Thursday, October 6, 2011

You Always Remember Your First

My scariest migraine was my very first one. I was 8 or 9 years old. Today, more than 20 years and countless severe migraines later, I can still remember this first one like it was yesterday.

I hadn't felt well while at school but shortly after returning home the characteristically intense pain of a horrible migraine took hold. My sister and I were home alone but instead of hanging out downstairs with her I had gone up to my room to escape the noise and activity of the TV, my sister and our pets. I closed the shades, got into bed and pulled the covers over my head. The pain was so overwhelming that it didn't take long for me to go from being in pain to being terrified that I was dying. I was lying there in bed crying from both the pain and from the fear.

As a young girl who didn't even know what a migraine was all I could think to do was call my mom. She was a child protection social worker at the time and so the only way to get in touch with her was to call the CP office and ask the receptionist to transfer me to her phone (this was back in the mid 80s so people didn't have cell phones). I crawled down the hall to my mom's room, the nearest phone, and dragged the phone onto the floor with me. While dialing the number I did my best to compose myself so the receptionist wouldn't know that I was crying and asked, with what little dignity I could muster at the time, to speak to my mom by name. I wasn't fooling anyone, of course, but you know how it is when you're little.

My mom's mom had terrible migraines most of her life so she was very familiar with what they were and was able to recognize that this was likely what was happening to me. She tried to reassure me that I wasn't dying but it was pretty hard to believe because it sure felt like I was. She assured me that she was coming home. I hung up and remained crying curled up on the floor of her bedroom until she got home and took me back to bed.

You know, even today when I get a really bad migraine I find a bit of fear swelling inside me. It's still so hard to believe pain that intense isn't the result of something gone horribly wrong in the head. These days I put a lot of effort into not crying because that always makes the pain worse.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, crying does make it worse. You are so lucky your mom had had migraine herself. So many parents don’t know and trivialize the pain. My first one lasted 18 days and I had a lot of those same thoughts: it will kill me; my brain is on fire and I will suffer brain damage; I will never leave my house again in the daytime... Back then the options were Cafergot and OTC remedies which still are ineffective for me. Now with the new meds, I am able to prevent most with a Beta blocker every day and Triptins if one gets through.