I suffer from migraine headaches. Plagued for many years, I do not know why I get them and the doctors have a wide variety of opinions. Today’s migraine was a doozy.
If you have every had a migraine you know. If you are not sure if you have had one, here is a brief rendition of a bad one…
I dropped my daughter off at nursery school. I had a few hours to get through my list of errands. First stop was Sears to take care of some billing matter. I was in the store for quite some time and they had floruesant lighting. This is a known culprit for causing a migraine headache. There is something about the flickering pattern of the lights that goes unnoticed by most people. The zigzag patterns and flashes of electric light started echoing in my eyes. No one else can see them except me and other migraine sufferers. When the zigzags start it makes it difficult to see clearly. I was happy to get out of there, but not happy that I had a migraine coming on.
The next stop was Kmart. I only had one item that I needed to buy, but I would have liked to comb through the store and do some shopping. The flickers of electric light intensified in my eye sockets. This reminded me to get what I came for and get out of there as soon as possible.
I was hungry, so I thought that might be aggravating the migraine (another reported cause of migraines – low blood sugar). I stopped to get something to eat. I still had some grocery shopping on my agenda, so I ate lunch quickly. I watched the clock and tried my best to out run the inevitable.
Migraine Triggers synopsis from http://www.NYM.org
A wide range of events and conditions can alter conditions in the brain that bring on nerve excitation and trigger migraines. They include, but are not limited to the following:
– Emotional stress (although the headaches often erupt after the stress has eased).
– Intense physical exertion.
– Abrupt weather changes.
– Bright or flickering lights.
– High altitude.
– Travel motion.
– Changes in sleep patterns.
– Low blood sugar has been known to trigger headaches and fasting can often precipitate migraines.
– Chemicals found in certain foods may trigger headaches in some people. More than 100 foods have the capacity to trigger migraine headache.
See http://www.nym.org/healthinfo/docs/097/doc97nonmedic.html#triggerfoods for a list of foods that may trigger migraine headaches.
At the supermarket, my migraine headache was in full swing. My patience was wearing thin, my list of items was not near complete and the numbness started in my left hand. By the time I got to the check out counter I was nauseous. The numbness had moved from my left hand, across my face and was tingling my right hand. The woman at the counter asked if I was ok as I flexed my right hand trying to regain feeling. I was afraid and unable to talk at that point I just shock my head, no. Once I get to that stage of the migraine my speech is impaired. I am unable to speak in complete sentences, so I did not even try to answer her. I made it to the car in a complete panic.
The supermarket was only a few minutes drive from my house. I pulled in the driveway, dropped my pocketbook at the door and left the groceries in the car. I yelled to my husband to pick up my daughter and get the groceries. I took a few aspirins and went straight to bed. A cold compress and sleep is the only remedy that works for my migraines.
Three hours later, my husband woke me up for dinner – God bless his soul. He knows my migraine routine all too well and took care of the kids while I was on sabbatical.
It took about an hour after waking up to fully recover. The migraine was gone, but I did not have much of an appetite. Your brain also feels like it has voids. Empty spaces that need to come together before you feel normal again. It is an unsettling feeling not being in control of your mind. The aftermath is like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle, but you are missing a few pieces.