Monday, October 1, 2012

Migraines: Pain and Relief

I wrote this on 8/25/2012 when I was having a migraine. I had to take an imitrex, the pill I take while I'm having one. More for reference and as a semi-journal entry. In case someone wants to read what it feels like, this is what it's like. I was really tired and that made it really hard to suck it up and deal with the pain, so I was pretty emotional. Anyway. Here it is. Good writing fodder, I suppose.

I wake up with my head splitting. I feel sick, my stomach trembles with heaves that don’t quite make it up my throat. I would like to throw up, but I can’t. I try to do my morning biking, and while my blood is pumping hard, for those 20 minutes, my headache eases and I feel better. The moment I stop... the headache returns tenfold. My sinus’s feel full. My heart feels like it’s got a weight on it, pounding hard in my chest. My hands shake, my arms shake. I want to lay down but I have to work.

I type, but my fingers keep skipping around the keyboard on their own accord. I feel like crying, but I’m not sure if the lump in my throat is a sob or it’s just my stomach hurts so bad.

I tense up, then force my shoulders to relax. I sit back and make myself have good posture. It releases the pain for a split second before it’s back again. I wonder, am I hydrated? I drink a bottle of water. My hands shake as I hold it to my mouth. The water doesn’t seem to help, it just makes my stomach more upset.

I feel hopeless. I don’t want to take another pill, I hate the way the imitrex tears at my stomach, makes my blood pressure spike, and I’ve taken too many of the pills so far. But the pain in my head tells me I must take them. I can’t think, every time I try to make a rational thought it feels like something is lodged between my eye and nose. If I get a respite from the pain without the meds, then two seconds later the pain is back two fold. I want to dig out my eyes. I can’t even look at the computer screen without it feeling like someone’s shoving daggers into my iris’s. I wince every time I try to work at the computer. I darken my monitor as much as I can, but then my eyes have to strain to see, and that makes the pain just as bad. It’s always either too bright or too dim.

My heart pounds, each thump reverberating through my skull and behind my eye. I start to panic. Do I have a migraine, or is it something worse? Maybe the feeling behind my eye isn’t a migraine at all! Maybe it’s something like sinus pressure, or maybe it’s cancer. Maybe the blood pressure spiking is because my heart is that weak. Maybe I have to eat badly because I’m diabetic and the migraines are diabetes related? I wish I knew.

The imitrex starts to go through my system. It makes me jumpy at first. The pain is still there, digging behind my eyes and my nose, and the side effects kick in. My blood rushes so hard through my arteries that when I put my finger to my neck, it feels like my neck is throbbing with each beat. My arms feel tingly and bloodless. My hands continue to shake.

I get tired, fatigue washing over me as I try to deal with the feeling of my head being too small for the pain.

I try to focus on work, keep my mind off it, but my hands keep shaking and every time I try to think, all I can think about is the pain and the side effects that hit me, one after another. All I want is to not feel the pain behind my eyes. It drives me insane, feeling that constant pain. It doesn’t hurt badly now, but it’s enough to feel like my nose is in the wrong place again. That constant feeling of wrong-ness is like sand under the skin. It itches and hurts and won’t go away. I get antsy and try to work some of it out by shaking my legs. That makes my stomach bounce up and down and makes me feel motion sick. I pick at my nails because feeling the sharp pain of a hangnail feels better than the constant pain from my head. At least I can rationalize the hangnail and don’t have to worry about it.

I just feel sick.

The pain starts to lessen. It’s like a release of pressure behind my eyes. The imitrex burrows a hole through the pain and drains it. If my migraine is like having a sack of blood pressed up against my nose and eyes, the imitrex pokes a small hole in the sack and let’s the blood drain away into the rest of my body where it belongs. My shoulders relax. The pressure is being released. Some of that pressure goes to my stomach, where I know I’m going to be constipated for a few days.

The pressure isn’t relieved entirely. The pain still presses against my eyes, but at least it’s always moving out as well. That sack of blood is still going to fill, only now the imitrex made a hole, so it drains out at the same time instead of building and building until my head wants to burst.

My hands still shake, but I can manage it well enough. Without the pressure in my head, the hands are just shaking because the imitrex raises my blood pressure. It’s something I know, something I can deal with. The more I relax, the less everything shakes.

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