May. 25th, 2017

osodecanela: (Default)
In some ways I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner. I went into migraine aura this morning. All I can say is thank G-d for caffeine.

I had my first migraine at 17. I didn't know what the hell it was at the time. I was at a dorm party my freshman year- wine & cheese. First time I drank red wine. And the last. About 45 minutes after I got there my vision went wonky. Suddenly, my visual field narrow dramatically, & what vision remained it was horridly distorted by zigzagging lines and flashing lights. On top of that the lights in the room hurt like hell. I thought I was going blind. About 15 minutes after that, suddenly I felt like someone had stuck in ice pick through my right eye. I remembered hearing someone behind me if I started to heave into the john, "He didn't have that much to drink did he?" At that moment it felt like my brain was about to spill out through my eyes.

I landed at the college infirmary, where the emergency doctor on duty branded me a migraineur, & mercifully put me out with a shot of morphine.

When I came to a couple of hours later, I was still in pain, but not nearly to the degree I had been. My head still throbbed, though dulled, but amen, my vision has returned to normal. Seeing that I was now awake, The doctor walked back over. "Feeling better?"

"Is this what being hung over feels like? I only had one glass of wine."
"No, this is what it feels like to have to ride out a migraine."

It turns out that not only was I rather textbook in my presentation, but I had had the good fortune to have been taken care of by someone who was a migraineur himself. What I had suffered was a textbook visual aura in less than half an hour from my very first glass of red wine. It turns out that red wine is a rich source of the chemical tyramine, which a good handful of classic migraineurs are sensitive to. Aged cheese, herring and chocolate round out the other large dietary sources. A wine and cheese party is a recipe for a tyramine sensitive individual to experience true misery.

I left the infirmary with a prescription for Cafergot, as well as a small stash of Tylenol with Codeine to deal with the 'aftermath' headache that went on for the next couple of days. Cafergot was a combination medication of ergotamine & Caffeine, which if taken at the very first sign of a migraine aura can abort the headache. Over the years I found for me it usually worked like a charm. In the early 90s, a newer & safer class of migraine medication came out, a class called the triptans.

I have found over the years that meditation, stress reduction, and adequate sleep will usually keep me from suffering migraines. I've also found that if I'm caught with out my meds when a migraine starts, I may be able to break the aura and abort the headache if I hit caffeine pretty hard. We're talking like a quart of strong coffee. Amen, that worked for me this morning.

I think I'm going to take it easy on myself today. I'm not in the mood to go back into aura.


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