10 February 2009

Let the Whining Commence!

So yesterday I had a migraine. Hosed up my entire schedule for the day and thus the entire week because instead of doing chores I had to spend the day wandering in a pained haze, telling my kids to sit in the corner and stop looking at me like that or get the crap out and get a job. I'm better now, thank you for asking, but I still have that migraine hangover that comes the day after you've survived an attack. Even now I am telling Peawhistle every five minutes to QUIT RACING AROUND THE ROOM OR I WILL CHOP YOUR LEGS OFF. *sigh*

I've had migraines since I was about seven, so I'm used to them; or rather, I'm accustomed to the idea of getting them. The worst migraines I've ever had have either lasted a week or landed me in the ER, which is frustrating in and of itself because they don't do anything for you anyway except give you Tylenol. Of course! Tylenol! Why didn't I think of that before?? Should I also not slit my wrists, because I'm considering that right now, doctor! I've learned to avoid the ER.

I do recall one episode that I'll share here. It was my first week at BYU and I was living in the dorms. My roommate, whom I'd never met, had just joined me two days prior. Normally, I would have had access to a freezer with which to freeze things to place on my forehead to help calm the pain a mite should a migraine present itself. However, no such freezer existed in the dorms. So when a bad migraine hit me one afternoon, it went quickly downhill. The roommate was concerned of course, but not nearly as much as when I began scraping my head against the cinder-block wall next to my bed. She began pleading with me to stop when I graduated to rhythmically banging my head against the brick wall (have I mentioned that migraines strip you of your ability to think clearly? They essentially drive you temporarily insane, and I'm not exaggerating this point). And then she nearly cried when I stopped moving altogether, too exhausted to even close my eyes all the way, and she thought I was dead. I still recall through my blurred vision her creeping up on what she assumed was the fresh corpse of her new roommate, checking for any sign of breathing, quietly calling out my name, which I did not have the energy to respond to. I eventually got better, we laughed about it weeks down the road, and she never totally forgave me for that heart attack I gave her. Who said college days aren't good times?

I don't suppose you recall my adventures with Dr. @#$%&*$%, the doctor who found her medical license in the bottom of a trash bin, do you? One more reason I hate her is because she knows nothing about headaches. Now, by the time I was forced to see her I had been diagnosed by several doctors, many of them trained neurologists who specialized in migraines, as a chronic migraine sufferer. I believe Dr. @#$%&*$% was the first doctor--and only doctor come to think of it--to ever question this diagnosis made by physicians far more learned in this field than she. She announced that I suffer from tension headaches, not migraines. And the reason? Because "people with migraines get nausea, but they don't actually throw up." But people with tension headaches do? What? So by her reasoning, everyone gets nausea with headaches, but the only people who would never conceivably vomit as a result of that nausea are the folks with migraines. Makes perfect sense to me, you fricking whackjob! Nevermind that every medical journal on earth describes vomiting as a major symptom of migraines, but whatever. You see what I mean about my knowing more about medicine than she. It's scary.

So what do I do in case of migraine? I know you're on the edge of your seats so I won't tease you any longer. Drugs are only effective at the beginning, unfortunately. After that they have no effect and you're just blowing your stash. So I lie in bed, in as dark a room as possible, as toasty warm as possible, with as freezing an icepack as my ridiculously under-performing freezer will produce attached to my forehead. Now, if I'm not too insane at that point, a little light and relaxing music can help the process. Only two CDs are acceptable migraine fare. The first is the soundtrack to "Chariots of Fire." It's kinda weird technocrap music if you recall, but I grew up listening to it, I love it, and it relaxes me. That is, until I get to the "Jerusalem" number by the Westminster Cathedral Choir, complete with full pipe organ. Then I get excited and hallucinate that I can actually play the organ that well too, instead of the comedic performance I usually treat the congregation to on Sundays. So I try not to listen to that specific number with a migraine (drives my blood pressure up).

The other CD I listen to is even preferable to the first and it is "Christopher Cross," by none other than Christopher Cross. I don't think I've ever made it through the entire album at one sitting/lying down. It is so peaceful and relaxing that faster than you can say "self-induced coma" you're out for 12 hours and you wake up wondering where you are and why your CD player's batteries are dead again. "Oh man, I love this soZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ." That pretty much sums up the result of that CD, which is why I resort to it sparingly lest I become immune to its wonderful morphine-like effects. It's also the main reason I don't ever listen to it while driving, lest I wake up in the front grill of an oncoming 18-wheeler.

God bless you and your strangely puffy features, Christopher Cross! May your soothingly smooth voice be recorded in medical journals everywhere under safe and effective anesthetics, suitable for knocking out migraine sufferers to organ transplant patients.



ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

11 comments:

Holly said...

I have only had a few migraines over the years and they are not fun. I will have to remember the Christopher Cross method...do you think it would work as a general treatment for insomnia? hmmm...

And I have to say that even when your post is 'whining' (hey, you said it, not me) you still manage to make me laugh. I have to remember to never be drinking anything while reading your posts. My work doesn't like it so much when I spit Dr Pepper all over my computer monitor.

greta said...

abby, you and i should be bowling buddies since i find many similarities between us. including headaches. i too, have them. cluster headaches which the dr.'s have said are worse than migraines. i've had them since around 8 yrs. and without fail i would get one every sunday. i now get them every couple months but lucky me got TWO last week with the head soreness in between! lovely week i had! hope you feel better... i feel your pain...

Bonny said...

I got my first migraine when I was 6 or 7--I can't remember my age but I remember the exact location and how awful it felt. I get them periodically now--they're much worse in the summer for me. If you ever need to get rid of your eldest child while you suffer through one of these attacks, I'm happy to watch her for you. Grayson had a great time playing with her. Glad you're back on your feet today.

Stephanie B said...

I loved the story of you in college. Are you still in contact with that roommate? Its funny/scary to think of how crazy you must have looked.

That song was really nice. I ... can.. hardly... stay... awa..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

it's just lisa said...

Ah- I feel for you. Not really feel for you, but kinda feel for you. It sounds terrible and if you ever want me to come over and bang your head with something like a brick or hammer to relieve the pain then you just give me a call. But really, could I help watch your kids when you have a migraine? Or would you like me to bring over a bright light to shine in your eyes? No just kidding- but really- can I help watch the kids or kid or cat? Or maybe dinner? I could also hold your hair back when you barf... I would do that for you Abby- you are that great.

Jacob and Mindy T. said...

I'm glad that you are feeling better and sorry you have migraines. I have only had a couple of migraines and feel like I'm gonna puke everytime. That doctor was a whackjob! Crackjack box doctors!
hey! We changed our blog address! It's now http://giggleswigglesandhoinks.blogspot.com/ That's where you can find us. I'll be sending out an email too so if I have your email you will get an email too. :) Thanks!!

karen said...

Migraines are horrible things. Glad you're feeling better. I got them a lot when I was *younger* (Perhaps there's a correlation between child rearing and migraines? Naaaah) If it's any consolation, after about age 45 they went away. But other stuff came, so maybe it's no consolation. (I should have stopped while I was ahead. Sorry.)

Abby said...

No, I haven't spoken with that roommate in years and years. Pretty sure she still hates me for that though.

Many thanks to all of you for your kind comments. Your kind, incredibly unhelpful and soul-crushingly hope-killing comments.

nativemainer said...

When did Christopher Cross start looking like an aging Jim Belushi??? Wasn't he the king of hair in the 70's??

elesa said...

Man, I used to love that song. I tried to learn it on the guitar once. I actually went to a Christopher Cross concert when I was in high school. I don't remember much about it, but I probably passed out or something.

Abby said...

I'm surprised that man would get any kind of response at the end of a concert at all. How is anyone still awake to applaud what he's done all evening? Perhaps he just sneaks away after the last song and lets everyone sleep it off. What a nice man.