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. It’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. Sometimes 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.