Ready for Fall

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:

Humidity is a bitch for migraines.

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. 🙂

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