Thursday, June 7, 2012

The long, dark night of the migraine

I think the greatest horror of the migraine is not just the pain, which is like an ice pick or a power drill through the eye socket into the brain, or the awful unrelenting nausea, but the fact that there's nothing you can do to distract yourself from it. You can't read, because that would involve light, which would be even more pain. You can't watch a movie--same thing. You can't listen to music or a podcast, because of course the slightest sound brings more pain. You can't do anything except lie in the fetal position in the dark in agony, desperately trying not to move. Even rolling over onto your other side brings new ice picks through the eye sockets and new waves of nausea. When you cry from the pain, the movements of your face, and the noise you make, cause more pain. And of course when you finally do have to throw up from the pain, that movement brings on...more pain.

If my migraine is bad enough, and I need to be somewhere that I can't cancel, I take a med of the sort known as triptans, which are a mixed curse. They usually knock out the migraine in a couple of hours, but give it back to you a couple of days later (known as the "rebound effect"). The rebound effect is usually worse the more you take them. Vicious cycle. I try not to take more than two triptans a month, supposedly well below the rebound threshold, but I usually do get a rebound no matter what. Sometimes the rebound is equal to the original migraine, very occasionally doesn't happen at all, is usually a little less painful, occasionally even more painful. Triptans: the new Russian roulette.

Two nights ago, I got the rebound migraine so badly I couldn't believe it. I actually thought maybe I was having a stroke, my eye socket and head hurt so badly. But I couldn't do anything about it.

There's always been a dilemma (even if you have health insurance) about extreme migraines--once I called the E.R. (the next day) to ask what to do. They apparently can give you something (probably a strong opioid, but that's just a guess) if you go there. But you can't get there without involving light, noise, and movement. So it's literally impossible to get there, whether by car, foot, bus, or ambulance. I asked if they can't send someone to administer some kind of treatment in the home, and they said no. Apparently, if you're lucky enough to live in France, they would do so. 

The other night was one of the worst migraines I've ever had, and it was the loneliest, longest, dark night of the soul, because I realized that even if I could bear the movement and noise (which I couldn't) to call someone, there was no one to call, no one to comfort me, to acknowledge my pain, to hold back my hair while I vomited, to sit quietly next to me while the painful hours passed, to witness my suffering, even if they couldn't do anything about the actual migraine.

Can someone in France please adopt me?

This guy's smiling and happy as ever:


Shelley Smart said...

Sometimes life sucks.

Double "D" said...

O Jala, my heart goes out to you.


jala take very good care .