Sometimes you just have to write…
I had my second migraine yesterday in as many weeks. I often get one early in vacations: something about relaxing after a time of tension causes it. In college I used to get them in the afternoon after my last test of exam weeks.
One time I was in a lesson with a first-year class (11 and 12-year-olds) when I got a migraine. I dealt with it, explaining to the kids what was happening and setting them some work to do while the visual disturbance went on.
When it cleared, I offered to read them a few more chapters of the book I was reading them at the time, The BFG, by Roald Dahl. It became evident within the first few sentences that there was still something wrong with me. While I could clearly understand what I was reading, what came out of my mouth was often completely different words than I was seeing and intending to say. It was gibberish – and, if you know The BFG, it was not the gibberish that’s already in the book.
So that weird brain disturbance comes next. It never lasts for more than five or ten minutes, so I’ve learned just not to do anything until it’s passed.
Mostly I find the visual disturbance more disruptive than the headache. While I wait for it to clear, I can’t do anything. If I’m driving, I have to pull over and park to wait for it to go away. Anywhere else, I can’t read, I can’t watch tv, I can’t even look at the scenery. Sometimes I’ll listen to the radio, but I have trouble following it. I can continue a conversation, but I’m never quite sure if I’m making sense.
Generally, if I take medications as soon as I notice the visual distortions, but well before the headache hits, my migraines aren’t bad at all. I take a sumatriptan tablet (I carry them with me everywhere.) and either a big dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen. If it’s available, I wash them down with diet Coke or a cup of tea because the caffeine seems to help as well. Once the headache hits, in that case, it’s quite bearable: much like a regular, everyday headache. And for the rest of the day I’ll feel a bit weak and have waves of dizziness from time to time if I’m walking, but that’s all.
I know I’m lucky that my migraines are relatively mild. I don’t have to lock myself in a dark room for three days like some people do. Medication helps, while for some people it doesn’t. I don’t get nauseous and throw up like some people do.
But two weeks in a row? On vacation? Migraines suck!
Do you get migraines? And, if so, what works for you? And do you have any idea how to reduce or eliminate the visual effects?