May 272014
Migraine aura. Visual phenomenon before migrai...
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Ok, so if you have read this blog for a while now, you will have seen that I have ranted about migraines a time or two.  I am not just talking about a really bad headache or something that you are trying to get sympathy for.  I mean a real down and out kick you square in the ass migraine.  Like I have also said before, I don’t know what causes them, I just know (now) that I get them.

I even had one today, Sunday, for no good reason.  It was a beautiful day, it had snowed last night so I got to get out my snowblower and plow.  that is always so much fun for me that I don’t see how it could give me problems.  But it did.  I came in and was hanging out with my kids before church and there is the sparkly not quite there but it is aura that signals a migraine.  (See the picture over there?  it is kind of like that but bigger.  You can also think of looking at a lake just at sunset when you get a really blinding sun reflection and there is just enough chop to the water to make it shimmer.)

So I take my medicine, (Maxalt prescription stuff and 2 Aleve.  If you know Aleve or Naproxen Sodium, the usual dose is 1 pill and then another in 3-4 hours if the pain hasn’t gone away.  My doctor recommended 2 to start and try to head off the pain.) All seems to go well after the med have kicked in, I feel ok and we head to church.  While we are there, the bad men with the vise come in and attach it to my head.  And then begin to twist.  I know from experience that without the medication this would have been one of the incapacitating migraines.  But I soldier on, not letting my brain put me to sleep.  After all, I had Sunday School to teach.

I tell you that story to bring up the point of my post today.  Recognizing the migraine.  You can search all over the web and find better descriptions of different headaches than I am going to regurgitate here.  What you need to learn today is to recognize a migraine.  And not just for yourself, for your kids as well.

Way back when when Hair Bands and arena rock were big and Grunge was not yet established, I started having migraines.  at the time I didn’t know what they were.  I just thought that I was sick a lot.  I would get these at least once a week, be sick for most of the day and then be OK in the afternoons to night.  My parents thought I was faking being sick to get out of things and so dismissed them.  I had aa few on family vacations that kept me out of attractions or from doing hikes and the like.  My parents were convinced I was just sickly.

When I finally found out that I had migraines I vowed never to ignore the symptoms if my kids started having them.  There is a direct link in genetics for migraines.  But since my parents don’t get them they don’t exist.  In the words of my Dad, “It takes years to diagnose migraines, you can’t have that after only one Dr. visit.”  B.S.  I told the doc what I had, he chuckled and said “Classic Migraines, here is a prescription, let us know how it works.”   I was relieved at that because someone had finally validated me being sick and not just something in my head.  Well it is directly in my head but not psycologically.

Anyway, it took 3 days worth of migraines and my nursing student girlfriend, (now my Nurse wife) to see that I needed something.  They had been getting worse and worse over the months.  We went to the ER and I got a shot of Imitrex and it stopped the migraines cold.  It was fantastic.

Anyway, before all of that, some of the first migraines I had scared me to death.  Some of the first ones I can remember started with a “creeping numbness” that started in my little finger and proceeded up my arm and into my face.  I always knew that in the next four hours or so I would have a blinding headache, throw up 3-4 times and after a bit of sleep I would feel better.  If I had known earlier what that was I could have done something about it.

My point today, of you have a bad headache chances are it is not a migraine.  If you have a bad headache with bright flashes or numbness, sensitivity to light and nausea, see a doctor, it could be a migraine.  If your kids complain about any of the above, get them check out and save them years of discomfort.

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