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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Hell week : 168 hours of migraine

So this past week, I discovered that I can now achieve week-long migraines. This is not a good thing.

It was particularly unpleasant since they've been infrequent after nearly popping my clogs in New Zealand; to me a migraine attack once a month is pretty damn awesome.

Friday I started the twinges. All the warning signs were there - sugar cravings, feeling ratty as hell, sharp spikes of pain over the right eye. I expected a not-so-nice Saturday, but again - once a month I can deal with.

Saturday and Sunday with both fairly low level; not worth breaking out the painkillers for. I could eat. Monday morning started with the migraine ramping up. Painkillers - even the big-boy versions - didn't touch it. Food was a no-go.
Tuesday it got worse. I worked from home in the morning, until the pain got so bad I basically threw up my toe-nails and logged off. By that evening, I was doing a great imitation of the dead girl from the Ring movies. The original version.

Then Wednesday came.
Did you know you can hallucinate on migraines? And not the usual funky light show either; full on OMFG there are spiders the size of frigging rabbits in the flat hallucinations. (I admit to throwing a shoe at the first one before I realised that no spider on the planet gets to that size. I'm just glad I missed the computer.)
The pain alternated between the usual spikes and the feeling that the right side of my skull was being crushed. My neck hurt. I couldn't hold things in my right hand for long, and my depth perception (never my strong point anyway) was away with the fairies, giggling gently and bouncing off walls.
A few of my friends wanted me to call an ambulance. I don't know how coherent I was, but here's the explanation of why I didn't, just in case:
Emergency rooms are busy (noisy), brightly lit, and full of strong smells. This combination on a killer migraine means I'd have to be unconscious before I go into one; I'd rather lick a cheese-grater than do that to myself. There's another reason: go to the A&E with a migraine and the automatic assumption is that you're a junky looking for a fix, or you're hung-over. That you look like a shambling, shaking corpse just bears that out. Most docs & nurses are doing their best, I know. Just not if you have a frigging migraine.
I called the non-emergency line, and the woman I speak to got very excited right up until I told her I was diagnosed with chronic migraine, at which point she acted like I ate her puppy.

I got an appointment with my GP, who was pretty worried and made an appointment with a neurologist for Friday.

The folks FaceTimed me, and probably wished they hadn't. I wasn't a pretty sight, and I wasn't very coherent.

Thursday passed in a daze of pain and nausea. I don't remember much of it.

Friday I ended at the neurologist. Stace came with me, which was good because I can get lost going to the bathroom at the best of times, let alone when I'm seeing double AND giant bloody spiders. I was twitchy.
I passed the mini-stroke test (yay, me), found out the hallucinations happen to other people too (relief), got given the contact info to book a scan to make sure the ole brain isn't going too pear-shaped, and got given a blocker injection into the occipital nerve, which had reached new heights of inflammation.

It hurt.

I said a few very rude words, and clawed a hole in the towelling over the bed I was resting my forehead on.

It hurt some more, and then I felt/heard this hissing, fizzing noise and felt something pop in the back of my skull.

The nausea started dissipating almost immediately. I ate solid food that night for the first time in five days; there was still pain, but it was fading back. I slept on my side since the back of my head was too sore to put pressure on, and I woke up Saturday pain-free for the first time in a week.

As of now, Sunday, I'm still pain-free. I'm craving sugar, and I've still got marks under my eyes, so I've no idea what will happen when the blocker wears off.

Let's hope that by the time it does this particular migraine has burnt itself out.