Monday, July 10, 2006

The Faulty Wiring in My Brain

Why am I up at 5:30 in the morning? Off-kilter sleep cycle. I'm hoping that by staying up all night, I'll be able to go to sleep at a decent hour this evening, and sleep until a reasonable time on Tuesday morning. Of course, my loving husband immediately sees the flaw in this Cunning Plan, and predicts I'll crash some time during the day. I'm going to try my best to prove him wrong.

Why am I up all night? Other than being a night owl, you mean? I got sidelined with a migraine earlier today, and had to take a nap to ward it off. Not any less of a factor is that I stayed up late the night before, and woke up late to start with.... I hate migraines. I know some of you out there have them, and I'm so, so sorry. I don't wish that pain on anyone. Well, maybe a select few people, but they piss me off anyway.

Having a migraine is a major deal for me. I have the whole "sensitivity to noise and light" component, and if there's a particularly strong smell there, I can have nausea associated with that. For example -- I love popcorn, but if anyone makes popcorn when I have a headache, the smell exacerbates the headache. Even though the smell of popcorn is normally a good thing. No fun at all. Mostly, I have to go to sleep. I have to take some Excedrin Migraine, put on a sleep mask, lie down in a dark, quiet room, and sleep until I can't feel the blood rushing through my veins like Gallagher sledgehammering tympani drums the size of small planetoids reverberating through my skull.

Afterward, I'm kind of groggy, like my head is wrapped in cotton. I can function, but I'm still not quite wholly present. If I've had a migraine that's included nausea, I usually feel like gargling with a gallon of Clorox, too.

I know some people have triggers -- red wine, chocolate, certain cheeses, and more -- but I'm lucky that these food triggers don't seem to set me off. My mother insisted that cheese was a trigger for me, but I think she's off the mark on that one. I do get headachy if I'm stuck in a place with cigarette smoke for an extended period. There's no real predicting them, and that's very frustrating. I try to always keep a supply of some sort of pain reliever on me, because I never know when a headache will pop up.

My mother had migraines, and she said that hers tapered off as she grew older. I only wish mine would. They got stronger in intensity after the birth of Offspring, but I haven't really tracked whether frequency has gone up. I have noticed that I seem to get headaches more often in the heat, so summers are usually more "headache active" than the winters. I can go for a relatively long while without a headache, and then have two within a ten day period. It's very frustrating.

Why am I telling you all this? I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm tired, and people with wonky brain wiring do weird things. At any rate, it's more than you ever wanted to know about migraines, right? If I start to hallucinate, someone plump my pillows and read me some Ayn Rand. That'll put me right out.


Songbird said...

KLee, have you seen a doctor about the migraines? It seems like there has to be a better solution than staying up all night. Feel better soon!

Marni said...

I agree about the pain. I've had two or three in my life (that makes me lucky, right?), and it is horrible! No nausea for me but the light/sound combo is a killer.

I hope you feel better soon!

ccw said...


I have had migraines since puberty. Food has never been a trigger for me either. I notice mine come with stress, being really tired, or just for the fun of it..

Do you have medicine to take?

jo(e) said...

Your description of what a migraine is like is so perfectly accurate. That's exactly how they are for me.

Here is something hopeful: for women, migraines peak at the age of 35. I was in my early thirties when I found that out, and it seemed depressing at the time, but now that I am 45, I can say honestly that I am finally outgrowing the migraines ....

When cigarette smoking was banned in public places in my state, that helped a whole lot. (It used to be that I would pick restaurants out based on how high their ceilings were ...)

jo(e) said...

I can't remember if I told you this already or not, but one thing I used to do when I would feel a migraine coming on in a public place would be to go to the nearest bathroom and run hot water over my hands. I'm not sure why that helped but it did.

Phantom Scribbler said...

I used to have a *lot* of migraine-type headaches brought on by my allergies (light, sound, nausea -- the whole nine yards). My food triggers took ages to figure out -- mushrooms and cooking sherry. Who knew? They've gotten infrequent since I got my allergies under control, but I still shudder to remember.

Big, big hugs to you today, and lots of hoping that this summer is NOT a migraine-heavy one for you.

Harmonia said...

I have been up at 5am for the past week but because of a new dog! It's our 3rd! I hope your migranes get better! I used to get them everyday when I was 11-14 years old. Went Veg...after 6 weeks I didn't get migranes anymore...but since you are a veggie that wouldn't be a case. Keep us posted.

KLee said...

First of all, to those who suffer with headaches -- oy! I feel your pain. Literally. I'm sorry if you have them like I do.

Songbird -- I *did* see a doc years ago about them, right before Offspring was born. I was on Midrin (and then something else..) for a while, but the target window was so small for efficacy that the meds did me no good. You had to take two pills within 30 minutes of onset, or it didn't work, and you couldn't take any more for like four or six hours. That's waaay too long to be in pain with no other recourse. I switched to Excedrin Migraine, that's worked better than any prescribed med that I had tried up to date.

Marni -- thanks! The headache is gone, but I'm left with the Bubble Wrap feeling a little today. It's better now, but I was REALLY groggy earlier. Glad you don't have many headaches!

CCW -- I know that tension headaches can develop into migraines in my case. I usually do deep breathing, some positive visualization, and then I load up on Excedrin. Sorry you suffer with them, too.

jo(e) -- My husband thinks I'm overexaggerating when I tell him that if he brushes againt me while I'm sleeping off a headache, I can *actually* feel the blood coursing through his veins. That's how sensitive I am, and how much they hurt. My mom says that hers greatly diminished when she went through menopause. I hope I don't have to wait that long. Since I'm cresting 36, I'm hoping your assertion that 35 is the magic number, and I'm just running late to the party. Smoking in restaurants was stopped here a year ago, and it's greatly helped. I don't dread going to certain places anymore. And, it's much easier to get a table! :) I don't do the hot water thing, but if it worked, I'd cover my head in whipped cream and do the rhumba wearing a leisure suit. I do massage my pressure points, and that seems to help a mite.

Phantom -- I'm glad you isolated your triggers. I have tried all the triggers, alone and together, but they're not what's doing it. I'm glad yours have slacked up with the discovery of what set you off. :)

Harmonia -- I'm not a vegetarian. I would love to clean up my diet, but I'm a very finicky eater coupled with a life-threatening seafood allergy. There's so much that I can't (and won't) eat. I'm sorry to shatter your perception of me, but I'd starve without chicken. Thanks for the idea, though. I may try to start another food log, just to see if there's any commonality there.

Linda (FM) said...

I hope you're feeling better by now and that you get a good night's rest tonight.

purple_kangaroo said...

Do you find that you tend to get them more when you're overtired or not eating/drinking enough?

I used to get them from that, from certain chemicals in the environment, scents, foods, flickering and/or flourescent lights, you name it. Mine weren't usually a headache, though--more of the visual disturbances, hands and feet not working, disorientation, etc--more like a mini seizure. I haven't had one in years, though.

I hope you feel better soon!

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