Out of the Fog

I’m finally fully functional again….well, almost.  I’m still hungover from the beating my brain took Sunday and Monday.  This wasn’t a 20 rounds with Mike Tyson beating, this was an LAPD beating that lasted for two days, like uniformed officers took shifts so they could continuously batter my brain with their batons and squirt me in the eyes with pepper spray.

It was my fault it had gotten so bad; I had thought I had already averted my monthly migraine so I didn’t catch it in time with my medication.  By the time I did try to medicate myself, it never stayed down.  Still, I tried, being careful that I follow the instructions so I don’t make myself more sick.

Around 1:30 am Monday morning I realized it was a losing battle.  I had already thrown up my Dilaudid twice, as well as the anti-nausea pills I had taken.  I called my baby’s daddy over and over and over and over and over again until he finally answered his phone.  I answered his sleep-filled, mumbled, “Hello” with one word, “Migraine”.  He was instantly awake and making plans to get me to the hospital.

The Hospital at 2:30am was quiet and I was ushered immediately to the back and treated.  A shot of Dilauded and some anti-nauseate that starts with an ‘F’, and another bout of vomiting, and I’m on the phone to the baby’s daddy to pick me up on the inside of an hour.

Relief kicks in as my body turns numb from the pain killer.  I feel almost nothing but relief and the distant twinge of head pain that I am certain will be gone after I’ve slept for 12 hours.  As usual, I was wrong, because before the afternoon was over the pain was back and I was making an emergency broadcast on Facebook for a ride to the ER to have my migraine treated.

Someone answered.  I’m sure they regretted their good deed before the night was over.

Its difficult to describe a migraine and one’s mental state during a migraine.  Let me say that I wasn’t surprised when I had found out that people with migraines were thought to be possessed by demons before the age of science, and then later were just thought to be insane and were locked away.

For me, it starts with pain (pressure on the inside of the skull, like the brain is swelling, or like my head is in a vice grip that’s being slowly tightened) on the left side of my head, and it will slowly travel to behind my eye and then down the left side of my face into my teeth.  If I can keep food down at this point, eating hard, crunchy food items will help ease the pain somewhat.  Usually, by this time, I’ve already taken two of everything OTC and (if I’m smart) my Dilaudid.

If I don’t take my dilauded, I start becoming nauseous and light and sound will make it worse.  The pressure inside my head becomes more painful and starts throbbing.  Its like the vice grip is still there but someone is now stabbing me behind the eye with an ice-pick.  Over, and over, and over again.  This is usually when I start holding my hand over the left side of my face in an attempt to NOT claw out my left eyeball.  By now I’ve vomited several times.

Now, as time passes, the pain gets exponentially worse.  I once heard someone describe their migraines to a non-migraine sufferer as. “Take your worst head-ache and multiply it on itself 100 times (basically, X to the 99th power) and that is what a migraine feels like.”  I thought the pain part could be quite accurate, but a migraine is more than the pain in your head, its everything that goes with it.

By 9pm (i’ve been in the ER waiting room for at least 3 hours now I think…feels like forever) I ask when I’m going to be treated as people that came in after me are going in before me…and they don’t seem to be in pain.  The man behind the counter tells me that there are three more people in front of me.  I can’t take it.  I’m done.  I lose it.

Sadly, even though I “lost” it, I still held back.  I believe I tore off my bracelet from check in and screamed that I was just going to go home and take every pill I have and if I die its his fault.  What I wanted to do was just scream incessantly, get down on all fours, and just bang my head into the wall over and over until they took me back or I rendered myself unconscious.  An unknown fact for people who have never had a migraine: we hit ourselves because when we do that, we don’t feel the head pain for about 3 seconds, and that 3 seconds is bliss.  Unfortunately it doesn’t take away all the other symptoms.

Be that as it may, I didn’t.  I was done.  I meant it when I said I was going to go home and take every single pill I had.  I’d done it before, though not for well over 15 years, athough usually it was about 10 aspirin and 2 shots of Nyquil as I didn’t have such sophisticated drugs available to me back then as I do now.  I was wondering if I would get picked up by the cops if I was seen vomiting in the streets on my way home, thus delaying my plan to overdose and kill my pain, when I was called back.

I go back, put on my nightgown, and I cannot even tell you how bad the pain is at this point.  To me, a drill through the temple into the center of my brain is a lovely day dream because 1) it can’t hurt nearly as much and 2) I’d be dead afterward so I wouldn’t be in pain.  So, I’m in bed, clutching my head, and I hear the doctor going from patient to patient trying to patiently wait my turn without screaming.  The need to just scream and scream hasn’t gone away, mind you.

Finally, I hear the doctor addressing a man who was drunk and had hit a wall with his fist.  I lost it, all the frustration and pain that I had been trying to keep in (admittedly rather unsuccessfully) was let out in one long scream.  I heard someone ask if it was from the person with the broken femur.  Nope, just the idiot over here in major inescapable pain!

Triage: what the nurse does in triage is assess each individual for problems and the seriousness of said problem, and the patients are sent back to be treated depending on the severity of said problem.  Woman bleeding from a major wound on her arm I think ranks higher on the triage list than a migraine, but a drunk who hit a wall and isn’t even complaining of pain?!?!

So finally the doctor comes in to see me and he asks me what my problem is.  I tell him “Migraine”.  He then tells me that the nurse has written down that I take Dilaudid EVERYDAY.  THIS is why I was so low on the treatment list: in their eyes I was a junkie looking for a fix.  Admittedly, I was acting like one I think, but still!  I would have been seen before the drunk guy that hit the wall.

Now I have to go to the Medical Records office to pay my two ER co-pays and a give then a written note and copies of my Rx meds to prove that I don’t take Dilaudid everyday.  You know what happens if the insurance thinks I’m a Dilaudid junkie?  They don’t cover it, and I sure as hell can’t afford it.   I only take 2 Dilaudid a month, and when I time it right, I don’t end up in the ER because of a migraine. In fact, when I time it right all I do is lay down for a couple of hours and I’m ok.  If I don’t throw up, I’m good.  If I throw up, I’ve taken it too late.

So today I went back work.  The day after a migraine is gone is just as different for people as their migraines are.  For me I’m in a fog.  Its like the air is really thick and you move and think real slow.  You can’t communicate with anyone unless you try real hard because you just cannot connect.  For some reason what you are trying to say just isn’t getting across and no one understands you.  This wears off as the day progresses, and around 2pm I started to feel a little more like my normal self.

I couldn’t afford the two days off because of the migraine, but luckily with the OT I worked and the little PTO I had saved up, I won’t be short any hours on my check.  I won’t have much extra on my check, and since I was out for two days I have no PTO to cover a day off to spend with Rachel on her birthday, and the doctor’s visit she has the next day for her 12 month check-up and vaccinations.  😦

I’m out of Dilaudid, so I have to make an appointment to get more.  I don’t know if they will give me more solely because this was to be a temporary band-aid until I stopped breasfeeding, which was supposed to be by August.  They want to put me on Topomax, which I’m not too excited about but have become resigned to.  I did some research when another doctor wanted to put me on it but found that the clinical trial had to be stopped due to severe cognitive deficiency in the people participating in the trial.  My current doctor said that was for treatment of Epilepsy, not Migraine, and that the Migraine dosage is much lower.

I’m still not excited, but if I can go without having a migraine ever again, who am I to say no?

About Chaos5150

I'm a medical coder by day, hermit by night, a 24 hr mommy, and a closet line-dancer whenever I get the chance. I love my daughter, I love my job, I love my friends, I love my cats, and I love my family. I love the dry heat, driving into the middle of the desert at night to see the moon and the stars, beading jewelry, torturing the unaware, and scaring people. People say I'm evil, but I'm not. I'm just a little mischievous.
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3 Responses to Out of the Fog

  1. Lori says:

    I really enjoyed your post. I read about your concern with Topomax and wanted to throw my two cents in. In 2006, my Neurologist put me on Topomax. It was the first medication we tried after meeting and I was on it until early 2009. For me, it was the queen of everything. Although I still had approximately five migraines a month, to me, that was very good results. I lost over 60 pounds while on Topomax, which at first was wonderful, until I had to fight to keep weight on. The reason why I went off Topomax was due to it interferring with my thought process and having a hard time recalling words. To date, I regret going off of Topomax because I still struggle with both of those things, and nothing has worked as well. I was on the highest dose of Topomax that is allowed, but I will never regret those 2 1/2 years, as I had a life back then. I was “functioning woman who has headaches”.

    • Chaos5150 says:

      Thank you for your input. I am eager to live Migraine free (I only have one a month and thats plenty. I can’t dont want to imagine what you lived with in order to be ok with FIVE a month!) but my job as a Medical Coder makes my recall ability pretty important. I have a very good head for number pattern and remember edits that are crucial for my job. If I can’t recall them when necessary, my productivity will go down, my errors will go up, and I can’t afford to lose my job (who can, right?). I suppose if I notice or someone brings it to my attention I can just have my doctor wean me off it, but what if my recall and my thought process never returns. Did your thought process and recall ability return to normal after you went off of it?

      • Lori says:

        The answer to your question is no. I can’t say that is because of the Topomax. My migraines continued to increase, which inherently has its own side effects, let alone whatever medication I am on at the time. For example, yesterday my daughter was going to the grocery store, but I called it a milk truck. Cognitively I know that what I just said was not correct, but to come up with the correct words are almost impossible. All I say now is “I used to be smart”. It doesn’t feel that way anymore.

        I do know that not everyone has that side effect. So you can’t take my story and believe that’s going to be you. I would pray that you wouldn’t have that side effect, because it can be very helpful for some. Good luck and keep me posted on how its going.

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