Migraines…..since I was 21…..UGH! (this post was revised 12/19,13)

The first few migraines I had when I was 20 or 21, were not as severe as those I would have later on. But were bad. I would take aspirin, goody’s powders, Tylenol, or whatever I could to ease the pain. Lie down with a cold wash cloth over my head. Eventually, I would heave up my guts. That is the routine of a migraine. Sometimes they begin with a vision impairment. I will have aura’s. Or parts of my vision will blur. It is a big signal for me to take my migraine meds immediately!

Back then it was normal to go to the hospital ER about four times a year for a shot of Demerol and Phenergan. This being the only thing to calm a headache that has just gotten out of control. To the point that I either want to take a gun and kill myself, or I MUST get strong drugs injected. Migraines are serious. A lot of people do not realize how bad they are. About a year before I actually started getting migraines myself, I worked with a girl who had migraines regularly. I felt sorry for her, but didn’t think much of it. Later on. After she had quit the job. I found out she had committed suicide. At first, I was so angry at her. How could she leave her kids!  How could she do that to them! But when I started getting the migraines, I felt bad for thinking those angry thoughts about her. A migraine is so debilitating! When you are in the middle of a really bad one, you really cannot process thoughts. You want the pain to stop. It is so intense. It is almost too much to bear. And I guess it was too much to bear in her case. I am sorry I judged her.

There are varying degrees of headaches that I still classify in the migraine category. Sometimes I have migraines that are very annoying and painful. But I’m able to function as I take my medication. These headaches come in different degrees of severity. Then there are the completely debilitating migraines. These are the ones that I can barely lift my head from the pillow. I am so sick I wonder how I will ever be able to get dressed if I have to go to the hospital for a shot. Wishing only for the pain to stop. Fantasizing about someone shooting me in the head to end the pain. Sounds grim. But that is how horrible it is. And only someone who has experienced this terrible scary pain will understand. I have Facebook Friends who put in their status’ “I have a migraine,” and so on…..But this migraine has to be one of a very functional degree. If you have one that just takes control, there is no way you can get on Facebook. The mere light emanating from the phone or computer would be much too painful. I cannot even speak a sentence. It is too painful. It is sort of hard to describe the feeling. Every movement hurts. You just want to lie still and hope the last round of meds is taking effect. If they don’t you will have to go in for a shot. It is one of the worst feelings I have experienced in my lifetime. Migraines like this are not understood….not even by medical personnel. If you read about my experience with a migraine of this nature after my knee surgery, you know what I mean. https://bhplayon.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/ouch-is-it-time-for-my-placebos/ I’ve also had to sit in the waiting room of an ER for hours….being triaged LAST as a migraine patient. Apparently suffering isn’t a reason to rush someone back. I don’t think I would die from my suffering, unless I had access to a gun. The crazy thing is….They have the ablility to ease the pain and it takes minutes. Why make someone wait hours in unimaginable pain? Migraines are misunderstood and people who suffer as I do need to step up for some changes and enlightenment.

I’ve been to many doctors. Specialists, neurologists, etc. But I think the cause of my migraines is hormone imbalances. I have learned to control them, somewhat, over the years. Thanks to medicine breakthroughs, like Zomig, and Immitrex, my  wonder-drugs! I can control my headaches to an extent. I have a great primary care physician, Dr. Andrew McDonald. He has me on a couple of preventatives that have helped contain their severity. I have managed my headaches with Advil, Goody’s Powders and sometimes if more severe I go right to Phenergan on the wrist (I get it in gel form)  Immitrex , sometimes with a Lorcet.  If I still have a headache in an hour or so, I repeat the Phenergan, Immitrex, lorcet. If that doesn’t work, I’m screwed!  It is off to the Summit, or to Dr. McDonald’s office if week day. ER if Night.

I’ve had to call on family and friends to take me to the ER throughout the years. I appreciate each and every one of them. I don’t know what I would do without my friends and family!  They have seen me in a state that when I look back, it embarrasses me.. Usually, I’m wearing no make up, hair a mess, clothes might not even match….I’m a real mess. Oh, and I am usually throwing up, which isn’t attractive.

Last Saturday, I woke up to a super-duper bad one.  Partially because I had needed to take Advil the night before for my foot pain. I think this was a trigger. I cannot take Advil, or any aspirin product until after my “blob” surgery. So, I guess I should have taken a pain pill, but I didn’t. I finally fell asleep, but woke in great head pain. Did the Phenergan, Immitrex, lorcet, then repeated in an hour or so. Yes, no relief….I was screwed. I was so sick, I could barely find enough strength to get my cell phone off the table to call Dennis. He had gone somewhere that morning, told me, but I was too out of it to remember. He just thought I was asleep. Finally, called. Put it on speaker, told him I needed to go to the summit. Fortunately, he was already almost home.  The pain was so intense I could hardly bear to get up to get dressed. I was so sick, I had to throw up. So I made it to the bathroom. Got dressed, Found a container to take for when I had to throw up again, and had to use it again before we left. Dennis is saying, “C’mon, let’s go.” and I’m barely able to say, “can I finish throwing up, first?”  We get there and although I don’t wait, too long, it seems like forever. The doctor, a woman, comes in and asks me sooooo many questions. I want to tell her, just give me a SHOT, I’ll tell you anything you want to know! She wants to know why I’m not seeing a neurologists….blah, blah blah…..I tried all that. I’ve had these for almost 30 years….I’m down to going in for a Demerol shot about once every year and a half. That’s as good as it’s gonna get! I want a SHOT! But I didn’t say that I just answered her and wished she would hurry and give me a shot. During her questions I was throwing up. I was so hoping she would see my pain and just give me the SHOT! She finally said nurse will be in soon to give shot. YAY. Nurse cam in to give shot. She told me it would hurt. As they always tell me. It NEVER hurts. The pain from the shot is so minor in comparison to my throbbing head and nausea, it is a welcome distraction.  It also usually means relief is imminent.   After my shot, they come in two minutes later and say “Y’all can go when you want.” I told Dennis, (rather panicky)  “The shot isn’t working…I’m still sick.”  I’ve been through this many, many times. And one shot usually does the trick, but this one didn’t phase me!  He told them we wanted to wait a minute to see if it was going to work.  We waited….I was still sick. Nurse comes back in with another shot, but keeps repeating, “ This is ALL you can have.” I said, “Ok, I just wanna feel better.” But buddy, that one knocked me out!  They had to wheel me out of that joint!

D got me home and into bed. I was OUT!  He came in to check on me about 2:30 or so….I was still feeling bad. So I told him I was going to sleep more.

I didn’t think to call in to work until almost 5:00. The schedule had me down to go in at 6:00, but I was not able to call. I woke from my Demerol shot so sick and my head was still hurting. I got Dennis to call in for me.  I didn’t feel better until around 9:00 or 10:00 pm At that time I was able to eat a little.  I had a few saltines, Coca Cola, and a tangerine.  I had not eaten all day as I had been nauseous.

Last Saturday was THE WORST MIGRAINE  I’ve ever had, bar none. I do not wish migraines on anyone. I honestly wanted to die during the peak of that migraine.

Post Note;

March 31, 20012 I ended up at the Summit again after waking up with a bad migraine.  I was low on Immitrex so i took half tablet with Lorcet. Headache remained after about hour and a half, I took another Lorcet and whole Immitrex. Headache wasn’t fazed. I called to Lee King and got a prescription filled. (by the way….best drug store EVER….my rx had expired so they had to put in a request to Dr. McDonald. ON A SATURDAY, but promised me that they would get me a couple of pills to get me through weekend if he didn’t respond…now that is service…luckily he responded)  Had D pick it up for me.  When he got home I took one with lorcet. Waited an hour or so with no change in headache. So I told D we needed to go to Summit. I had to call Kroger to let my boss know I would not be coming in. Man!  I hated to do that…and I barely could physically do it I was hurting so badly. It took every bit of effort I could muster to get the phone, find the number and dial. For the life of me, when I see posts on Facebook telling of the terrible migraine they are having I have to wonder how in the heck they manage to still function enough to stay on Facebook!  I am in my dark bedroom with a cold rag over my eyes, medicated and trying to keep from throwing up. Light, Sound, movement bothers me. It is so intense.  Migraines are horrible. Having these migraines makes me feel very bad. It just knocks you out!   You cannot work with it. There is no way. After my shot, (this time we asked to increase dosage so I wouldn’t need two shots) I came home and crashed. I was out for the day!
If I ever have the luxury of getting a migraine during Dr. McDonald’s hours. It is so much better on me all the way around. He always works me in to his schedule. When I arrive he gets me right in, his nurse takes me to a dark room. Prepares my shot right away. They ask NO QUESTIONS because they know me. I get relief right away and I’m pampered with TLC. One time I had a family member bring me as D was not available. When Dr. McDonald saw I had no one in the waiting room with me, (the family member had waited in the car…it was a brother-in-law) He walked me all the way to my car. Wrote his pager number down for me. He has been a great doctor to me. He told me one time that he really loves his job. It truly shows.

I talked with my sister in Law, Beth, who also has migraines. She is seeing a neurologist in Atlanta. I might give him a try. I haven’t seen a neurologist in years…and the migraines seem to be getting worse. I fear the prevention meds I am on are not working anymore. Hope to get a handle on these migraines. If I could just eliminate the debilitating ones. I could live with the functional ones.

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