Friday, August 27, 2010

A No Brainer

     There are few things in life I dread more than a migraine headache. The hip replacement is a piece of cake compared to a bad headache. Sure, there was pain from the surgery (largely diminished by medication, thank you very much), a good deal of frustration (primarily derived from the fact that I could not DRIVE for six weeks), and some hard work in physical therapy, but overall, I would gladly do it again. A migraine headache? I would be happy to never ever meet one coming or going again. I hate them. Positively hate them. I woke up with one today. I asked hubby in my nicest softest voice to bring me the hot rag (this is standard treatment), got up like a good girl when I thought I could move without screaming and took my medicine (a tablet of Axert). I crawled to the sofa (okay I staggered like a blind woman) because when I tried to get back in bed I found I could no longer get comfortable. At that point the pain felt like daggers stabbing me repeatedly. I sat on the sofa trying desperately not to move even one tiny muscle (except for my diaphragm which I can't control anyway) while I waited for the medicine to take effect. 20 torturous minutes passed. When the husband turned the pages of the newspaper it sounded like the sonic boom had gone off in the den. And when he walked across the room, I tried not to scream out loud. I just couldn't bring myself to ask him to tiptoe. The seconds stretched out. I fought the rising panic as I felt no relief. I wondered if boring a hole in my head would ease the pressure...did I mention that you think completely irrational and sometimes crazy things when you have a bad headache?! I am not kidding here.
    After an hour of playing dodge ball with the headache, I became determined not to let him win. There is a serious tug-of-war going on in my brain at this point. He aims his weapon at me, I try to dodge (remember I am not moving a muscle while I am attempting to dodge his perfectly timed thrusts that seem to coincide with my breathing) and just when I think I might be getting the upper hand, the headache sneaks around the back of my neck and jumps me from the rear. I know I need to do something to outsmart the wily old bugger. Something in the caffeine family sometimes helps so I drag myself back to my bedroom and pull together an odd assortment of clothing to put on my body. I somehow manage to brush my teeth without bending down but definitely do not bother to comb my hair or even look at myself which apparently is a blessing. Don't ask me how, but I manage to drive through the drive through at McDonald's and order two cups of caffeine-loaded coffee. I order in my softest voice, have my air-conditioner on full blast and all four of my car windows rolled down (why this combination seems to work I have no could just be another insane idea that really doesn't work but I have convinced myself that it does so if I have to drive with a headache this is the protocol that I follow -- regardless of whether the outside temperature is 95 or 35 degrees.) I then drive all the way to The Daughter's house on the East side because I cannot bear to be alone with the headache one more minute. This solution is a deviation (albeit not standard) from my self-imposed mode of recovery, but in this case I am hopeful that I can still outsmart or possibly out-maneuver the headache. I wear my darkest glasses, avoid any lane changes on the interstate, and do not swivel my head around to look for anybody or anything. I do, however, use my rear view mirror occasionally so I feel fairly safe. Lest you are worried about drug impairment and a possibly insane woman behind the wheel of a car, let me also assure you that my migraine drug is not a narcotic but a triptan. Over the years I have progressed through several different triptans because after using one of them for a while the headache seems to be able to create a new interstate highway of pain in my brain. I am now on triptan number four, but thankfully there are quite a few of these on the market so if I get desperate, I will get my doctor to introduce me to a new one.
      I arrive at The Daughter's house. I have not called her to tell her I am coming but she knows already that I have the headache. I wear my dark glasses into the house which are promptly removed by the very happy to see me Little One. Her smile is a sort of anesthesia. At this point the headache is about 40% diminished but I am still wincing at sound and light. It is almost time for Little One to go down for her nap. While The Daughter puts her down, I position myself just so on her sofa and promptly begin to go to sleep. Daughter joins me on the other end and I have no clue if she is sleeping, reading or just thinking. I am in my own little world. I am drifting, drifting and can see the shoreline where my-head-no-longer-hurts lives. I am almost there. I wake myself up snoring and for about 45 seconds I feel no pain. Zero. Nada. Then...a slight grabbing snakelet of pain slithers out of nowhere and tries to ambush me, but I am already telling myself that the freedom train is on the way, and I am holding the ticket in my hand. I sit up slowly just to prove it to the headache and begin to breathe deeply again. I will live to tell the story. I am relieved. I am also thankful. Thankful that I am foggy in the brain, tired, really tired, but I am going to make it. can you see why choosing a hip replacement over a migraine is a no-brainer?! Oh no, wait...a no-brainer.. well, that is my story after all.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. Well-described!

  2. K- While not trying to "fix you," I can't help but suggest cold packs, not heat...heat always made my vessels further constrict, temple to temple across the forehead...and oddly enough, warming my sorry about the pain..I do feel your pain :^/


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