I had a beautiful day filled with wonderful experiences and emotion (another post in and of itself), but as the day’s events continued and the afternoon crept closer to late afternoon a nagging headache appeared. I started my normal approach to a headache, a couple of ibuprofen, and a drink of water, in the hopes of staving off any major pain.
I really was not surprised by the dull ached in my head as I had been sniffling and wiping tears off my cheeks throughout the day as the speakers I was listening to touched my heart and tapped into my soul. Most often, spilling tears produces a stuffy nose and from that often comes a headache. It is a real bummer, actually, because a girl needs a cry every now and then, right? And having the stuffy nose and possible headache just does not seem fair! But, so it goes . . .
An hour or more after I had gone through my first line of defense, I decided to attack with naproxen sodium, a couple of those, and surely my dull headache would be zapped. But the dullness was changing and becoming a lot less dull.
Early evening and my arrival home, it feels as if the headache is going to stick around longer and the right side of my face and head are actually in pain. Thinking its my sinuses, you know from those sweet tears I cried earlier, I took a couple of the off-brand sudafed. Surely, after going through my arsenal I would be finding relief soon! I laid down on the couch and noticed my right eye was watering and my eyes were stinging a bit. I guess I had been wearing my contacts since 7 am, so it couldn’t hurt to take them out and see if that would alleviate some of the irriation.
This process I am explaining is my way of documenting my somewhat “usual” approach to a headache that doesn’t go away . . . it seems to be a normal and rational approach to me . . . so please tell me if I am wrong. First the ibuprofen, then the naproxen . . . the decongestant, remove contacts, rest. . . and now I try food. It is not unusual to get a headache from going too long without food, and it was possible my body could use a little nourishment, so I gave that a try as well.
By the time I finished my food, my watering eye had stopped watering but the pain in my head had increased to an almost unbearable level. Curled up on my couch, wrapped in my favorite blanket, I felt as if the pressure in my right eye was enough to make it explode. My whole head, but most noticeably on the right side, was throbbing, pulsing actually, along with my heart. The throbbing and pulsing seemed to consume me, even taking over the rhythm of my breath, as if confusing my respiration, I couldn’t seem to find it. In through the nose, out through the mouth, heart pounding a bit louder, as a tinge of fear crept in to my thoughts. Why was this pain so intense? Why won’t it stop? Why is this happening?
After enduring a couple of hours in this condition, my husband kindly helped me up. My knees almost buckled as I felt completely weakened by this pain. I sat back down on the couch and he lifted me up. I cried out, “What is wrong with me?” He walked me down the hall, holding me up as we took baby steps together to the bedroom. I laid down on my cold pillow, ah it felt so nicely cool, and then I knew it was time to get out the big guns, the only kind I had available for this kind of situation. Along with a glass of water I took a double dose of an anti-anxiety medication that I have on hand (prescribed by my physician), that also produces quite a bit of drowsiness. I knew my only relief would come with sleep.
Sleep couldn’t come quick enough, and it didn’t. But I did sleep, and the sleep weakened the pain. The pain was dulled by at least 90% as I slept. I woke this morning groggy, slow, and feeling as if I had been in a bad dream. I continued my day groggy and slow. I spent my day in and out of sleep, back on the couch, as I only got up to do a couple of easy household chores for short periods of time.
Suddenly, this afternoon, I realized that what I had experienced with this headache, (that is actually still there sitting on the right side of my head, as if in waiting) was most likely a migraine. It has been several years since I have experienced pain like that. I have had many, many bad headaches that have rendered me useless for several hours. This part is not unusual. But the intensity, the sensitivity to the light and sound, the almost complete inability to walk at one point, and now this lingering grogginess and headache still today. . . well this just can’t be a normal headache. I am not stuffy nosed, there is no congestion, nothing dripping; I do not have a cold that I can blame it on. I am left wondering . . . what was the trigger? Was it the “good cry’? Was it something hormonal that I can not detect? Did I eat something that sent the pain spiral into motion? So many questions and no answer today.
But what I can offer is a reminder of what my friends who experience this on a regular basis are going through. I deal with chronic pain, and I have my good days and bad. But I had forgotten what that kind of pain produces. I would call it desperation.
Desperate for relief, I wrap my arms around my pillow, feel its coldness on my cheek, I close my eyes . . .drifting into sleep.