Last time I lived in North Carolina, back in my college days, migraines were not a part of my life. No, those little bastards didn’t show up until nursing school.
I have been able to identify a number of migraine triggers over the years: red wine (sob), dark liquor (sniffle), sleep/wake cycle issues, fatigue, menstrual cycles. But as I’ve started to document and track my attacks this summer, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend, considering where I live and will continue to live for the next few years:
This really sucks, because if you’ve ever been to the southeastern U.S., you know that between late May and early September, stepping outside is akin to stepping into a sauna. It can be enough to land me in bed for the rest of the day. A friend of mine who has a neurological disorder of her own likens it to wearing an iron jumpsuit while treading water. Yep.
This past week, I got a little desperate. Despite switching to day shift for the last month of my current job, I’ve been extremely uncomfortable. After living with pain on an almost-daily basis for three weeks and being unable to get in to my neurologist for a nerve block “tune up” (they’re as fun as they sound), I gave in and did something I said I’d never do again. I got my butt to an emergency room.
Three hours and $250 dollars later, I was feeling drowsy but much, much better. The ED I live near has a standard migraine cocktail of IV medications that doesn’t involve opioids, hallelujah. My own hospital could learn a thing or two about this practice. Unfortunately a fluffy dehydrated woman in pain does not make for easy intravenous access, and I ended up with an IV in the most uncomfortable spot ever:
Despite the discomfort, I took a deep breath and tried to snooze for a bit. After a fluid bolus and pushes of Toradol, Reglan and Benadryl, I felt like a new person. I was even able to wake up at five o’clock the next morning and go to work with zero pain, for the first time in months.
I know it was a quick fix and I’m already starting to feel worn down again. Which means it was a very expensive short-term solution. But when you’re chronically hurting, a day without pain is a gift.
I have a follow-up with my neurologist in a few weeks. I’ve taken some personal and professional steps toward a better-balanced life. I’ve utilized complementary medicine and researched evidence-based naturopathic options. But I think I need to get serious. My home has turned into a pharmacy and I’m at the end of my rope. This summer we started discussing a couple of chronic management options: Botox injections or a new treatment called a SphenoCath. It may be time.
But in the meantime, I can’t wait for the air to get crisper and the leaves to start falling. Maybe then I’ll get a little relief. Another reason to love my favorite season!
P.S. Steve gets husband of the year award! He drove me there and sat in a dark room with me (meaning he couldn’t read) while I got pumped full of fluids. What a keeper.