The first one I’ve had in almost five years, I think. I used to get one roughly every six months, until my doctor decided that getting my allergies under control would help rid me of the migraines. Weirdly enough, it worked. But the downside of not having had one for so long is that my migraine medication (which was back then one of the new -triptan varieties, which knocked the hell out of my last migraine) has gone totally out of date, and so Did Not Work.

(More below the fold.)

I was lying in bed last night, after class, still wound up and trying to get relaxed enough to fall asleep, watching the beginning of The Triplets of Belleville, which I’ve never managed to catch. And I began slowly to realize that I was having trouble seeing it, as if there were a bad glare on the screen, a spot just below and to the right of whatever point I was looking directly at where the image just disappeared into a neutral background. I picked up a book from my nightstand, and discovered that if I stared at one particular word on a page, and moved a finger around in that spot below and to the right of my point of focus, I could make the tip of my finger disappear entirely.

Still, though, I didn’t recognize this as the aura preceding a migraine, in part because it had been so blessedly long since I’d had one, and in part because in my usual aura, the spot itself is weirdly visible, beginning as a somewhat glowing black spot in my vision, as if I’d caught the reflection of the sun in a mirror or off a passing car, but then growing, and growing more psychedelic, with flashing, waving cilia that take over the major portion of my vision before fading away, giving way to the headache itself.

This one was just nothingness, a void in my vision, and an invisible one at that, as my brain corrected for the missing spot by filling in the color and pattern of whatever I was looking at. So where my fingertip disappeared, moving in front of the page of my book, it appeared that I was seeing paper and print through it.

Freaking out just a tiny bit, I got up to google “blind spot,” wondering if my retina was detaching or something weird like that. But when I tried to read the computer screen, the aura was evident; the screen was impossible to read through the multi-colored overlay flashing in front of it. So I zipped back to bed, hoping to take the medication in time to forestall the headache, hoping that four years out of date was not too out of date for a pill sealed in a plastic-and-foil bubble pack. And if it was too out of date, what else was I going to do? It was midnight, for one thing, and for another, there was no way I could drive anywhere to get a new prescription, and no one I could send in my place.

I took the pill, turned out the light, and waited. The psychedelia was even more prominent in the dark, brightly and distinctly colored streaks (which, don’t ask me why, for a second I was convinced resembled Windows) cutting jaggedly across the blackness. And then the headache, which arrived utterly unmitigated by the drug.

But somehow, blessedly, I feel asleep. The headache is not gone, but what’s with me now is more hangover than migraine, really. I’m still a bit in doubt about how well I’m going to be able to function, so I’m preparing myself for not having my best teaching day ever.

And for calling my doctor. I suppose I just need to suck it up, think of it as disaster preparedness, and keep that prescription from going out of date even if I, god willing, never have to use it again.

7 thoughts on “Migraine

  1. Judging from your entry, this is probably a really bad time for a query like this, but, uhh, I have, uhh, a friend who’s in a real bind.

    Let’s say this unnamed friend of mine has been working on a dissertation on a rather well-known 17th-C poet, and this friend recently happened upon a recent but seldom-cited book which contains a chapter on this very 17th-C poet. The book isn’t very good, but the problem is that the argument of the said chapter is virtually identical to the argument that this friend of mine has been making in his dissertation. So my friend finds himself in a dilemma, but I’m–err, he’s–at a loss even to evaluate how bad of a dilemma it is. On the one hand, the argument in that existing chapter only runs for about sixteen pages and is bad enough that the actual readings of the rather long poem in question are completely different from my friend’s. On the other hand, the last thing my friend wants to do is sound like he’s piggybacking his project on some relatively unaccomplished writer’s book.

    Any thoughts?

  2. This sounds like a situation that calls for the mighty Footnote!

    Seriously — what you want to convey here is a Martin Prince-esque “I’m aware of his work.”* You’ve seen it, you understand it, you’ll acknowledge that it pre-exists your own text, but there are so many holes in the argument as made there that we might as well just acknowledge it and move on.

    That’s my take, at least. But yours — I mean, your friend’s — is a field far more hidebound, if you’ll the bluntness, than is my own, and one that demands far more of a bowing to the elders. But it sounds like this book wasn’t actually written by one of the elders that you — he, sorry — have to bow to, so I’d say footnote it to acknowledge the similarities and point out the inadequacy of the earlier text, and move on.

    *Please tell me you get this reference. I’ll be forced to comment again if you don’t. And while my head hurts much less than it did earlier today, staring at the laptop screen is not really where I want to be right now. In fact, anywhere my eyes are open is not where I want to be.

  3. Martin Prince? Sure, I’m aware of his identity*.

    I’ve tried to do basically what you’ve suggested above. I’ve been writing something like a new prospectus or a possible rough draft of an intro, and I mention this guy’s work briefly only to point out how deficient it is.

    So sorry to pester you when you’re suffering, but your comment helped a lot.

    – – –

    * – Thanks to Wikipedia.

  4. Ah, but do you remember the scene? I tried like hell to find a clip online, but came up dry. There’s lots of info about the episode around, including the key dialogue from the scene, but nothing purely textual can quite capture the dismissiveness of Martin’s tone.

    Or the hand gesture. The hand gesture is key.

    Anyhow, thanks for not busting me on my missing word in the previous comment — “if you’ll forgive the bluntness,” of course.

    Good luck with the writing!

  5. I will just note, with sympathy, that

    1. The reference to Martin “The Queen of Summertime” Prince was sublime.

    2. The smooth functioning of our household relies on the presence of uninterrupted access to Maxalt. I am happy to be educated in the possibility of one of those magic packets going out of date, though sad that this important information came at your expense.

  6. Thanks, BT. I’m not familiar with Maxalt, so I’m not sure about what becomes of it as it goes out of date, but I can say with great certainty that four year out of date Zomig does precisely bupkis. Except perhaps knock you out. Which has its own utility, but is insufficient unto the day.

    And now, some food, and a bed.

  7. Maxalt is great. It’s only one of my headache medications, but it’s my favorite because it works pretty quickly and has few side effects (none lately). My pharmacy hates giving it to me, but it’s really the best thing I have for my headache (which never goes away. EVER). I tried Zomig and didn’t like it much, other than that I don’t remember it.

    I hope your migraine goes away! The aura went away at least, right? I hope so. I hate those. Feel better!

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