Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Scariest Migraine

My scariest migraine ever happened not that long ago, on September 25. I know because I wrote a short entry about it in my journal the next day:

Sept. 26, 2012 - I lost the ability to control my body. Even tho I was aware of sounds around me, and I could identify them, I could show no response or act in any way physical. 

So that's the short version. Here's the slightly longer, more descriptive version of what happened leading up to and on that day.

9/24/12 at 3:08 pm - Still really not-putting-it-together in the brain department. If I were Juli, I'd say I was having "chemo brain", but that's not possible. So I guess it's just good ol' Migraine Brain and I'm getting so g-ddamm used to the pain that I don't notice it the way that I used to. That scares me. The extra caffeine isn't helping, and might actually be making me worse, so I don't know what to do.

The migraine spike started in full force during the latter half of the afternoon of Sept. 24th, 2012. I'd been feeling slightly "off" for the second half of the 22nd, and all of the 23rd and 24th, which, after the pain hit, I realized had been a prodromal like I'd never experienced before. Usually, if I notice the lead-up to the pain spike, it's minutes before the occurrence, not days. 

So, when I was body slammed with this level 9/10 pain spike, there was nothing I could do but take the pain medicine I'm only allowed to take in drastic circumstances and curl up on the couch in the fetal position and cry.

9/24/12 at 7:42pm: start dissociating at table. Mom get and give. About 4 hours between doses. 

Then the day of the actual Scariest Migraine arrived.

9/25/12 at 7:05 am: already starting to get the cold shakes & dissociation.
9/25/12 at 2:22 pm: I lasted 7 hours, but need more [pain meds]

That's the end of the journal entries that I was able to post, chronicling what was happening, because I lost my ability to function completely. 

I remember, as I started to dissociate from my body, that I needed to get help. So I called my doctor, who said she'd call me back with instructions as to what to do (IE what medications I could still take to try and make things not get worse) as soon as she finished with her current patient. OK, fine. 

I then closed my eyes and tried not to cry from the pain.

My consciousness at this point was so completely overwhelmed with pain that had I been lucid, I would have finally called it a 10/10 migraine. That's something that I've never done before because I've always said, "It could have been worse." So, having had enough of the pain, my body/consciousness connection was severed. The severance of the connection was so complete that, as far as I was concerned there was no body. There was pain, and there was Gretchen. But there was no vessel for the pain, simply all encompassing pain. 

I heard my cell phone ringing with the ringtone that told me that my doctor was returning my SOS call.
I knew that I had to answer the phone to get help.
The phone, I consciously knew, was already in my hand. 

I couldn't answer it. I had no control over the body that was holding the phone. Instead, the body just lay there on the couch, useless. My consciousness heard the ringing end, and then the beep of a voicemail being received. But I couldn't do anything. I was trapped in the very essence of pain.

I prayed that my doctor, who knew how close I was to dissociating, and that I was home alone, would call 911 and they could come and get my body to work again. 

Instead, and I don't know how long it was later, Mom arrived home. I could here her come into the den where I was curled up on the couch. I could hear her say my name quietly. I wanted to cry. I wanted to ask for help. I wanted my body back, even if it meant more pain. Instead, for the next two and a half hours, my body lay there while my consciousness tried to force it and my body to join; to work again. 

I could hear my mom and my grandfather watching TV and talking in the other room, but I couldn't call or cry out and ask for help. There was no voice to cry with. Only pain and helplessness.

I was so scared for those two and a half hours. I didn't know what was going on except I hurt and nothing was working. I didn't know how or if I could fix it. If I could go back. I wondered if I'd lost my mind. I didn't know if that would be a good or bad thing at this point.

Finally, I somehow gathered all the strength that I could and  SHOVED with every bit of fear based adrenalin focus I had, forcing my consciousness to merge with my body. And it worked. 

I screamed as every nerve in my body came back online. It was almost as bad as the sea of migraine pain  in which I had been suspended for the past several hours. Mom came running in, and, slowly, she helped in integrate my mind and body again.


After this, the migraine slowly dissipated until it was down to a manageable  8/10. I was able to talk to my doctor later that night, and then the next day in an emergency appointment.

The thing that scares me the most is, other than the pain, we don't know what caused it; we don't really know how I came back, and we don't know if or when it will happen again.

1 comment:

  1. Gretchen that is so scary. For me, migraines are like a beast and, untamed, can do so much damage. I'm sorry you had such a terrible migraine, and I hope it never happens again. -Lisa


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