// “Flash Migraine”//
On Friday night, I experienced what I’ve started to call a “Flash Migraine”.
I’m Interning as an Assistant Stage Manager with a professional theatre company about 20 minutes from my house. The show we’re working on opened on the 4th and runs through the 21st, Thursdays - Sundays. We had a performance Friday night.
On Thursday I went to the doctor because I was sick (see this post for the ridiculousness of that day). I’ve had this sinus/upper respiratory infection for awhile that I haven’t been able to kick. It gets better with antibiotics, but then it comes back with a vengeance. My GP was at a conference, so I saw the Nurse Practitioner who called in a prescription for a new antibiotic (bactrim) and a methylprednisolone pack to see if those two in conjunction would kick the bug.
So I was already feeling kind of crappish because I had this ridiculous experience with my job, was on antibiotics (which just run me down), and was tired. However, I made sure that I ate - even without an appetite - and stayed hydrated all day. Thursday night, we had a performance though, so I got myself to the theatre at call time in order to set props and check costumes. I’m in charge of all the quick changes during the show (and there’s a quick change almost EVERY scene. Sometimes there’s more than one.) so it’s not like I could just not show up.
On Friday, I was already starting to feel better, especially after getting to rest that day. However, around 10:00pm, I started to get a dull ache behind my eyes. The show was drawing to a close around this time, so I was ready to go home and just go to sleep. My vision started to get blurry and everything started to sound tinny… The aura had started and I was ready to rush home so that I could try to stave it off. During my 20 minute drive home though, the pain started to get worse. (And I didn’t want to take a rescue med before driving the 20 minutes back home!)
The intensity of my migraine increased rapidly and I was soon nauseous, dizzy, sensitive to light, sound, temperature, the whole nine yards. As soon as I got home, I grabbed a bottle of seltzer and took my fiorinal, along with a zofran to try to squelch the nausea. I got a quick bath. I took my hair out of the fishtail it was in, because it suddenly felt like it was tugging at my scalp. I crawled into bed with an ice pack and jammed my finger into my eye, because my supraorbital foramen is a big pressure point for me. The pain was still behind my eyes, but it had also moved to a band in the parietal section of my head. This pain felt tight and like pressure was being applied to my head.
I laid in bed and drifted in and out of consciousness for about an hour, never fully falling asleep, but not being fully conscious either. Finally around about 2AM, I jumped up out of bed and ran to the bathroom. I threw up just about everything I could remember eating during the latter half of the day.
After this, I - expectedly - got very tired, cold, and was shaking. I brushed my teeth and then put on a sweatshirt to climb back into bed. Immediately after (and during) throwing up my head felt like it was going to implode or explode or spontaneously combust or something to that degree. When I got back into bed, the pain that had been on the top of my head started to fade rapidly. The aching behind my eyes was still present though.
I kept the ice pack on my head, but applied it to my eyes. At some point, I drifted off to sleep, and when I woke up again at 4:30AM, my migraine was gone, although I was horribly thirsty.
After drinking nearly a whole bottle of seltzer, I flopped over and enjoyed my remaining two hours of sleep. When I woke up, I felt refreshed, and uncharacteristically awake for someone who isn’t much of a morning person - much less a 6:15AM wake up for work after limited sleep and a migraine kind of person.
These kinds of migraines have started to become characteristic of what happens to me in the days before my period. For some reason, my hormonal changes cause these quick and very intense migraines. I’ve taken to calling them “flash migraines” because they 1) tend to start with an aura, where I’ll see flashing before my eyes, but also, 2) they escalate very quickly, and disappear faster than any other kind of migraine I experience.
I’ve also noticed that these migraines tend to end by lysis, which is an idea that I read about in Migraine by Oliver Sacks:
“…it may resolve by ‘lysis’, a gradual abatement of the suffering accompanied by one or more secretory activities. As Calmeil wrote, almost 150 years ago: Vomiting sometimes terminates a Migraine. An abundant flow of tears does the same, or an abundant secretion of urine. Sometimes hemicrania is terminated by an abundant perspiration from the feet, hands, half of the face, or by a nose-bleeding, a spontaneous arterial haemorrhage, or a mucous flux from the nose.” (pg. 29)
There were so many times when I, or my mother, or one of my sisters would say, “I think I would feel better if I could just throw up…” And many times, that did help with the migraine. However, I never knew that this was a legitimate and accepted form of “resolution” to a migraine.
This doesn’t always happen with my migraines. When the migraine is longer in duration, vomiting doesn’t usually get rid of it.
But that’s a story for another day.
Has anyone else ever experienced these kinds of quick onset migraines?