Hello, It’s Me, Migraine

I guess a lot of us in the UK celebrated ‘Freedom Day‘ by heading outside doing things which we have been prevented from doing since Covid began last year. Except for yours truly of course. Instead, after a night of profuse tossing and turning I woke up realising that I had the first migraine in a while and was this a humdinger.

During my peri-menopausal years I had a guaranteed monthly occurrence of migraines having never had them when I was younger. It took numerous visits to the GP before it was officially recognised as just that – a migraine – and I had pretty much managed it with over the counter migraine relief. There was one caveat though – if I caught the migraine while I was awake I didn’t have any issues at all except the feeling of being in a different solar system due to the strength of the pain relief. But if it came on in the night, I would kiss goodbye the ability to carry out my duties as a normal human being. When I passed the menopause threshold of 50, they began to reduce significantly as my oestrogen levels bid their farewells as well and I very much didn’t miss them.

So who told this particular migraine to visit on one of the hottest days of this year?

Yesterday during a fitful sleep I vaguely recalled feeling pain sufficient to bring me out of deep sleep but I ignored it as it was a Sunday night and I regretfully thought I had to force myself to sleep due to work on the Monday. By the time my alarm went off at 6am the migraine literally slapped me awake! I stumbled out of bed and staggered downstairs to the kitchen. Once there I fumbled to get the medicine box from the upper most shelf in the kitchen cupboard – it occurred to me at that moment that my son was 10 and so was not about to overdose on out of date plasters and paracetamol. After being attacked by an avalanche of medically related boxes (never did get round to placing them in the box), I finally found the migraleve and popped the pink pills with a full glass of water.

It struck me an hour later that the migraine possibly started a good 4 to 6 hours prior to me getting up as my stomach began its telltale cramping which occurs towards the end of a migraine episode along with what I call the ‘munchies’. During a daytime episode, I would be 4 hours into the migraine when – in spite of eating normally – my stomach would feel immensely empty to the degree that no amount of eating would alleviate the sensation. Hence the term, “the munchies”. If I ignored this sensation, I would be rewarded with the mother of all stomach cramps. However at 7am with a tight school run to do, I ignored the warning signs and attempted to get by with another glass of water and a bio-yogurt drink.


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

By the time I had made it to the car with my son, I was in the full throngs of unbelievable stomach pain. Sweating profusely, I pigheadedly drove my son to school and made the 14 mile round trip back home. Back on the drive, I was making my peace with God, trying to remember where I had placed my stupid Will, but somehow managed to get myself back inside just in time to chuck the two glasses of water, bio-yogurt and migraine tablets into the toilet bowl.

About 20 minutes later my older daughter saw me sat on the landing like a wet lettuce and I must have looked really bad because she genuinely looked worried and did not retort with some kind of banter that she normally would. Instead there was a degree of role reversal – she gently and quietly rubbed my back, dried my sweaty forehead and comforted me until I was strong enough to get up. She then forced me to drink some water before helping me back into my bedroom which had a fan blasting and closed curtains. I rode out the rest of the migraine there until it subsided.

I have an idea of what brought on that migraine and in a small part the hot night did not help.

But the thought of me working for the NHS, hearing and witnessing the deep routed concern about ‘Freedom Day’ from the frontline workers who care deeply about their patients and the continuing rise of cases hitting the wards, had my brain working over time on what would have been the hottest night of the year.

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