Today’s Prompt: Tell us your most amusing Migraine Story
My brain has been on overload for the past few days and I just can’t think of any movie characters right now. However, I did remember a “unique” migraine event that I can look back and laugh at now. Granted, it was definitely not amusing at the time.
Back in 2000 I was working on an internet start-up as a computer programmer. I had yet to make the connection between endless hours in front of a computer monitor and migraines. All I knew was that I was suddenly having wave after wave of migraine attacks that would last for days and they were putting my job at risk. I tried to work through most attacks using abortives and comfort measures. Back then, I didn’t have very many comfort measures, knew nothing about light sensitivity, and my only “rescue” med was Hydrocodone.
The office was a single open bay with at least a dozen programmers and database administrators all banging away at keyboards frantically trying to write the code as fast as our fingers would fly. Soft drinks and junk food were plentiful. We often ordered in lunch, usually Subway or pizza (LOTS of nitrates!) or went out for Chinese (MSG, anyone?). It was bright and noisy.
I would often wake up with a migraine (or migraine and cluster headache) and take a Zomig then proceed to get ready for the day hoping it would take effect before I got to work. If I was lucky, I would make it past lunch before I had to take more medicine to finish the day, then drive home in a migraine daze and crash in bed for the night, only to start all over again the next day.
One fine day I was desperate and took the Hydrocodone at work. In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake. HUGE mistake!” I felt that wave of nausea hit me so hard I barely made it to the restroom before loosing my entire lunch.
…this is the part where I tell you that I was the ONLY female employee…
I look at my face in the restroom mirror. It is obvious I have been sweating and my skin is pale and clammy. I am a WRECK. I do the best I can to clean up and make myself presentable, but it doesn’t do much good. I try to decide if I can stay at work or ask to go home. I theorize that vomiting usually makes me feel better so I should probably try to finish the day.
I open the door to the office and all eyes are staring at me. Everyone is totally freaked out. I compose myself, assure them I will be absolutely fine, and sit back down to continue coding. My head continued to throb for the rest of that day and many more.
That was the only time I vomited at work, but there were at least 2 other times someone called my family to come get me because I was too sick to drive home. It took 6 hellish months before I was diagnosed with Cluster Headaches and Chronic Migraines. My doctors added oxygen, Verapamil, Phenergan, and Flexeril to my list of meds to finally bring some relief. A wonderful neurologist and fellow migraineur taught me to wear sunglasses and ask for lighting alternatives at work. He also taught me about the dangers of skipping meals and eating food with nitrates. It took another 2 years to get the Cluster Headaches under control and find a decent combination of rescue meds.
Looking back, I can laugh at how much misery I tolerated. I would NEVER put up with that much suffering now.
National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation.
The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.