Sunday, May 17, 2015

Brain woes

So, where have I been? Dealing with my brain, which is apparently trying to kill me.

I get migraines. Always have, since I was a wee child. My mom gets 'em, her mom got 'em... my brother does, too. It's heredity, nothing to be done about it. When I was a kid, they were brutal -- really painful, endless bouts of vomiting, all that fun stuff. Miserable. When I was about 15 or so, they stopped! I was so happy! Life was good! And then, in 2001, they came back. Right in the middle of a lovely visit from some out-of-town friends. (Including an ex-boyfriend from college and his current girlfriend, who was deeply unhappy that I existed, much less was still friends with my ex, and made it ABUNDANTLY clear that she loathed me, and wasn't THAT fun.) They weren't as bad, though -- I get the lovely scintillating scotoma, which makes my vision go all wonky (there are animations on that Wikipedia entry. I can't look at them, because it makes me want to puke), and I get some weird language aphasia, but normally, the headache itself isn't that bad. It usually feels like someone has thumped me right above my left eye, and is unpleasant, but that's it. I can manage, especially if I can get a nap in right when it all starts. 

This past week, though, whoa. Sunday night, just as Jeff was making a lovely dinner, the aura started up, so I swore a few times and went to lie down. Dozed for half an hour or so, then got up and tried to eat a little something, but the headache was much worse than usual, and I felt nauseated, so back to bed I went, for another hour or so. It was a little better after that, but of course by then my sleep cycle was all off-kilter, so I got up for a little while and read until I felt sleepy again. 

Monday, I felt okay, except for the usual post-migraine drained feeling... until that night at around 9:30, when the migraine came roaring back. It was bad, so much worse than Sunday. Hell, much worse than it's ever been! Bad enough that I asked Jeff to call my mom and see if she thought we should go to the emergency room. By then, I had a fistful of my own hair, which I was pulling on hard -- I couldn't help myself, it just hurt so much. Mom said yes, go to the ER, so we went to the local hospital, which... not the best idea. They're not very good. At least not in the ER they aren't. We should have gone to one of the better hospitals, but those were at least 20-30 minutes away, and the local one is about 5 minutes, and I felt so ill that I didn't want to be in the car for any longer than was necessary. 

I kind of figured that going in and telling the ER desk-staff person that I was having the worst headache of my life would get me seen quickly. I could barely talk at that point, just sort of croak, and words weren't really working for me, but nope, I get sent off to the waiting room. For over an hour. At least they gave me a barf pan, just in case, after Jeff asked for one! It was the most miserable hour I've had in a very long time -- blinding pain, nausea, ugh. Finally, though, just as I had decided that, if they didn't see me within the next ten minutes, we were going home, they moved me into a room and gave me a lovely IV of saline, anti-nausea meds, pain meds, and, interestingly, Benadryl. The nurse said it helps with the tension that migraines can cause. Plus it knocks you out, so that was a plus. Once all that kicked in, we went home... at around 2:30 in the morning. Whee. Had a tiny snack, then crashed into bed and slept for a nice 11 hours or so. Woke up feeling okay, if even more drained then before, but otherwise okay. And then realized, while petting the cats, that I couldn't see out of my right eye properly. Another fucking migraine. Jeff called my primary care doctor's office while I sobbed in the bedroom, and they told him to just bring me right in. (The intake nurse was sort of bitchy at me when I didn't know what the various meds the ER had given me were called. I couldn't remember! And, lady, I AM HAVING A MIGRAINE RIGHT NOW. I'm lucky I remember my own NAME. Cut me some slack!) Got a nice shot of Tramadol in my butt, and then had a little lie-down in a darkened exam room, and went home again. (The weird thing was, that migraine aura was on the opposite side from the usual ones. Strange!) I'm sure the Tramadol helped, but at least that one wasn't so bad -- the headache didn't really take hold too much, so after a little nap, I felt okay again. And since then, no migraines. (Knock wood.)

The nurse practitioner I saw on Tuesday thinks it was sinus pressure from all the pollen. I don't, not really -- I always have allergies, and my sinuses were no worse than usual. I suspect it was the weather -- it was cycling between being fairly cool and dry to hot and muggy over the few days up to and during the Great Migraine Attack of 2015, and weather changes are always a trigger for me. Whatever caused it, I hope it doesn't happen again. 

There hasn't been much knitting, what with the headaches -- a little progress on the sweater, a little progress on a sock... but I did manage to make a present for my brother. Meet Gnorman:

He's a tiny gnome! He embarked on his grand adventure in care of the US Postal Service a few days before Migrainepalooza, and was a big hit with my brother. He was kind of a pain to knit, but I miss him, so I might have to make one for myself. Or two. Or 40. 

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