Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Heads Up

To the doctor again, for more sumatriptan.  This time it was the French-speaking one and, barring a few gargled verbs, I managed a conversation.  The trick was not to think it out in advance.  Or maybe all I can talk about in French is migraines.

Again I was filled with the terror that I would not be given my drugs.  Perhaps I can explain this more fully:

For the most part, I'm sickeningly healthy, except for this one thing.  I got my first migraine when I was 12.  A typical one would go - wake up feeling like someone had buried a machete in your head during the night, and then start vomiting.  The machete would stay there all day, sometimes shifting position a bit.  The vomiting would be roughly every half an hour, all day.  Nothing would stay down, but it's surprising how much stuff an unfed stomach makes.  When the vomit started being greenish, I knew the attack was coming to an end.  Normally, the attack would last all day, and was accompanied by sensitivity to light, to smells, to sounds, and an inability to talk coherently.  Some might say that the latter is normal for me anyway.

For most of my life the attacks were roughly every three months which was sort of manageable.  The attacks themselves, however, were utterly dreadful and had somebody offered me euthanasia during one, I would probably have accepted.  This went on for about 35 years, and then they became more frequent.

Fortunately somebody had discovered sumatriptan.  Unfortunately I couldn't take it because I was on mental tablets (SSRIs).  Once I was off those, I started the triptans.  Without exaggeration they have changed my life.  If I catch the attack early enough, I can ward it off.  My only concern is that the attacks are very frequent.  Oh, and the fear of being caught without my meds.

I recall coming back from Paris on a train, train, ferry and train a couple of years ago (broken Eurostar) with a migraine that lasted three days.  I spent the entire day with my coat over my head.  Never would I be caught without meds again.  Finally I went squinting to Boots and they gave me something over the counter without question - I can only think I looked so fucking ill that they took pity on me.  Normally you have to fill in a questionnaire.

So that's it really.  I need to see a specialist.  But in the meantime I have a prescription for shitloads of drugs.


  1. As a fellow sufferer for years ( from 15 until menopause) I understand every word you write, and the illustration is perfect. All I can say is that headaches now hold no fear for I know that's all they are, and a glass of water is usually all that is needed to clear them. Migraines vanished along with menstruation for me. J.

  2. Sounds painful!
    But where do you get your pictures from....they're always so apt?!

  3. Did you never experience my migraines, Ged? Probably would certainly know if you had.

    I get the pictures off Google - but it all depends on what you search for.

    Janice, I have heard this before and I kind of hope that is the case for me. On the other hand I feel rather possessive about my menstrual cycle and will not give it up easily.

    1. Chiming in, better late than never. Migraines made my life hell, increasing durong perimenause and finally resulting in a visit to a neurologist in November 2007. Three weeks later I had begun to turn yellow right to the eyeballs (jaundice) and spent the holidays in bed, going cold turkey on all headache meds (month-long headache. There were times when I would have sincerely preferred to be dead). I celebrated with a liver biopsy for the New Year's. If anybody offers you a prescription for Vidora, run.

  4. No I don't recall your migraines.....I'm sure from what you say that I would!
    Well then, great google searching........
    I'm sure the whole of Belgium is transfixed by the Euros (that's football)I wonder who they are supporting, in the absence of their team?

  5. funny you should ask

  6. Flipping heck Joan, that sounds awful. What a dreadful time that must have been.