It's just one of those weeks

by Suw on April 25, 2003

These are some of the first coherent thoughts to form in my head all day which don’t involve the phrases ‘but it hurts’ or ‘am I going to throw up?’. I spent most of the morning holding my head on with one hand as my migraine blossomed. I’m lucky, I only get them about once or twice a year and usually they don’t involve pain and vomiting – they’re what are called ‘aura only’ migraines, i.e. I just go blind for an hour or so, and then it all clears up and goes away.

Today, for some reason, my migraine started in my right eye (usually it’s my left) and then the pain kinda roved across my face like a tribe of nomads, then up over the left-hand part of my head which I had to then cling on to in order to prevent it from dropping off. I never can figure out why I have to do this, but every time I get a bad headache, I just have to clutch at my head like a crone going after a rat.

After several hours of laying a-bed and not vomiting (quite an achievement, I felt), I finally managed to get one of my icepacks and apply it appropriately.

Which always begs the question – which part of the body is it, exactly, for which these icepacks are designed? They’re long, they’re flat and they don’t bend well. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m mainly built of curves – flat planes are few and far between on me, especially in the head/neck/shoulder area to which these ice pack are usually applied.

Why not make these things curvy and flexible? In fact, why not make them head-shaped or scarf-ishly bendable? That way I would be saved from a) having to wrap the icepack in a thin towel (ok, a teatowel) in order to tie it round my neck or b) trying to sit bolt upright and balancing the thing on my head. To make them as hats, or scarves, would be much more user friendly.

My other quibble is the ignorance of certain doctors as regards the medical issues surrounding migraines. One in ten people get migraines. That’s 10% of the population. That’s six million people, for any doctors reading this who are too stupid to add up.

That’s a lot of people.

Last November I had a rough weekend which featured two migraines and the arrival of a new symptom for me – my skin went numb. Naturally, not being then as well read about migraines as I am now, I decided it would be wise to get it checked out as it’s not every day I lose feeling in my skin. I was struck, however, by the total absence of knowledge displayed by my supposedly well informed doctor. Our conversation went something like:

“I had two migraines over the weekend.”


“Well, I don’t normally get two together.”


“They were just aura migraines though, but now I can’t feel my face properly.”


“Or my arms, or my legs. Or, in fact, any bit of me.”


“Although there is a sort of strange tingliness to the numbness.”



“Well, if it doesn’t clear up in a week, come back to me.”

And this is what I pay my taxes for? So some jumped-up arrogant jerk can patronise me and fob me off with some pointless platitude in order to cover up her own ignorance? I mean, it’s not like I’m expecting her to wave a magic wand and cure me, but a bit of info would be nice. Instead, I went home and looked it up on the internet, which is what I should have done in the first place, and found out that such symptoms can occur, and are relatively normal and will in fact go away eventually (5 days in my case).

The quack could have told me that though, but she didn’t know. Hell, from the expression on her face it was perfectly clear she had no idea what ‘aura’ was either (that’s the visual disturbances you get as a migraine starts – the flashing lights etc. that essentially stop you seeing a damn thing).

But I do believe that everyone, especially that particular doctor, should have at least one storming migraine, so that they can understand what they are like and how crippling they can be. I would dearly like for her to have one like my first, when I was sixteen. One that involves going almost completely blind, not being able to see your hand in front of your face, not being able to walk through your house because you keep bumping into things that you can’t see. One that involves vomiting chocolate cake down the stairs in a somewhat unpleasant waterfall (vomitfall?), retching so hard that your eyes go black with the prickling bruises of broken blood vessels. One that involves curling up foetally under the duvet in a blacked-out room, unable to cry with pain because there’s too much of it, but able, just, to whimper plaintively “Bring me some painkillers.”

To which I would, of course, reply: “Huh?”

Anyway, that shagged my whole day really. So tomorrow is catch-up day. It would be nice to have a good clean start – put this whole week behind me. Not that nice things haven’t happened this week – I have had a few particularly pleasant experiences such as a phone call to Australia that I shall be grinning about for weeks to come yet. But it has been a frustrating week full of not really getting down to work in any serious manner, not really making the progress I would have liked to have made considering the amount of work to be done.

So I think I might redesignate today the official end of the week, which means that Saturday is now essentially Monday so if I work tomorrow I’ll have Tuesday off which will be Sunday and then next weekend start with Saturday on Thursday unfortunately meaning that I will need Monday and Tuesday off on Saturday and Sunday so I can have the weekend free to go to Dorset.

Makes perfect sense to me.

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