My mom always made fun of me saying I liked to suffer because I would wait for a headache to get stronger before taking any medication. She thought I should take something right away, but I always thought I should try other things first. What if it was because I was tired? Or hungry? Or because of my period? So I always waited until it was obvious I needed to do something. The reason for that was that our bodies get used to medication, and soon you need a stronger dose to have the same effect. I didn’t like that.
But one day, at work, my headache was getting too strong, so I took the medicine I had in my purse. I didn’t work. A colleague gave me something else, some other headache medicine. It also didn’t work. After trying quite a few different ones, with all having no result, I finally decided to walk to a pharmacy a couple blocks away to buy something stronger. One of my colleagues offered to walk me there and I’m glad I didn’t refuse her help, because I didn’t get even half-way there and had to sit on the sidewalk, unable to keep going. I didn’t know, but I was having a migraine.
The doctor said I should be glad, because my migraine usually only lasts twenty-five years. Usually. What a wonderful word; usually. As in not always, or in it could last longer. Yay, me, right? That means I only have another fifteen years to go and then I’ll be migraine free. Probably. Since I’m not usually a lucky gal, I’m not going to bet on that.
Anyway, having a migraine can differ from person to person, so here’s how mine usually go: First my senses get sharper. I hear better (even sounds others can’t) and then I feel like someone’s sticking a knife behind one of my eyeballs, trying to get my eye out of its socket. But they seem pretty inefficient, since they just keep poking and poking and my eye never falls out. Sometimes I debate whether or not I should use my fingernails to help them get the job done, but I usually end up deciding not to.
The lights bother a little. They feel like little – and when I say little I mean very sharp – daggers being shot straight into my eyes. Oh, fun. I remember having to park my car in the middle of nowhere one night just to close my eyes and wait for the medicine to work, because there was no way I could keep driving with the headlights from the other cars shooting daggers at me. And you have no idea how good you feel, sitting in a car in the middle of nowhere, crying your eyes out, hoping nothing worse happens. Fun times.
There’s usually also this pressure on the side of my head that feels like a metal compressor is trying to make my head a bit more compact. Touching my temples hurt. Not touching my temples hurt. Crying hurt. Holding the tears back hurt. Closing my eyes hurt. Keeping them open hurt. If I do nothing, my mind can’t stop thinking about the migraine, and that doesn’t help much. Trying to read is painful, plus I can’t really concentrate. Forget singing, even if it’s in your head and not out loud. Well, since your head is the center of your pain, pretty much anything involving using your head hurts. I can’t sleep, because it hurts, but being awake hurts. As you see, it’s a win-win situation. Win-win as in, no matter what I do, the migraine will always win.
One thing that helps is pressing my temples against something cold. It reduces the pain until the medicine kicks in. At least it keeps me from going insane and banging my head against the wall until I break it. Break the wall, of course, because at this point I’m pretty sure my skull is unbreakable, or it would have been already reduced to dust.
But hey, for as long as my migraine lasts, and even a little before it starts, my auditory senses are really sharp. It’s like I’m a superhero or something, since I can hear noises others can’t. The first few times people thought I was going crazy. I understand them. It’s hard to keep a straight face when the girl pressing the side of her head tells you to stop the buzzing sound and you can’t hear a thing. Now I’m used to the new sounds I hear. I just stopped telling people about them, because it certainly freaks them out. Too bad it ends with the postdrome, which is the phase after a migraine. Oh, yeah, because the migraine don’t just leave you away after it’s over, it just turns into this hangover that lasts a few days. Fun, right?
So when I feel a migraine coming, I take my pills. And the only medicine that works, at least for me, is Excedrin Migraine. Oh, and did you hear the big news? There was a recall. Excedrin Migraine is no longer being sold in the US. Well, at least for the time being. Can you guess how much I’m looking forward to my next migraine? Oh, it will be so much fun.
P.S.: I could really use that sarcasm font just about now.