Just take a pill


I woke this morning in a lot of pain – about a 6 on a 10 point scale. It wasn’t a migraine though. I also have fibromyalgia, so morning muscle and joint stiffness is very common. I have medication that usually prevents it, but this morning was just one of those bad times. I’d rather not just take a pill, so I applied heat and my TENS unit for about 30 minutes expecting to get on with my day in no time. Even though I am disabled and unable to work, there are still things that must be done…like the dirty dishes piling up in my sink.

Before the 30 minutes was over I started to feel a twinge in my right eye that felt like the start of a cluster headache attack. I chose to give it a few minutes because sometimes I get twinges and nothing more. Today I wasn’t so lucky. Within minutes the pain spread across my forehead and down the left side my head. When it hit the back of my neck a wave a nausea hit me hard. I thought,”Great, another wasted day.” and forced myself up to get the necessary medication and comfort measures to treat the blasted thing. I could tell this one would be more than a just take a pill migraine.

I quickly took the Amerge, Aleve, and Phenergan with a big glass of water. I applied ice packs to my head, laid down on my soft pillows and sat a can of Sprite close by. I tried to distract myself from the pain by watching some TV, but I had to pull the ice packs down over my eyes. I drifted in and out of sleep for hours, broke out in a cold sweat, prayed I wouldn’t vomit, and tried to stay calm with deep breathing. It got so bad at one point I was concerned I might have to use a Toradol injection or go to the Emergency Room. Thankfully that did not happen.

I did all the right things. Good sleep hygiene, no skipping meals, avoided food & environmental triggers, taking the right medications on schedule — none of it made a bit of difference this time. For 8 hours in the middle of my day I was migraine’s prisoner of war. Other migraineurs have been in this very situation more times than you can imagine. This is exactly why just take a pill doesn’t work.

I did just take a pill — more than one, in fact. It probably would have been much worse had I not taken the pills. Still, today’s migraine was so much more than “just a headache”. The day before it hit, irritability, impatience, yawning, hyperactivity, and food cravings ruled the day. Acute symptoms today included nausea, cold sweats, intolerance to light and sound, dizziness, shaking hands, abdominal pain, aching joints and muscles, skin that felt burned, inability to speak coherently, anxiety, and restlessness. After it was over, I experienced brain fog, extreme fatigue, difficulty speaking, irritability, continued light and sound intolerance (particularly the human voice), and continued joint and muscle stiffness. Does that sound like something I could fix if I just take a pill?

In case you are wondering, I am fine now. It’s been 11 hours since the start of my attack and the hangover is finally wearing off. I will likely be fine for several more days until the next one hits. I will just take a pill and so much more. I still won’t be able to work or play for hours.

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