My Head, It Hurts

I had a migraine a few days ago.

Not the kind I used to get when I was young, a blinding, debillitating pain that wracked my cortex for a day and a half and made me throw up, or want to, and took me out of commission for days afterward. I don’t get those anymore, but I still get migraines.

At least I think that’s what they are. It’s in my head, so no one can see what I see, and no one can tell me what I have. But I had a swirling, shifting, writhing, silvery blind spot in the middle of my field of vision, which over the course of forty minutes moved out to the edges and eventually went away, leaving my eyes unwilling to look at anything bright, my ears unwilling to listen to anything loud and my head full of gravelly cement.

These vestiges are still with me three days later. Everything is difficult. I walk the halls with my eyelids drooping, almost closed. My job, which is child’s play, seems impossible. Driving on the freeway I find my car rushing up to the back of other cars who aren’t going the right speed. In the mirror, my face is haggard and colorless. I wonder who I am, who is this man who can’t do anything, who can’t stay awake and can’t sleep. There’s a piece missing from the middle, an empty place where my identity should be.

I’ve been through this before, once or twice a year, and each time I am grateful that it isn’t worse, like when I was twenty-five, and I had to go to bed and hope for sleep because no amount of aspirin would help. I always wondered what brought these things on, and I never found out. I’m just glad that I no longer wake up disoriented, dirty and disheveled, in an alley behind a cantina in Juarez.

Fellow sufferers, tell me of your pain, as misery loves company.

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23 Replies to “My Head, It Hurts”

  1. i used to get migranes too, about once a month for years. i’d get them so bad, i would end up in the hospital, dehydrated from getting sick. just awful. for some reason, i haven’t had one since i had my son. i’m so thankful. I know hot terribly debilitating they can be. hope you are feeling better.

  2. jonny-no-stars: Welcome! You have to stop drinking for a few hours to get a hangover. Have you tried that?

    T1 – Actually my doctor doesn’t know me. My insurance made me select one, but I haven’t ever seen him. Professionally.

    GnightGirl – So you like to watch, eh?

    You have all made me feel better. Thanks!

  3. I know about terrible nauseating headaches. I’ve only had a few, and I was lucky enough to have friends to loan me migrane drugs to knock me out until the worst of the symptoms subsided. I haven’t had any since I left my stressful career. I also stopped grinding my teeth at night. A likely connection?

    I want to help you and make everything alright. A lavender scented hand massage in a dimly lit room is a start. When is a good time for you?

  4. I could do your head, but it would only provide temporary relief. Your hands have several pressure points that, when properly stimulated, will ease your pain …
    … damn, I can’t believe I’m pretending this isn’t ripe with inuendo.
    Hell, just tell me where it hurts…

  5. So sorry you are feeling this way. : ( I have heard an ice pack on the head can do wonders. Also see:
    http://www.migraines.org/treatment/treatalt.htm (some of these look pretty goofy, but I’ve had good results with acupuncture.) I’m a hippie at heart and can’t help myself for loving alternative remedies. I can send you Reiki (energy healing. . . I live in Northern California, so I get a pass from any raised eyebrows. . .) if you want, just shoot me an e-mail. In the meanwhile, ICE! And whatever Theresa’s offering sounds like a cure-all . . .

  6. Theresa – I can’t believe you would use the phrase “…do your head…”

    Dick – Thanks for the good thought. I’d feel better, though, if you could share my misery.

    Jayne – I’m all better now. Must have been the Reiki. Ice packs on the head make me think of 1960’s-era romantic comedies wherein someone like Jack Lemmon, playing the lovable, goofy sidekick to someone like Cary Grant, has been out too late in Manhattan hustling someone like Marylin Monroe, and now he has a hangover.

    Sorry, I can’t go there with my own head.

  7. ” I wonder who I am, who is this man who can’t do anything, who can’t stay awake and can’t sleep. There’s a piece missing from the middle, an empty place where my identity should be.”

    Now that the headache has subsided, have those thoughts diminished as well? Just curious.

    Glad you are feeling better. A nice, cold Staropramen (Czech beer) usually does the trick too! Try it. You might like it.

  8. exploring idly – Funny you ask. I still don’t know who I am. I did at one time, but not now.

    Also, odd how some assume I have a hangover, and some recommend a beer cure. Or is that the same thing?

  9. Your headache/migraine sounds completely debilitating, and terribly frustrating. Hope you’re doin’ better now. You KNOW you have all my sympathies.

    I usually try and Djarum a migraine to death. but that’s just me.

  10. I wish I could say I feel your pain, but alas, I’ve never had migraines. Thank god, too, they sound horrible. So sorry you had to suffer–at least they’re not as bad as they used to be, it sounds like? Small comfort, I know, but you gotta take it where you can get it 🙂

  11. Hey, Grampa,

    Weird that you found this particular post of mine, and that you knew someone with the same syndrome. It doesn’t really help me out, but it was interesting reading. And I sometimes DO get the subsequent headache, which could also be described as “blinding,” but in a different way.

    I checked out TLF – looks like there are no posts there since October? Good to know the Fringe is still out there, though. Keep in touch – Who knows? I might be a lunatic too…

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