Sunday, December 25, 2011

the migraine that nearly stole Christmas (and did steal your promised story)

On Monday the 12th, I drank a little port after dinner. After the children went to bed, I worked out on my rowing machine but quit a little early because I had a pounding headache. The Sober Husband sniffed at me judgmentally. "I would expect you to have a headache if you were drinking port and then exercising. Just seems like the kind of thing that would give you a headache." We squabbled for a bit over the wisdom of consuming port before exercise and then went to bed.

Most of the night I lay awake, tormented by a truly hellish migraine. In the morning I was a wreck. Iris uber Alles also reported feeling ill and stayed home from school. In the afternoon I drove to get Lola, but otherwise I did nothing all day except swallow huge handfuls of ibuprofen.

Again in the night I hardly slept, my head hurt so much. In the morning there was no question of me driving the children to school-- obviously I wasn't fit to drive. I stayed in bed. Later in the day, using all my willpower, I did get myself up out of bed and drove a couple of miles to the home of an artist who had suggested painting my portrait. I had already had to cancel sitting for my portrait once, and I had the distinct feeling that if I cancelled again, the portrait wasn't going to happen. I figured that I could sit still with a headache just as well as I could lie in my bed with a headache. I got myself over there, swallowing ibuprofen all through the sitting, and then picked up the children. I told poor Lola that I didn't feel well enough to take her to the cafe we frequent, and she was a good sport.

Once again it was a hellish night. Just rolling over made my poor brain reverberate with agony. The next day the Sober Husband said repeatedly, "You know I can take you to the hospital whenever you say, right? Just say if you want me to take you to the hospital." We decided to try going to a doctor. The doctor I had previously seen at my practice group had left, so we went downtown to a different office to try a different doctor. Each step made my brain ricochet around in my skull, and I couldn't face eating or drinking coffee. Indeed I was pretty dehydrated by this point.

The doctor, whom I liked, made the point that once a migraine gets to this point, it's pretty hard to break it. It would have been easier if I'd come in the first day. Of course I never go to a doctor the first day I have a migraine, because I have no reason to believe that I am starting a multiple day-migraine (it's much more normal for me to have a single day headache). He prescribed me a tryptan, a drug which will for some patients end a migraine, and advised me to take it with benedryl and ibuprofen and try to spend as much time sleeping as possible for the next few days. This thoughtful doctor firmly addressed the Sober Husband and told him I wouldn't be capable of doing anything for the next few days.

At home the Sober Husband was a treasure. He forcibly rehydrated me by periodically bringing a glass of water with a long, bent straw. Putting the straw in my mouth, he would not relent until I'd taken a few swallows of water. The tryptan worked slightly; about an hour after I took it, I was able to sit up and check my email and desultorily talk. I even managed to eat much of a salad (which turned out to be the only meal I ate in three days). But soon the tryptan would fade, and it was back to lying in bed with a damp washcloth on my forehead, trying not to move. The pain grew worse, and I considered going to the hospital and begging for some fentanyl. The Sober Husband called the doctor I'd seen. I didn't feel well enough to go back to the doctor, who called in a prescription for a different tryptan for me to try. Over the weekend I tried both tryptans, as well as enough ibuprofen to sedate an ox.

Meanwhile I had missed several holiday parties I had very much wanted to attend, as well as the Christmas concert at Lola's school. "Give me lots and lots and lots of latkes," little Lola sang as she came home, and I moaned and adjusted my cold washcloth on my forehead.

The poor Sober Husband left his new job early again, and we went back to the doctor. This time he took some bold moves, proposing an eight-drug cocktail (some over-the-counter, most prescription). He assured me that he could see me again on Friday, the day before Christmas Eve, if need be, to try another mix. During the consultation, at some point this daring man of medicine's nerves quailed a bit, and he said, "We haven't done any workups." We both looked at the list of medications we were proposing I take and at the large syringe where he was mixing me up a shot. "I"m a little worried about your kidneys," he said. I assured him that I'd had a lot of bloodwork done the year before when I had surgery, and my kidneys and liver had been in topnotch form. He gave me the shot.

This bold new regime began to take effect. My headache faded to a lower but still bothersome level. I started moving around the house (whereas previously I had spent five days without coming downstairs except to be taken to the doctor). I resumed eating and drinking coffee (but not alcohol. I went two weeks without a drink). I fretted about loss of muscle tone. Here on the blog, readers wondered why the hell I offered them the choice of a topic if I weren't going to bother myself to write anything. I hired an unemployed friend to drive Iris to a party down the Peninsula (now that Iris goes to school in Hillsborough, she has social engagements all up and down the Peninsula).

The day before Christmas Eve, I still didn't have the energy to go to the party in the East Bay I'd planned to attend. But on Christmas Eve itself, I was able to get up, walk into the kitchen, and make our traditional Christmas Eve meal. Let us all praise brave men of medicine, who fear not the prescription of drugs but deliver us from our twelve day migraine. Merry Christmas to all of you, darlings, with love from the newly recovered DH


J9 said...

Welcome back to the land of the living!

Carroll said...

Oh Carole -- I merely assumed you had just been very very busy with festive pre-holiday "stuff". Not festive at all :-(

Glad you are fully (and hopefully firmly) recovered.

"The 12 Days of Migraine" does not sound like it's ready to become a holiday classic.

the Drunken Housewife said...

I still have a headache, ugh, the day after Christmas, but I can get up and move around. I need to get back to the gym; I'm quite fretful over having lost hard-earned muscle tone. But thank God the horrible, horrible part is over.

Carol Madden said...

Wow, just discovered your blog as I had a bad day with the kids and was googling 'bad parents' to try and make myself feel better. I love it! I also just wanted to share that last week I had my first ever migraine that lasted five days and nothing would help. My sister was convinced I was going to drop dead from an aneurysm! Anyways, glad you're feeling better now, looking forward to following your writing.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Dear Cazza,

Glad you found me, but "bad parenting?" Wince! Oh, the future therapy...

So sorry you've also suffered the epic, multi-day migraines. Hellish, isn't it? Shudder!

Carol Madden said...

Omg that sounded so bad!!! Ha ha, I'm sorry... I was searching 'bad parents' to find funny stories about honest parents who share their ups and downs with their kids to make myself feel better, certainly not bad parenting in the abusive, depressed sense! Am really loving the latest stuff, very funny about clubbing in the see through top. Have been feeling like that myself a bit lately on the odd 'girls nights'. Do towering fuschia stilletos on a 35 yr old mother of 2 counts as 'skank'? They do? Damn!

nurofen said...

One of the things that I don't want to happen the day before the Christmas eve is definitely headache. Why? Simply because, you will never enjoy the night with your family. Headache really kills joy!

4rx said...

Migraine in itself is awful and headache on the day before Christmas eve is much more awful. I have migraines too and I can say that I am dependent on pain medications. I don't want to be dependent on those meds for the rest of my life. Do you know any alternative?

flu remedies said...

Migraine can really ruin your holiday plans. What is worst is that migraine can strike at any time. Migraine gets me when I am stressed.