I’ve been lucky, healthwise. Like anyone else, I get sick from time to time. I’ve dealt with depression, as I’ve written about before. But I’ve basically been healthy my whole life. (I am knocking on wood as I write this.) Sometimes I’ve felt really, really bad. Depression will do that. As will the flu and various other ailments that have come up. But nothing has made me feel as bad, or even close to as bad, as migraines.
I was well into my forties the first time I had a migraine. I had no idea what was happening to me, especially because there was no headache involved. I was at work when out of the blue I started throwing up. It was sudden enough that I barely made it to the trash can under my desk. A couple co-workers helped me to the “privacy room” where I lay in the dark with cold compresses on my head and neck until my wife, at the time, picked me up. I threw up a few more times on the way home, crawled into bed, and slept for about a full day.
I should have gone to the doctor, but I’m terrified of all things medical, and, when I woke up, I felt fine except for the empty stomach. I chalked it up to food poisoning or something. Until about a month later. It happened again. This time, I was with my daughter at a friend’s house. And the nausea was accompanied by insane light sensitivity. Still no headache. I was still terrified of doctors, but twice in a month is too much to ignore, so, after a nice long sleep, I went to the doctor. They did all kinds of tests, everything from EKG to urinalysis. Pretty much everything came back normal. The diagnosis was an “irregular migraine.” Irregular because of the lack of a headache.
I’ve had a handful of migraines since. They are uniformly brutal. We’re unsure what causes them, but we think they’re stress related. All I know is that anyone who has to deal with migraines regularly is a lot stronger than I am. I don’t really know why I’m sharing this now. Just, if you’ve experienced migraines, you have my deepest sympathy. And if you haven’t, please try to be understanding towards anyone who has.