Here’s how it goes inside the thoughts of someone with migraines that last more than 24 hours. My record is 65 days so please chime in if you made it 66 days without bursting into flames. (Disclaimer: if it’s the worst headache you’ve ever had or the first migraine you’ve ever had, you do need to go to the ER. CT scans and MRIs exist for a reason. The following is really bad advice. Don’t take medical advice from crazy people or people in pain. Or crazy people in pain.)
Day 1: Dammit. A migraine. That’s exactly what today needed. Where are my meds? I hate my meds, they give me hiccups and make it painful to wear clothing. Let’s try Advil and a nap.
Day 2: Dammit. A migraine. Again. I think I left my meds on my desk.
Day 3: WTF? Seriously? Fish out the Head On. Wonder if people realize how badly hiccups hurt when you have a “headache.” Joke about having to squeeze your head to keep your brain from falling out.
Day 4: Did anything change recently to cause this? Coffee? No. Caffeine intake? Laundry detergent? Scented candles? Soap? Bathtub cleaner? Tobacco sensitivity? Allergies? Medication changes? Toilet paper? Does the Brita water filter need to be changed? Did the weather change suddenly? No to all those. Switch from Head On to the Bath & Body Works aromatherapy stuff.
Day 5: Bad karma? Voodoo hex? Spinal misalignment? Time to try the old wives’ tales. Soak a bandanna in vinegar and tie it around your head. Gargle with hot sauce. Drink a cup of straight apple cider vinegar. (This doesn’t work so don’t try it – it just causes instant and painful vomiting.) Leave out a small dish of sea salt to ward off evil spirits. (Really, after 5 days of constant pain, this is not such a crazy idea.) Contemplate a story a coworker told you about breaking your femur being the worst pain imaginable. Wonder if that would take your mind off your head.
Day 6: Fuck the pain meds. Where’s the xanax? If I’m going to be in pain I may as well not care. Cuss out anyone who says it’s “just a bad headache” or that “they get them all the time and it barely affects their life.” Pour the sea salt in the bathtub and take a long bath because you really stink, and what if the evil spirits are already inside you?
Day 7: I may need to get medical attention. No, that’s a bad idea. I’d get to sit in a loud, brightly lit waiting room with 100 of my closest neighbors who all have the swine flu so the loving doctors and nurses could give me the same medication I have here after sticking me in a tube that plays Scottish war drums. Alcohol – that’s the ticket. Being hungover wouldn’t hurt as badly as this.
Day 8 – Day 10: How do I explain to people that I’m just getting randomly angry at inanimate objects? I’m currently mad at the mattress for not being molded to my butt and at the bathroom door for squeaking. The TV is trying to kill me too – the volume is randomly increasing and decreasing. What’s that smell? Go tell the neighbors to stop putting on deodorant. It’s searing my nose hairs! Look longingly at the bottle of alcohol because you can’t even swallow enough of it to get buzzed without throwing up. It’s only mildly interesting that I have a twitch in my left eyelid and I can hear my pulse in my left eardrum.
Day 11: Air hurts. I’m out of meds. The 1 – 10 pain scale no longer applies. I printed out a figure of a woman and I’m coloring in the head with orange, red, and purple crayons. Ya know, I heard a story once about people who throw themselves down stairs just to get pain meds to sell. I wonder if they’re listed in the phone book.
Day 12 – 30: Cry at random points in conversations with doctor’s offices, hospitals and insurance companies. When someone says “you shouldn’t be in this much pain” yell “NO FUCKING KIDDING!” Call back apologizing for the outburst. Tell people that you’ll consider quitting the pain meds when the pain goes away. Go to the most recent doctor and take elaborate pleasure in lining up all 60 of the medications you’ve been prescribed over the last month on their desk. Tell the next triage nurse at the next ER that you can’t use the 1-10 pain scale when the 10 is the worst pain YOU’VE ever been in. Inform them that you need a statistical average of the people in your demographic.
Day 31 – 40: Research on the internet how many pills it would take to kill you. Vow to not go over 75% of that total. Wonder if there’s a job market for people who can’t wear clothes due to sensory overload caused by triptans. Wait for the meds that the doctor said would take about 2 weeks to build up enough to kick in.
Day 41-50: Consider the wisdom of continuing to breathe.
Day 51+: Congratulations! You’ve passed the point of no one being surprised you’ve gone slap crazy. Accuse random people of poisoning your medications and refuse to drink out of anything that you watched be washed. Carry a pillow everywhere you go to wrap around your head. Call the doctor and tell them gleefully that you haven’t barfed on anyone’s shoes today. Lay down for a nap where ever the urge strikes. Live on salt & vinegar chips, cherry coke, and sweet tarts because they distract your taste buds for a little while.
At the time of posting, it’s Day 10. I have just learned that Imitrex apparently works by making the pain TWICE as bad as you’ve ever been in, but if you manage to keep it down for 30 minutes it will take away all sensation and emotion. That’s ok.