The other morning I kept hitting snooze until the last possible minute. I went into my kid’s room and said, “It’s time to stop sleeping” because I couldn’t remember the phrase “get up.” I knocked over my coffee. I dropped my shampoo in the shower–a shower I raced through because I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. I dropped my allergy nose spray, then my comb, then gave up on getting ready for the day.
What the heck, right? Welcome to the lingering effects of a migraine.
I’d maxed out all my medication. My headache was mostly gone. I was just left feeling wrung out and gross and clumsy.
When I get a migraine, here are some of the fun things that happen: part of my body goes numb (usually my left arm); I throw up; I slur my words or forget them; my fine motor skills go bye bye; bright light makes me homicidal; if it’s really bad, my depth perception goes and even things like walking up to my bedroom become impossibly difficult. I take a bunch of medication that, if taken in the first 15 minutes of the attack, generally knocks it out. But, I’m always left feeling awful from the medication. And, at least once a year, it doesn’t work. So then I’m in the ER or urgent care, getting a scan to make sure it’s not a tumor or something (even though I’m like, dudes, this has happened to me for 27 years. I know what’s up) and then getting pumped full of a ridiculous cocktail of drugs. It is not fun. But it all eventually works, so I’m grateful. Long gone are the days of giving myself injections at home (not my favorite) or not having anything that worked to help me. I do, generally, still, at least for a while, deeply long for someone to just drill a damn hole into my head during a migraine. Don’t know about trepanning? Go read. Trust me, during the worst of my pain, it seems like the most logical and appealing thing ever. If you’re like, really? Because that’s messed up. Welcome to my pain.
But isn’t it just a bad headache? you might be inclined to say. And then a migraineur will breathe fire, unhinge their jaw, and swallow you whole. This is the worst thing you can say to us. So just don’t.
So, all of this is to say, some things in life just don’t give a shit about your plans or your to-do list. You will go from functioning to incapacitated within minutes. There is no limit to how long you will feel terrible. Had you wanted to get six hours of writing done? Too bad–go to bed and cry and hide under the covers in too much pain to even think, well, at least I can go read in bed for the day. Because, oh yeah, my vision also slides out of focus during these attacks. Even if I manage to sleep, I do not feel like I rested at all. It passes and I feel sick, angry, and resentful of the time it ate. And, oh boy! I also know that at some point in the next few weeks, it will happen all over again.
Migraines suck. If you don’t get them, yay you! Please understand they’re more than just “bad headaches.” And if you do get them—hey, want to come over and drill holes into each other’s skulls?