Archive for 27 April 2010

13 Migraines (or: A Pretty Bad Month)

27 April 2010, 11:50 PM | Category: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Let's Go M's

Used to be that I would get some pretty epic migraines. This was back in high school, before I started drinking coffee regularly, when I was out there in daily life with all the fluorescent lights and loud noise you could shake a stick at. There were migraines that lasted a full week and months when I had more time under the spell of the head-throbbers than free of them.

Then I started drinking coffee regularly, not intended as a migraine medicine (I was experimenting with actual migraine meds, to little avail but much consternation over the risk of stroke) and things quickly got better. Not great, but better. Then I started to make serious moves at trigger controlling after graduating college and things got quite a bit better. The last few years, I’ve been down to something like 30-40 migraines annually.

Enter April 2010. And the hammer dropped. With three days to go, I’ve notched 13 migraines, the longest of which lasted 36 hours (which used to be the norm, but is now sort of an impressive standout). And I probably have to do laundry at some point before the month is up, which has been the most consistent trigger since moving to Jersey (they really love fluorescents in our laundry room… it’s like a sort of shrine to the power of headache lamps).

I noted this April’s phenomenon earlier this month, hinting that maybe I was just on a really bad batch of coffee that was restoring me to the pre-caffeinated 1996 version of myself. While I haven’t tested against a different batch, I’m starting to wonder how to really isolate and test the factors. If there’s something more problematic about April itself, changing the batch of coffee May 1st doesn’t really demonstrate improvement on those grounds if the migraines go away.

What else could be going on in April, you ask? (Especially those of you who, let’s face it, haven’t fully subscribed to my theory that time is place and place is charged with meaning.) Well, there’s a lot of new theories running around about migraines being tied up with barometric pressure. And as I’ve learned since moving back to the region of the world where all our weather-based aphorisms about months hold true (e.g. March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb), there are a lot of storms in April. So that’s a lot of dropping barometers. At the same time, San Francisco is not exactly famous for its stable-to-rising pressure, and I logged some of my least migrainous years while working there daily. So what gives?

As with so much about migraines, I ultimately have to chalk it up to an ongoing mystery, try to test for certain variables (I really do need a new batch of coffee), and take relevant notes. And I must stress in this latter element that the symptoms are completely textbook. I really don’t think these are the early signs of some larger head problem, unless that head problem perfectly simulates frequent migraines. When you’ve had something like 600 migraines in your life, you get to know them pretty well. Except for those few fun outliers, like the one where I lost vision for a few hours or feeling in my whole left side. Those are pretty rare.

In other news, I’ve been watching a lot of sports lately. Last night’s migraine was prompted in part by the Blazers’ disastrous performance in their pivotal fifth game of the first round of the playoffs. (Incidentally, it’s funny that we always attribute headaches to having real-life sources comprised of frustration… probably true of minor day-to-day headaches, but largely untrue of migraines… although this one was caused in part by the lights in the Frist Campus Center where I had to watch the game, lacking cable at home, so…) I may watch the game tomorrow, though the Blazers showed me nothing to look forward to in that game. Although I guess they’ve been largely schizophrenic in this series anyway.

The M’s, meanwhile, finally won tonight, mounting a stellar comeback against the fact that Zack Grienke has no bullpen behind him. The AL West has thankfully been clumped enough that their late 4-game losing streak hasn’t buried them too far in the standings, so there’s still a lot of hope, especially since Cliff Lee makes his Mariner debut Friday. Since it looks like I’ll be out of the country for up to a month, I’m hoping they’ve built a substantial lead by the time I leave, but that’s making a lot of assumptions.

Like the assumption that we’ll get out of April someday.

Duck and Cover #1253

27 April 2010, 12:29 PM | Category: Duck and Cover