Since I was very young I have suffered with migraines. My mother had me to every kind of doctor possible with these horrid things and as an adult I have also taken myself to quite a few doctors and at this point in time....this is what I know about my migraines. They may or may not be allergy related and they may or may not be brought on by stress, fatigue or illness. Yep....years of medical intervention and this is what I know. Sometimes I will get a migraine and it will drop me for several hours. Other times I will get what they call cluster migraines and I will have continuous fluctuating migraines that go from manageable to painful like a roller coaster ride for several days. I can go weeks without a migraine and then I can have migraines weekly or even daily for months. I have been on high powered migraine meds and my headaches quickly become immune. Then instead of helping, the med invariably seems to cause cluster migraines to kick in.
The last time I was put on prescription migraine meds, the med itself was very expensive. I could only afford to fill it once. When I ran out I started researching other types of remedies. I finally tried OTC migraine pills. After years of experimenting, I finally figured out that if I take migraine pills, a couple of aspirin and a dramamine......that combination usually kick the worst of my pain, and after years of living with these beasts, I can still function to varying degrees while coexisting with the pain.
My mother never had headaches (blessedly)....but with her Lupus she had every other kind of pain. As a kid I would get one of these things and if she had to pick me up at school, I would literally be stripping my clothes off as I came in the front door and making my way to the nearest dark cool place I could find. Usually the only way I could/can get over them is to sleep for at least half an hour with meds on board. Finally, when Mom was going through chemo she got the one and only truly bad headache she ever had. Apparently it was the first time she understood my pain and she called me when it was over and told me that she was so sorry for not having understood the pain I had been in all those years sooner. I hated the fact that she had to go through that pain herself, but there was a piece of me that was grateful that she now got it.
In my life I can count on one hand the worst headaches I have had. That's right. Having had hundreds, the worst ones still stick out. The first one was when I was very young....maybe 7 or 8 and I was playing in the back yard. I was swinging and it hit me. I remember looking at the distance between the swing set and the sliding glass door and I wasn't sure I could make it. I started crying as I walked to the door, which only made the pain worse. Mom told me to go lay down and I remember laying there hurting to the point of throwing up. That was the last I remember. That night our pediatrician came to the house (yes.....they still did that back then). I was diagnosed with Scarletina.
My next doozy was when I was about 11 and I was at Girl Scout camp. After a week of day camp in 100+ degree weather and not feeling good each evening, I threw a horrid fit to get to go and spend Friday day and night at camp. By mid afternoon I was dying with my head. I just crumbled during a hike and a camp mother had to carry me to the first aid station which was run by Senior Girl Scouts. There was no air conditioning and my head was pounding to the point of once again throwing up. I am sure I scared the girls to death when they took my temp and it was 104 and climbing. I remember them trying to laugh and joke with me to take my mind off the wait for my parents, but all I wanted them to do was to shut up and let me suffer in silence. My parents rushed me to the ER where I was promptly diagnosed with a first class case of Heat Stroke. The headache lasted several days and to this day if I get overheated, it can bring on a pretty nasty migraine.
I didn't have another brain splitting headache until I was in my thirties. It was the first and only time my husband ever witnessed this kind of pain in me. He compared it to the pain he saw me in when I had the kids, if that tells you anything. After watching me suffer for several hours and me thinking my head just might explode, he took me to the ER. They literally had to sedate me to make the stupid thing go away. It scared him to death.
Then several years ago, Z was in the hospital. He had been having pain in his back and hip for a couple of weeks and they couldn't figure out what we were dealing with so they put him in the hospital to run tests. I had no one to leave David with, so the hospital graciously gave us a room big enough for all three of us to stay in. As these monsters usually do, this came on within seconds. It was such horrible pain and I remember getting up to get a cold towel and to wipe my face and the next thing I know nurses are rushing me down to the ER. I had stood up and passed out from the pain. Is it any wonder that our hospital knows my family so well?
Finally....Saturday's migraine. I was fine and then I wasn't. It hit me within seconds. Z also suffers with migraines though thankfully none as bad as this one was. He has a high powered migraine prescription which had also been prescribed for me in the past. I took one of his hoping to stop it in it's tracks. It is the kind that if you don't feel relief within an hour you are to take another one....so I did. After the second dose I was pretty sure I was going to die and at that moment....if it meant getting rid of the pain.....I was okay with dying. I was hot and sweating and I couldn't find a comfortable place. I couldn't lie down, sit or stand. It was excruciating. Then the nausea started. I hate to throw up. Even as an adult if I throw up....I cry. There is nothing I hate more, but Saturday night.....I would have given anything to throw up. I couldn't. All I could do was dry heave (sorry for the TMI). I kept running to the bathroom and feeling like I was going to pass out. I didn't realize how worried Z was, but I remember him saying....."Do I need to get you into the ER?" I couldn't form real thoughts and I am not sure if I could convey in words that we couldn't take David out. Next thing I know I hear sirens. Z had called EMS. They came in and I was frustrated and relieved all at the same time. I know my first thought even in all my pain was............"I can't afford this!" Truthfully though, I am not sure my body could have taken many more hours of the pain. My blood pressure had shot up to 160/110 because of the pain and I was clammy with a racing pulse of about 150. They checked my heart and it was fine but because of my pulse and blood pressure they insisted they take me to the ER. I was beyond being able to fight as I continually dry heaved all the way to the hospital. I am sure my neighbors enjoyed the show from the door to the ambulance. I only remember bits and pieces of my journey, like being promised drugs to make the dry heaving stop and the pain to go away, multiple needle sticks trying to find a good vein for an IV in which I could receive those drugs (apparently I was extremely dehydrated) and seeing the familiar face of a young and very pregnant friend who chose to spend her Saturday evening staying by my side and watching me dry heave. I know I was a hot mess of puke sounds, bad hair, pain, sweat and tears. Those are things that poor girl will never be able to unsee. Thank you though Mersades from the bottom of my heart.
At some point the pain and the dry heaving stopped. I have no idea when though. All I know is I woke up in a dark ER room with Mersades watching tv without sound and me drooling on myself. As I sat up almost pain free (the headache was a very manageable 3-4 on the pain scale), Mersades hit me with the news that while I was in a haze of touradol and beneadryl, back home.....David had had a pretty severe seizure with breathing issues and once again EMS had been dispatched back to my house (I really have to bake those people a cheesecake!) Luckily by the time they got there David was pretty much post seizure and his vitals were going back to normal. Z made the call not to have David transported but to just watch him and I was finally on my way home.
Yesterday after a pretty conked out night, I felt the dreaded headache starting back. I literally felt myself get physically scared that I might be having that kind of pain a second day. I immediately reached for my tried and true OTC migraine and dramamine. I put myself into a cool and dark place and stayed off the phone and the computer refusing to allow my headache to progress at all. It worked.
Today we all seem to be fine although we are all still stuck in the house as school was called off due to snow. I am hoping this is the end of sickness, ER's and hospitals.....at least for awhile. They say by the weekend we should be up in almost spring time like temperatures. Perhaps after today we will be able to find something that resembles normal and we can get on with the business of finding our way.