Friday, February 20, 2015

Vice grips on gray matter (aka: Headaches)

I am, unfortunately, one of the myriad humans prone to headaches.  Granted, since giving up soda my headaches occur less frequently than they used to, but I do still get them.  And boy, today’s headache is turning out to be a doozy.  I’m pretty sure it’s weather related, but so far three Tylenol and two cups of Death Wish Coffee haven’t touched it.  It’s ratcheting up and is beginning to affect my vision, which ticks me off to no end.

Mostly, beside the pain of a headache, it’s all the other things that go along with the vice grip on my gray matter which irritate me the most.  Light sensitivity, for example.  Years ago, I had an infection in my left eye which, after all was said and done, left me hyper-sensitive to light.  At first they thought it was pink eye, but when the treatment they were giving me only seemed to make things worse, they looked elsewhere and came up with Endophthalmitis.  Don’t ask me to pronounce it.  It was no picnic, I can tell you.  But after visiting the eye doctor every other day for about three months, losing 70% of the vision in my left eye, hearing the panic in my parents’ and doctors’ voices over concern for my continued ability to see, the infection petered out.  I was left with hyper-sensitivity to light and, at least for a few months afterward, had to wear these stupid blue-tinted glasses that (from what I recall) were supposed to filter out a particular kind of light.  (I’m no doctor, and I’ve probably forgotten a lot about this whole incident because honestly…?  It was terrifying and therefore I have conveniently blocked a lot of it out.)

All that being said, it’s part of the reason that the continued light sensitivity issues I’ve carried with me since that infection are so irritating when a killer headache invades.  Also, when the headaches are at their peak, there is sensitivity to smell, sound, touch…  Basically, anything except a dark room and sleep, and even then sometimes the bed sheets are annoying.

This is a good visual representation of
ophthalmic migraine aura.
I also get ophthalmic migraines which are these strange, pulsing, geometric sort of things (an aura, they call them) that begin in the left side of my field of vision and flash through the front of my vision, eventually fading out.  They’re painless, generally, though afterward I am usually exhausted and so must sleep for a bit.  These are much less frequent than the regular old painful migraines, but they’re so odd I must include them.

I know that many of you, my loyal readers, are sufferers, too – and some are not.  It’s hard to explain to people who don’t get migraines how debilitating they really can be.  Frequently I find that when trying to talk to a non-sufferer they can be less than sympathetic, bordering on rude or openly unfeeling.  Just take a pain killer, is usually their response.  At that point, even bothering to try to explain that painkillers don’t always do the trick is simply worthless.

Jen…do you have a point?

Not really, I guess.  It’s just that I don’t think I’ve ever written about what it is to suffer from these headaches and supposed that there would be a few of you out there who might be able to commiserate with me.  Plus, this blog is a lot about sharing my experiences and thoughts on things both normal and nonsensical so….why can’t I write about headaches?

Plus, I like the title of this post.  It suits my appreciation for all things weird.


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