I Have a Headache

November 26, 2020 1 of 8

I might actually make it to eight posts today. Probably not, but who knows?

I was going to post about our upcoming socially distanced brunch, but I have a headache and that’s pretty much all I can think about. So. Headaches.

I have been having headaches for as long as I can remember in the sense that I can’t remember the first headache I ever had. I do remember my first migraine.

We were living in the house that we lived in from my birth to age 11 and suddenly my head started to hurt. At that point, the only painkiller I knew about was Aspergum. Mmm. Aspergum.

Okay, an aside about Aspergum. Aspergum was a gum that was, what’s the word, impregnated? I don’t think that’s the word I’m looking for, but we’ll stick with that.

Aspergum was a gum that was impregnated with, well, aspirin. My mom used to give it to me for sore throats, of which I had a bunch. I figured it was just for sore throats, so of course I wouldn’t think it would help with the headache. And since it’s aspirin, of course it would’ve helped.

The pain of that first migraine was *so* bad. I actually thought that I might have had a brain tumor. Sound and light hurt and so I went to my bedroom then lay there in the dark with my pillow over my head and hope it went away.

Just a bit of a brush with childhood trauma here. I wasn’t yet at the age where I hid out and so I did kind of expect my folks (we lived in a really small house and I am an only child) to notice that I was gone and ask where I went, but no one ever said anything.

I was already kind of feeling like I was getting lost in the shuffle, and this contributed to that feeling. I got the impression that my pain and illness didn’t matter to my parents and kind of internalized that.

Back to physical illness. Eventually the headache passed and I emerged. I don’t remember if if I had what I came to refer to as the “bruisey” feeling afterwards. It really is hard to describe. It’s like having bruises behind your eyes.

Anyway, I suffered from the headaches off and on for years and we eventually got a book that is kind of like a pre-internet Dr. Google. And, just like Dr. Google, everything is cancer.

I thought that my migraines might be migraines, but when I looked them up in the symptom book, it said that I would have nausea and vomiting when I had a migraine. (Put a sort of mental bookmark here; we’ll be back to it in a minute or two. Or ten.).

So, years passed. I would retreat into my bedroom, wondering if I really did have a brain tumor and my parents still never seemed to notice that I was gone.

We moved into another house and I started hiding in the semi-finished basement on a regular basis, watching the TV that used to be in parents’ bedroom and sitting/lying/reclining on the sofa that used to sit in the living room at our old house.

For my high school years, I went back to my folks’ living room because my grandfather was living in the basement. When he passed away in 1984, I went back to the basement.

During these years, I still hid in my bedroom during migraines, but my folks didn’t really notice because they were used to me not being right there in the living room with them.

When I was 21, I started dating Thomas. On one of our dates, he said something about having a migraine, but he didn’t, like, go away to throw up or anything. I asked how he could have migraines without nausea or vomiting and he seemed surprised. He explained that you don’t *always* throw up with migraines. I described these debilitating headaches that I’d had for, at this point, more than 10 years, and he armchair diagnosed me with migraines.

The next time I had a migraine, I gave it its correct name and my mom gave me this snarky accusation me of thinking that I could have caught them from Thomas.

I told her that I’d been having them since before I was 11 years old. This came as a total surprise to her. So, I guess she really never did notice when I retreated to my room to hide during my headaches.

At some point, I realized that aspirin, acetaminophen/paracetamol, etc. helped with the pain and so I retreated into my room less often.

I lost some time from changing majors and transferring schools, so at 21, I was heading into my junior year of college. I went away to school for my last year and a half and this is when I realized that I was a “weekend migraineur.” That is when you have the migraines once the pressure is off. I would go visit Thomas at his college and enjoying time with him and his friends (who were awesome) and would have a migraine during the weekend, like, every other time.

So, since I had an on-campus medical clinic right there (it literally was like, thee doors down from my dorm), I went to the on-campus medical clinic where I finally got an official diagnosis of migraines. I also got a prescription for Inderal to prevent them and Cafergot when they flared up anyhow.

This kept them mostly under control until my wedding. I had long since gotten used to the Inderal keeping them under control, so I stopped filling the Cafergot. I got a migraine right after we came back from our honeymoon and just couldn’t eat. I’d had a gastrointestinal virus just before my wedding, which led me to being so hungry on my wedding day, I ate my dinner and my maid of honor’s (she didn’t like it and was going to throw it away anyhow). I ate fine on my honeymoon, but when the migraine finally hit, I had my one and only experience of nausea and vomiting from a migraine.

In the years since my wedding, they discovered that a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen/paracetmol, and caffeine (sold as Excedrin Migraine) will stop a migraine. Retail is stressful enough that I don’t have that many migraines anymore, and generic Excedrin Migraine takes care of the ones I have pretty well.

I do still get the occasional regular headache, and I still take the generic Excedrin Migraine for that, because, well, it’s not like there’s any specialty medication in there, and this helps me use up my generic Excedrin Migraine before it expires. If I reserved it just for real migraines I’d probably be throwing away nearly full bottles all of the time.

Have I read any books in which the main character gets migraines? I actually think I have, but can’t remember what book it was. I’m sure I’ll find it again during my intensive reread to update my Goodreads account.

So it looks like another Gratuitous Amazon Link for now. So. Discworld or Nancy Drew. Let’s find out. Discworld it is. Today we introduce probably the most popular (or second after the witches, maybe?) character set in the series, the City Watch, in Guards! Guards!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.