Saturday, February 1, 2014

Migraine In Process

I get migraines. I'm writing with one now. There could easily be typos. I can't really see reliably. Mostly I can't think reliably.

Everyone knows that migraines hurt. By God, yes they do. The most aggravating thing about them for me is that they steal your brain.

I'm lucky in that I don't get them often - just four to six times a year I guess - and that I can mediate them by taking a few Advil the minute I know one is coming on. The fact that I get a warning is lucky too because not every migraineur gets a warning. I get what they call a halo - a visual effect that I can best describe as jagged, jangly colored bars of light that sort of fizz around my field of vision in a curved line. Really hard to explain. Maybe I can draw it someday. And animate it, because it moves. And it prevents me from seeing.

You know, I'm not going to re-read this as I go because that is too difficult and painful. I'm going to come back after this thing has passed and make visible edits to make sure you understand my meaning.

So my first tip off that I'm getting a migraine is that I can't see all of whatever it is I'm looking at. Faces work best. They're usually big enough with a familiar, regular pattern so it's easy to notice that the pattern is messed up. Then I close my eyes to double check. If I see a sparkly area with my eyes shut then I know I need to find my Advil.

Of course if you're going to take three Advil at one time you'd better do it with some food in you. This is where things can get tricky. If you have a banana hanging around that's perfect. Banana then Advil and then you can find something else to pad your stomach.

I didn't have a banana today so, first challenge, I had to use my hobbled brain to think of something else quick to eat. This is where the brain stealing comes in. I settled on a bagel. Then I had to think for a bit on how you prepare a bagel. Oh yeah, you cut it in half. How do you do that? You find a knife. Where are the knives? Oh yeah, they're over there. Cutting board. Okay.

Wait, this is taking too long. You need to find something more immediate. I cut the bagel and put in toaster oven. I still want the bagel.

Oh, yeah - I also have a croissant. I could have the croissant. Non-brain-stolen me would have just seen and chosen the croissant right away. See what I mean?

So while the bagel toasts I jam down the croissant. I would have liked to enjoy the croissant more while it was going down but time is short. If I don't take the Advil soon enough I can't avoid the migraine and then the sh!t really hits the fan.

Croissant down, I need to find my Advil. Oh.

There's none in the drawer where we usually keep it. That's okay, there's some in my purse. I never leave home without Advil or earplugs (longtime rock wife) Where is my purse? Uhm... Okay found the purse. What am I looking for now? Grey bag with pillbox in it. Oh yeah. Where's the grey bag? Got it. Where's the pillbox? Rummage, rummage. Got that. ADVIL!!!! Ta-dahhh! I down three and I can relax a little now.

Coffee helps with migraines and I have some already made. I want to warm it up in the microwave. How do I work this microwave again? It's different than the one at work and the one in Cambridge and it's different from pretty much every microwave oven there ever was because they all have completely different control panels. So I stare at the keypad on the microwave for a while until by chance I notice that the last person who used it left a perfect 36 seconds of coffee reheating time on the timer. Yay! I can just hit "start." Phew.

You know, this thinking thing kind of hurts. It literally feels uncomfortable in my brain to have to think.

All of that accomplished I can get on with making the rest of my breakfast. It no longer matters how efficiently I do that, what logic problems I fail while attempting it, because I've taken my Advil and that's the only thing I can really do to help the situation.

Because I've taken my Advil in time I won't get the pounding head, the pain of which makes me want to run out into the road in front of a logging truck. I won't puke my guts out. My arms won't go numb and curl up (I don't know why they curl up - it's really weird) I won't feel like I'm probably going to die in the next hour or so. It's even possible that I won't need to sleep away then next eight hours.

Hell, I'm typing right now. That's very impressive. I feel pleased with my reasoning abilities too. I can't prepare a bagel but I can construct a paragraph. Go me! I can't go back and re-read what I've written but I think it's going pretty well as written. I'm fixing the typos that spellcheck shows me as I go. Looking up at the big wads of text above that I've already written is overwhelming though. My brain won't go there.

At this point the halo is gone and I can mostly see everything. It's a little overwhelming to see anything though. It's like the aperture to my brain is too big and there's too much light and everything is too big to fit and it's stretching the inside of my head uncomfortably. I will probably have to go to sleep until I get over that.

Migraines make it really hard to concentrate on reading a line of text so reading is out. T.V. is out. Crosswords are out. Exercise is out (jiggles the achy head), using tools is out, doing anything that requires any kind of accuracy or concentration is out. DO NOT TRY TO BALANCE THE CHECKBOOK. That would be a laugh. Video games are waaay out. No looking at moving things on a screen! Bad! There's too much light everywhere. I might as well go to bed because otherwise I'll just have to sit here and do nothing at all with my eyes shut.

I get migraines when I relax. I had big plans for today. Big, helpful plans that I was excited about. I stocked up on food so I wouldn't have to think about what I was going to eat. (Why didn't I get bananas?) I was going to catch up on some business that I'd fallen behind on. I was going to make myself a checklist to help me evaluate each week whether I'm staying on track to stay sane and to reach my goals. (One of my goals is to determine what my goals are.)

This morning is lost. Good for nothing (though I like my blog post, I think) If I go back to sleep for a few hours I might feel well enough and get enough brain power back to be able to work on the checklist. Maybe I can do the business stuff early tomorrow morning or later tomorrow evening.

There is a temptation to blame myself for getting migraines. There's a temptation to think, "if you didn't let things get so bad that you got so stressed, if you were better at time management and set more realistic expectations for yourself, if you could just stay reasonably relaxed all the time, then this wouldn't happen. You wouldn't lose this time you fought so hard to find. You wouldn't need to fight for your time." Well I did the best I could. I don't see how I could have done anything differently. I just have to get through this and move on when it's over.

I'm trying to figure out a way to do things differently and I think I'm really close. A lot of things go into triggering migraines. Actually, I bet the barometric pressure today has a lot to do with it. Everyone has stress in their life. Everyone stores it in their body and manifests it differently. That's part of being alive. Even plants deal with stress. So I'm not taking on the blame.

I will take a nap though.

1 comment:

Hope said...

I get these really nasty headaches... I don't think they're migraines, just bad sinus headaches. But, man oh man, I feel your pain (kinda literally).