he distinguished between different types of headaches and migraines. Sacks is always fun to read anyways.

The American Council for Headache Education, (ACHE,) was a pretty good resource even back before there were other web thingies about migraines.

Sorry for going on and on about this, but headaches are one of my favorite subjects. And, they're kind of a big deal.

Jo said...

In order, then:

I love Hildegarde. I majored in music (voice performance) for my BA, and as my voice was immature in the extreme, I got to sing a lot of Hildy's work. My senior thesis was on her, in fact.

Given that this was only the second migraine I've had in three years, I may consider seeing a doc next time--but a supply of 'triptans is probably out of the question, unless they have an extraordinarily long shelf life.

I had no fear that it was a tumor. ("It's not a toomah!") I thought it might be a stroke when the left side of my face went numb, but the rest of my neuro exam was okay, so I relaxed.

I wish I'd had an aura with this one. Nifty glittery things might've been nice.

And as for Sacks, the only book of his I don't own is "Migraine", which I ordered late this morning from Amazon.

I'm going back to reading Sherlock Holmes now. Very comforting when you're trying to think rationally.

Anonymous said...

My husband is not a migraneur. He's had one TIA in his life, and one TBI. So when half his face went numb, he said, "What the f*ck?!" aloud and heard garble, and felt one hand and arm go heavy, he assumed he was having a stroke. While driving a semi on an interstate. Fortunately he was near a city, found hospital, went in, had a CAT scan...and it was an ocular migraine.

Feh. At least now we know, and he now recognizes an aura.