Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things What Just Don't Mix!

If you're a migraine sufferer you'll know exactly what I'm talking about, if you're not then you'll probably wonder what all the fuss is about, a headache is just a headache, that sort of thing.

I was about fourteen when I had my very first migraine, I still remember the exact place and details. I was in McDonalds on Kensington High St with my best friend, Greg. I looked up at the menu and couldn't read a section of it, it was as if I'd just stared at a very bright light and then suddenly looked at something of normal brightness.

But this blind spot didn't clear, it just got bigger, like an expanding doughnut, until it kind of enlarged itself out of my eye. Then the mother of all headaches hit me.

This pattern continued for several years. I'd get one every few months and there was almost nothing I could do about it except, at the first glimpse of one of these "blind spots" I'd take some painkillers, rush home and get to bed so I could sleep. Almost every time I was struck I'd sleep and wake the next morning with the headache almost completely gone, feeling just a little bit groggy as if I'd been drinking the night before.

As I got older more mature the format changed a little bit and they became less frequent. Then, when I had laser surgery on my eyes, they became more frequent but without the blind spots as a precursor. The Doctor told me it was because there was more strain on my eyes than I'd been used to with contact lenses, which is probably irony.

Once I had the second bout of laser surgery on my eyes and ended up with the better than twenty twenty vision that I now possess they died down. I'm currently in a position where I get migraines once every couple of months or so. There's no blind spot and I usually wake up with THE headache, with it getting worse as the day goes on, until it peaks and then slowly dissipates.

The actual headaches aren't as bad as they used to be, though that might be because I've got more used to them as well, and I try my utmost to just get on with my stuff, literally putting the pain to the back of my mind.

On Sunday morning I woke up in the early hours, I reckon it must have been about six, and I had that familiar and frustrating groggy feeling. I knew that there was a good chance of sleeping it off, if I could get several hours' worth of good quality zeds in.

I also knew that that was impossible as I had to get up about nine at the latest to go for an important family conference thing that I just had to be at. I did just that. I got up, strolled over to my parents' place and did my thing, all the while with a headache that made my head feel as though it was about to explode and, when it did, it would be a relief.

After some time I went home and jumped straight into bed, fully saronged up and only interrupted by the need for a quick poo. I knew that a few hours of sleep would see me on the mend and that I'd be okay for that evening's band practice.

Three hours of sleep saw me up and about, loading the drums into the car and setting off to that night's band practice. It's a new band that's been put together for a one off gig by a friend and it's a huge bastard of a thing, ten of us in all. So the logistics of getting ten musicians together have been a bit of a nightmare and my attendance was much needed, even if I say it myself.

One of the issues about being a drummer is that we're the butt of all the jokes, we take all the crap all the time, we turn up for rehearsals in which the band is missing a singer or a guitarist or a bassist but, lo and behold, if we can't make it, the whole thing gets cancelled and we become the bad guy. Which I know is actually far more than just one issue, but whatever.

And there I was, setting up my kit and bashing about a bit when it hit me. The headache was still there, quite a lot, but it was on its downward curve. The drums are anything but quiet. Even when one plays quietly it's pretty loud. And this is a ten piece band, which means that there's a lot of noise to deal with.

I must be totally mental.

The band practice was fantastic. But my head hurt afterwards. A good night's sleep did me the world of good and now, as I write this I'm as right as rain.

The burning question, that's been bothering me for so many years is this; how exactly should I say it. Is it pronounced "meegraine" or "mygrain".

Answers on a comment please.


Marc said...

after suffering with persistent migraines (1 every week at some stages) for years a good friend went to her local GP to get a referral to a migraine clinic. He suggested she try Deralin as a last's a one/two a day blood pressure medication which seems to work at controlling migraines. Since taking these last years she has had only a couple of migraine attacks...just a suggestion but you will need to go to your GP for a prescription...

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Marc - thanks for that, I'll ask my GP, though I'm already on medication to reduce high blood pressure so that might have an impact. 1 a week! I can't bear the thought of that even!

David Blacker said...

I used to get the same stuff from my mid teens to my late twenties. It started with the blind spot n got worse where I was having numbness on one side of my body and my tongue too. Unlike you, I'd get he blind spot, etc and go to sleep as fast as I could, but I'd wake up with the headache which would last for a couple of days. Then they faded away in my late 20s.

Funnily, I got one last week after more than 10 years.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

DB - After 10 years? I wonder if that was brought on by something or just a random event?

. said...

OMG I suffer from migranes too...although my GP thinks it has more to do with my sinus's. I can't imagine listening to drums let alone playing them when i'm under an attack, i usually just curl up in bed and try to sleep it off ( should circumstance permit me to do so) obviously mine is'nt as severe so i dont resort to medics. Yours however, sounds far more debilitating....awh :( ..feel better... x

G12 said...

It's a migraine kind of week apparently, R. I got one a couple of days back and had to take a sickie from work because I couldn't function at all. Hope you're feeling better. I say my-grain by the way. Skype soon? :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Aah G12, at last, someone has answered my question!

Let's skype soon, though of course I'm not sure when. Migraines must be in the air at the moment, hope your's has gone too. xx

the Legendary David Blacker said...

Well I don't know, RD. It started off as usual. I realised I couldn't read bits on the laptop screen. The spot started changing into this electric blur as usual, so I drove home, my vision starting to gradually tunnel. Popped meds and crashed. Woke up with just a very dull headache that lasted til the next day. So it was a mild attack.

Back in the day, the only thing that worked for me was a combo of valium and arrack.

Cadence said...

My-graine innit? atleast that's how I pronounce it!

I'm pretty much a bi-weekly sufferer as well, though not as bad as blacking out. But when I get it, I become fully non-functional :S which sucks if ur at work. The meds are pretty much steroids too so I don't fancy that in my system. I try to control the frequency of attacks by minding the triggers which many years of painful headaches have helped me identify. Generally mine eases up once the sun goes down. Heat and light are major triggers for me :S Oh well. what's to be done!