Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Need Your Help, Internet

This past weekend was...in a word, painful.

I've had headaches since I was probably 11 or 12 years old, sometimes pretty bad. I can usually knock them out with large dosages of ibuprofen, water, and sleep. In the past six weeks, however, I've had to miss two days of work due to REALLY BAD headaches. Friday morning I took 35 students to Little Rock for the weekend. I do this trip five times a year so it's no big deal. We always keep the same itinerary and I've done this so many times that I could lead all the tours myself at this point. I hadn't eaten all day (not all the unusual, unfortunately) and hadn't drank as much water as I should.

By the time my friend Miranda came to meet me at the hotel for dinner I had started to feel the early twinges of a headache but brushed it off. We had a glass of wine before dinner and the headache was getting worse and worse. I thought I just needed to eat so we left for dinner (side note: we went to Star of India and I was so excited to eat some good Indian food). By the time our food came my head hurt so badly I could barely talk and nausea had started to set in. I was so sad I couldn't eat my delicious saag paneer. I asked Miranda to just take me back to the hotel, that all I could was try to sleep and hope that I would be fine in the morning.

What followed was one of the worst nights of my life. I was paralyzed with pain and nausea. I had a completely natural childbirth, but I think think this might have been the worst pain I'd ever experienced. I couldn't sleep all night.

The next day I juggled chaperone duties and went to the doctor in Little Rock for two shots of Toradol and fenegrin (sp?)...for pain and nausea. I was able to hold it together until we got back to Fayetteville, where I then collapsed for a solid 24 hours.

So I guess this was a migraine, huh? Now what...??? I am keeping a headache journal, so I can try to figure out the triggers. Does anyone else go through this? What helps? What doesn't?

Now I'm so afraid that it might happen again.


Lori said...

YES - sounds like a classic migraine, and you should ask your doctor for sumatriptan (Imitrex). i sound like one of those pharma commercials, "Ask your doctor if X is right for you." Migraines are HORRIBLE and in a whole different class from bad headaches. Imitrex comes in these little one-dose inhalers, and when you know you're getting a migraine, you just inhale one and after a few minutes, NO HEADACHE. For real. I worship at the altar of Glaxo Smith Kline every time I use it. You're left with a bitter drip down the back of your throat, but so what. Really, call your doctor right now so you don't ever have to suffer those again.

Alannah said...

The dr. in Little Rock gave me a scrip for Imitrex, but I wasn't sure if it really worked or not. I've had doctors give me prescriptions in the past where I felt like they were just giving me something just to give it to me.

I'm not experienced enough to know when a headache will be a simple headache or a migraine.

Also...I wasn't sensitive to light or noise, but the extreme pain coupled with the nausea is what led me to believe it was a dreaded migraine.

If wine is one of my triggers I will be beyond sad!

marty said...

i have no medical advice, but i am so sorry you are experiencing this. it sounds awful :(

Anonymous said...

Wine, cheese, and beer all contribute to my asthma (and my weight gain and my bad decisions at times) but I keep coming back for more. I will say, that red wine is usually worse for headaches and asthma than white so that's why I drink a lot more white.

AMD said...

Yikes, Alannah!

I, too, have no advice, but I hope only sweet relief for you!

I get them once or twice a month, but I attribute it to my birth control pills. It's like clock-work, I'll get one when I start my new cycle and one during my PMS phase. Oh, the nausea!

John Mark said...

That sounds awful. I've never had a migraine before (knock on wood), but I have heard second and third hand that a good old fashioned mushroom experience (not shitake, portobella, oyster, etc.) can help...

ste-pha-nie said...

I've only had four really awful migraines before (the first two I didn't know that's what they were... just though I was going to die from the intense pain that I think it would have been a relief to have my head hammered with a metal mallet instead) and I finally figured out my triggers were a combination of not getting enough water, being under some stress (didn't really have to be a lot) and red wine. In other words, having a party. Now, I usually take two extra strength headache pills (Tylenol or Advil Migraine) RIGHT at the first sign of a migraine, and drink extra water. It has helped. But it took a few times for me to finally figure it out.

Take care.

Megan Chapman said...

Oh I have lived with migraines since I was about 19-20.. They were worse when I was younger. There are triggers. Fresh bread, red wine, aged cheese, even chocolate, MSG.

I avoid those things when I can, but who am I kidding I love fresh bread, and chocolate. I have taken migraine meds and hated them.

Here is what I do and it works 95% of the time.

As soon as I feel that spacey, am I about to go blind feeling, I find a sink and put the hottest water I can stand in the basin..I mean turn your hands red hot. I put several drops of lavendar oil in the water as well. I submerge my hands close my eyes and keep my hands in the water for as long as I can take it. I try to relax and breathe deep too.
Then I might also put lavendar oil on my pulse points. The hot water works on the vascular system, to either expand or contract ( I can't remember). Let me know if you want to know more. I have the herb book, that I got the hot water head saving tip from. Really- it works.

Sometimes I will take one or two ibuprophen at the onset, but I try not to because it actually can cause rebound headaches.

Get real lavendar oil, remember the hot water trick. Avoid triggers, learn to relax, get away from the computer. Good luck!!!

ste-pha-nie said...

You know there's something to that hot water trick because the last time i had a migraine I remember I was drawn inexplicably to the shower and HAD to have the water very hot. I had no idea why, but in the midst of all that pain something in me said,"take a very hot shower." I'd forgotten about that until Megan mentioned hot water. Next time I'll definitely try the hands in the hot lavender oil water.

Alannah said...

Looks like I'm in great company, at least.

Megan - I am def. going to try that. I LOVE the scent of lavender; it is naturally relaxing. I would never in a hundred years think to put my hands under hot water, either...but I'll certainly try it before I go the pharmaceutical route.

Wondering Woman said...

I got my first migraine about 12 years ago and I thought it was just some freak thing, when the second one happened I was REALLY frightened. I went through all the cures, lemon rind on my temples, lavender on pulse points, gel masks, foot massage, acupuncture, cutting out suspected food, herbal remedies, then the drugs....... the one that finally worked for me was Zomig. Love it, love it, love it, it's really saved my life. If I take it as soon as I feel one coming on it'll be gone (mostly) within 30 minutes. Occasionally one won't buckle, but it's rare. One word of warning though -- if I make the mistake of taking regular aspirin I'll get extremely nauseated, to the point where my bed feels like a boat on the high seas and then there's nothing I can do but pray for tomorrow. I suspect mine were caused by hormone changes but I'd rather deal with migraines than HRT, been there done that...... no thanks.

Alisson said...

What a bunch of great ideas! I would try all of them and figure out what works for you and if you don't have time to mess around and have to be somewhere, make sure you have imitrex with you or try and get some fioricet (like 5 pills) if all else fails. I think everyone deserves to have a backup medication that will work if the pain is to bad. Take care

Grandpa Bob said...

I had a migrain like yours in December 1964 and I havn't had a migrain since. . . so there is hope and I'm glad you are better.

Bursting with Fruity Flavor said...

Yeah, wine is the trigger for me,especially red wine. I've found that marijuana is the best medicine for me.

I've had migraines since I was around 16 or 17. I had my tonsils out, allergies tested, brain scans, & took many prescriptions. It wasn't until I tried it while having one that I finally was able to relax & feel it fade away.

A cold rag & darkness help too if that's not an alternative for ya!