I have a working diagnosis of hemiplegic migraines. Given the name of the condition and the fact that it is chronic you would think I would be a dab hand at dealing with migraines. But truth be told in my case the migraine headaches in their classic form are few and far between. Instead I tend to have a daily episodes which include a lower level headache and a range of other neurological symptoms that go along with this condition. Memory issues, trouble concentrating, occasional difficulty with speaking, right sided weakness (hemiparesis), with pain in my shoulder and my leg, often spreading to other parts of my back and body. So I am used to pain, I feel like I have a pretty good relationship with it. I don’t like it but it isn’t usually the thing that will stop me from doing what I want to do. It is the neural fatigue that gets me, it leaves me feeling like a sandbag after chatting with a friend for a while, or eating out, or shopping. The neural fatigue is what comes with living with a brain that is under such regular levels of assault. So when I do get a migraine headache I am usually taken by surprise. This last week I had one, a classic migraine and below I’ve written about it.
Thursday night was a ten out of ten.
I could feel it building, but ignored it for a while, watching Netflix instead.
Then it grew more, and more
And as it did I felt myself tense with awareness that this was bigger than usual.
The day had been fairly ordinary in an unimpressive way.
I had done some writing in the morning, had lunch and went to the physio.
It was at the physio when the episode started- it was warm in there too warn.
I left feeling exhausted, hardly able to stand.
I had leant my chin on the reception counter whilst waiting to settle my account.
I got home and lay on the couch. Waiting to feel better, waiting to recover.
Waiting for energy to restore to my body.
Waiting for the headache to settle and ease.
Nothing unusual there.
Like I said an ordinary day.
Ordinary for me.
I did feel better slowly, I started to come back to myself.
But then by evening the headache which had been lurking in the background increased its presence.
I took some pain relief, took some more, got the ice pack, and stayed there lying on the couch
My brain felt like it was twisting upon itself.
I took the phone with me as Eva helped me to bed.
She asked me why I needed the phone.
In case I need to call an ambulance I said.
I was scared of the pain increasing.
I couldn’t imagine how I would survive if it got any worse.
In bed and I lay in the darkness, in the quiet.
I felt lost.
I felt scared.
I played some relaxation music and put the ice pack on my forehead, the hot water bottle on my feet and waited to be pulled into sleep by the sedative effects of the pain relief.
I drifted in and out of sleep through the night. Waking with the pain still present until by the morning it was just a shadow of its former self.
And in the morning I felt like a shadow of my former self, like I do so often these days.
But this morning I was waking up with the fresh trauma of high pain.
I felt heavy and leaden and somehow surprised to still be alive.
I got through it, another one.
A ten out of ten migraine.