Saturday, August 18, 2012

Other Drugs

Having a migraine that I can't cope with is a rare event nowadays. The pain comes, but it's generally not as severe as what I used to face daily, and I tend to live in a more emotionally stable frame of mind than I once did, thus making pain much more dealable. Yesterday, however, I had a throwback migraine and it was brutal.

The morning sun in the kitchen made me a little twitchy, then I talked to a neighbor for a minute over the roar of his diesel truck, and then I got into a brief spat with my honey, and then I had a little coughing fit when my attempt to medicate revealed a weakness in my lungs that would forbid me from smoking for the rest of the day. I had chronic bronchitis as a kid, and still get painful bouts of pleurisy occasionally, so I don't screw around with my lungs. There would be no weed for me.

So, after the light, the noise, the stress, the coughing, then a whiff of cigarette smoke, and some bending over to pick up stray laundry for good measure, I tried to take the dog and the man for a little walk and whammo-blammo surprise! I'm finding myself sitting in the middle of the road because my legs cannot possibly carry me and my massively engorged head any further. I rested for a minute or two, realized it wasn't going to pass, then left the dog to my boyfriend and hightailed it back inside, into the dark.

Without the option of smoking marijuana, I struggled. Regular readers may remember that triptans and other abortives have never worked for me, so when I have a migraine, I focus more on accepting and riding out the pain than on stopping it because that has been historically futile. So, I pulled out my dusty bottle of soma and took a couple halves throughout the day. That didn't do much for my head, but it really helped when my neck, shoulders and back started scrunching themselves into painful, knotted ropes of tortured muscles. I also had to take a valium when my anxiety started to skyrocket. It's not my favorite, but it works in a pinch.

To minimize the drugs I take, I prefer to try to dissociate from the pain. I was in too much pain to meditate very effectively, so instead I watched Doctor Who for hours. It was a wonderful escape until the Dalek episodes, those guys are shrill.

I usually go to bed between 9 and 11, any later and I tend to suffer the next day. So, at 11:30, when I was still awake and felt strung so tight I could snap into a million pieces, I threw caution to the wind, took a whole soma and slept all the way through the night.

I woke stiff and achy, but that full night's sleep did some serious magic, and as the morning progressed, I slowly started feeling more normal. By the time some friends stopped by for an after-lunch visit, I was ready for some socializing.

And socialize I did. We were actually going to go hiking, but I was in no shape for any kind of physical activity, so we sat in our front yard and chatted for HOURS. I love my friends.

After they left, I had the standard let-down. When I'm having fun, actively engaged in a pleasurable activity, my adrenaline or serotonin or whatever keeps my head a bit lower than it really is, because once the good time is over, the ache sets in hard. But after all that fun and talking and laughing, the pain is ok. The pain is there, and it's distracting, and it's certainly disabling, but it's ok.

Friends are magic, I tell you.