The pain in my head

I have migraines.   In fact, I’ve had migraines on a regular basis since I was 18 (33 years!)  I have a migraine right now, and am about to roust myself out of this blogging position to take my second Imitrex of the day.  This will be all the Imitrex I’m allowed to take today so I hope it doesn’t come back until tomorrow.

 Oh yes, it will come back tomorrow. 

 This is a 3 1/2 day migraine, and if there’s one thing I’m completely tuned into, it’s my migraines.  It will last exactly 3.5 days because it’s on the left side of my head.  Migraine by Carole StoiberIt’s on the left side of my head and it feels like small gnomes have crawled up the side of my neck and tightened all the tendons there before driving their ice picks into my temple and my left eyebrow.  After the migraine is completely gone, those places will be sore to touch for awhile.  I’m having this migraine because I committed a cardinal migraineur sin – I drank red wine last night.   This is something I know I should not do, but sometimes the spirit encourages me to just do it – like a Nike commercial.  Just do it.  You know you want to.   The smokey taste of a good Pinot Noir can be irresistable. 

 A migraine on the right side of my head feels different – not as tight, but just as painful in the same places – the temple, the right eyebrow, the base of my skull.  A right-sided migraine will not last 3.5 days and if I’m really lucky a couple of Aleve and a cup of coffee will knock it out.

This is a migraine aura.  I have them sometimes, not always. aura by Delia MalchertSometimes I have them during a migraine.  Sometimes I have them, but never get a headache afterwards.  The aura starts slowly, with the visual disturbance barely discernable.  It becomes brighter and brighter, consisting of geometric shapes forming a half-circle right in the middle of my visual field.  I often feel light-headed and strange.   The shapes pulsate and flicker for about 20 minutes, then they quickly fade away.  This is not a terribly accurate depiction of my particular aura, but you get the idea.  In their own perverse way, they are actually quite beautiful.

Right now, my neighbors are practicing their God-given right to shoot off fireworks.  This will go on for the next 3 days until July 4th, about the same length of this headache.  The sound is annoying and makes my head throb.  Asking them to stop would be practically un-American.  Besides, I can’t ask the entire neighborhood for a cease fire because of my problem.  So, in spite of the delightfully coolish weather for this July 1st, I will reluctantly close my windows, curse the Chinese, pop my pain pill and go to bed, vowing to stay off the Pinot for a good long while.

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15 Responses to “The pain in my head”


  1. 1 poseidonsmuse July 1, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Observant – So sorry to hear about the migraines. I have another friend that suffers regularly from them as well (pressure changes, light changes and other weird triggers set her off). I have never experienced one and couldn’t imagine the “troll picking” sensations that cramp your brain. Now, the auras look like something that I might have experienced from second hand pot smoke at a rock concert! (Second hand. pah! Who am I kidding!). Anyways, I hope you can tune out the pyrotechnics over the next few nights. Get well soon!

  2. 2 Simonne July 2, 2007 at 3:54 am

    PM – you crack me up!
    OB – You poor thing, sounds awful! I don’t think I’ve ever had a migraine either, but I’m kinda grateful for your cool explanation! Sorry, sounds so very insincere and it’s not meant to!
    No more red wine for you! Hope you recover swiftly. Sx

  3. 3 Deb July 2, 2007 at 5:01 am

    I’ve never had migraines, but it seems like half my friends suffer from them periodically. They’re so bizarre, the way they are different for everyone, aren’t they?

    One friend was recommended magnesium by a naturopath type doctor. It seemed to help her; she still gets them, just not every month. Of course this might be one more annoying and worthless piece of advice that you’ve tried and tossed aside already! I get sick from cramps periodically, and I hate when people say “oh, just workout more” or “i just curl up in a ball” or something, because it is like a different universe to the cramps I get. But, just in case you hadn’t given in a try, I wanted to mention it!

    I’m actually annoying myself with the advice, but I was just thinking (as I put in my headphones at work) that noise-cancelling headphones might let you enjoy the cool weather without having to hear the pre-4th practicing. They certainly help me deal with work!

    I’ll wish you a speedy 3.5 days…

  4. 4 observantbystander July 2, 2007 at 6:34 am

    PM/Simonne/Deb: Thanks for all your words of comfort. You guys are wonderful friends.

    PM-I liken the aura more to some of the LSD I took a long time ago -lots of strobe flashing in my visual field. Unfortunately I can’t say it was second-hand acid! HA!

    Simonne: I love the migraine art people have done. Really does a good job of describing the pain in a visual way. http://www.oleanova.com/migraine_art.htm

    Deb: I’ve tried the magnesium, as well as various daily meds that are supposed to keep one from having headaches. No luck. Supposedly I’m supposed to have fewer of these once I get farther into menopause…Yikes! There’s another whole set of problems there, just waiting for me!

  5. 5 V- July 2, 2007 at 8:23 am

    I suffer from migraines but luckily I only get one every couple months or so and they never last more than a few hours. The freakiest part for me is the crazy light show coupled with tunnel vision. When I had my first one, I swear I thought I must be having a stroke or an aneurism or something. You’re correct though, it’s actually something to behold. Sort of like looking through a kaleidoscope. The weird part is that you can’t make it stop. I generally get them at work, and then I’m stuck. My depth perception is so off, that I can’t walk down the stairs to my car, let alone drive home, so I just have to sit and wait them out. I hope you feel better very very soon.

  6. 6 observantbystander July 2, 2007 at 11:27 am

    V: I didn’t know what they were either at first, until my eye doctor told me. Then it all made sense. So far the Imitrex has done its job today and no relapse has occurred yet! Another Christmas miracle!

  7. 7 poseidonsmuse July 2, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Observant – “Second hand acid” – Ha! Lol! You are one funny lady! Hugs. Hope you feel better today.

  8. 8 Grace July 2, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    ((( OB ))) Girl, I swear, YOU are ME! LOL I just read your post on the whole crinkled shirt and cropped pants thing? I’ve BEEN THERE! Some mornings I leave a huge pile of crap behind me, just trying to find something in my closet that is “ME” and still looks presentable. You know, jeans really SHOULD BE standard issues for this part of my life. If I had a waist, belts would be cool. But as it is, I put one on (over my big shirt, which covers my big breasts which are racing the clock to my knees) and I think, “What the FUCK? I look like Spongebob! LOL)

    Hey, I was having migraines every day for awhile. I (literally) am feeling your pain. Make it a Pinot Grigio (I like “Barefoot”) and we can do this together! ;) xoxox

  9. 9 observantbystander July 3, 2007 at 5:46 am

    Grace: Loved the Spongebob reference. God forbid I wear a yellow outfit… God, what is it with the breasts? I used to have such nice perky small ones, now I’m a National Geographic study!

  10. 10 Simonne July 3, 2007 at 7:04 am

    God, is this really what I have to look forward to?! (Kidding – Actually, not really…) So my perky breats are going go to pot and I’m going to have LSD flashbacks while I’m having a hot flush and ripping my Spongebob moo-moo off my sweat-soaked body eh?
    NICE! SIGH! ;)

  11. 11 observantbystander July 3, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Simonne, I think you about covered it! I always tell the 20 year old guys here that this is the best looking they’re ever going to be in their lives, so enjoy it. There’s a lot of truth in that! But then you make up for it by being a LOT wiser (which makes the LSD flashbacks just that much more poignant).

  12. 12 Grace July 3, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Oh shoot… I just realized I smudged up your blog with my language…Please feel free to edit that out :D

  13. 13 observantbystander July 3, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Grace – I’m strictly an R rated blog here. No apology necessary. I’m going to try that Barefoot Pinot, too. Happy 4th!

  14. 14 Zoanne April 11, 2008 at 9:10 am

    I totally agree. My Auras are very much like this however I hear them as well adding to the disorienting effect.

  15. 15 Stargirl July 9, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I had two migraine auras today. First the left eye, then the right. They were pretty. I had two last month. Also pretty. I have to navigate slowly when they arrive for a visit, and I feel a bit incapacitated, but aware. My migraine headaches never had auras. Along came menopause. No more migraine one sided throbbing pain from hell. But 5 years ago, the painless auras began. Frightened at first, I am now a veteran of the curved pulsating zig zags. I did notice one thing last month. Right in the middle of an aura, I leaned my head over to wash my hair in the sink, and the aura vanished instantly.


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