Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Worst Headache of My Life

Today I had a bit of a scare. Earlier today I became almost completely incapacitated because of a horrendous migraine headache and considered going to the emergency room.

I still can't move around too much without feeling nauseated or having my head pound.

This morning I flew from Texas to California for work. As usual, I slept for much of the flight. When I woke up as the plane was landing, I had a terrible headache. It got worse every second that passed.

As I stepped off the plane, all I could think about was taking something for the pain. I had one Tylenol and one Motrin left in my bag from my last trip, but I needed something to take it with.

My headache was getting worse so quickly that I didn't think I could make it all the way to baggage claim. I couldn't tolerate light or sound, and I was getting more and more nauseated. Luckily there was a gift shop near the gate, so I went in and purchased a juice and a snack to take my medicine.

I took the medicine immediately. Not wanting to leave my suitcase going around and around the baggage claim unattended, I slowly made my way to the baggage claim area.

As soon as I got my suitcase, I sat in the nearest chair and couldn't move without extreme pain. On a pain scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being extreme pain, I was at a 10. (I have only been at a 10 once before in my life, and that time resulted in a trip to the Emergency Room and a hospital stay.) The headache was so severe that I couldn't think straight.

All I could think about was the pain.

I was hoping the medicine would start working about 30 minutes after I took it. It didn't. I waited another 20 minutes. Still nothing. At that point, I dragged myself to the nearby giftshop and purchased another travel pack of Tylenol and Motrin. I went back to my chair and took one more Tylenol and Motrin. After another 40 minutes, my pain had slightly improved to a 9.

Though I've had migraines before, I've never had one this severe. Every sound felt like a dozen knives stabbing me. I had to cover my ears a few times as noisy people went by. I kept my eyes closed with sunglass on because the light was painful as well. I felt as if my head would explode. I was so out of it that at one point I thought the pain might kill me.

Sitting in the same chair at the airport for about an hour and a half with little relief from the extreme pain, I started to feel a little scared and alone. I also really wanted to get to my hotel so that I could lie down on a bed.

I ended up making a deal with myself. I would go to the hotel and lie down. If I continued to feel as bad, I would call an ambulance.

I made my way to the rental car shuttle bus and got on. I was the only passenger. As soon as we started moving, my pain went back up to a 10 and an extreme wave of nausea rolled over me. I knew I was going to vomit, but I couldn't open my mouth to tell the bus driver to stop.

I desperately started digging through my bag and found a small zip lock bag with some of my medicine in it. I dumped out the contents of the zip lock into my bag and proceeded to throw up in the zip lock uncontrollably. As far as I could tell, the bus driver didn't even notice. I sealed the zip lock just as we arrived at the rental car facility. As soon as I got off the bus, I tossed the contents into the nearest trash can.

Coca Cola sometimes helps settle my stomach when I'm nauseated, so I purchased one from the machine that was in the facility. I was obviously not well enough to hop in a car and drive, so I sat down in a chair while I sipped on my drink. The pain was at a 10. I contemplated asking someone to help me get an ambulance. I still couldn't think straight, but I knew I wanted to lie down on the bed in my hotel room.

I don't remember how much time passed before I got the strength to get up to find my rental car, but the pain had improved a bit to an 8. I think it must have been the combination of two Extra Strength Tylenol, two Motrin, and the caffeine in the Coke that was helping my headache.

I finally made it to my car and eventually got to the hotel. I was on the bed as soon as I entered the room.

My incapacitating headache lasted nearly four hours before I started to feel human again. My head still hurts a great deal, but it's not nearly as bad as it was earlier today. I would rate it at about a 6 at this time.

The worst part about all of this is that I am away from home traveling on business alone. I will not be home until Sunday, so I really hope I don't get another severe headache this week. Of course I'll be telling my doctor about this incident as soon as I get the chance.

Today's Activities: travel for work. Today's Most Annoying Symptoms: severe migraine, nausea, exhaustion, muscle fatigue, general weakness.

Mood (10 is best): 5
Energy (10 is best): 2
Physical Discomfort (10 is worst): 10 earlier today, currently 6

11 comments:

Sylvia said...

How awful!! I can imagine how scary it must be being sick and alone there. I hope you'll be feeling much better soon. Do take care of yourself!

Jo said...

You poor love! My daughter gets these after exertion and I know how wretched it makes her feel. Take care of yourself.

Lori said...

You poor thing. I hope that you're beginning to feel a little relief. My daughter gets migraines. When a particularly bad one hits, we go to the hospital. That would work if you were home, but maybe not so well while away because it knocks you out for at least one day.

Feel better soon. {{{hugs}}}

Treya said...

Oh Alyson.... I can really associate with you. I unfortunately have experience with this kind of migraine. I'm so sorry that it happened to you in such a public and noisy place.

You are right, that kind of pain really knocks it out of you for a day or so. I really hope you are feeling well soon. xx

Joanne said...

You poor thing.

If it still persists I would take yourself to the hospital.

If it eases a lot I would seriously think you should return home and have plenty of rest. No job is worth risking your health for.

When you are alone and sick it is very difficult to think what is best for you.

Just don't soldier on, life will go on whether you do your work or not but rest and maybe medical attention are what you need.

Hugs Joanne

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

Hi - I have migraines and what I do is take 3 of the Excedrin Migraine tablets when this happens.

I also take Pepsi or Coke to settle my stomach (or ginger ale).

Be sure you don't use any spices; don't eat chocolate or drink wine - they are often the causes of headaches. Don't eat seasoned meat of any kind; no hot dogs or sausages.

Eat very light; have chicken broth and eat a plain potato - no sandwiches that you buy because MSG is in many foods, and that triggers my migraines as well.

Keep the room dark; don't watch television or use your computer at all - this aggravates migraines.

Get rid of all perfumes and smells that might also be the culprit.

Try to find some lavendar spray and use it - nothing else.

I can no longer fly because of a brain injury that I had back in 2002; the pressure from taking off and landing gives me seizures.

Stay safe........

p1nkg0dess said...

What a scary experience! I have never had such a bad headache in public, but I have had other pain that's sent me to the ER. It's so terrible because there's the pain itself and then the anxiety over being so debilitated and having to figure out what to do on your own. You are in my thoughts, and I am hoping that you have better health for the remainder of the trip!

Renee said...

I have never experienced such headaches. How awful for you. I hope by now things have settled down and you are able to find answers for why this happened.

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

Glad you're feeling better today. Diane

Sue Jackson said...

So sorry to hear you went through such a horrible experience. Nothing worse than being sick when you're away from home. Hope you're doing better by now.

Sue

alyson said...

Thank you everyone for all your supportive comments. Every one of you helped to lift my spirits. It has taken more than a week for me to process what happened, but I'm finally moving forward. I'll be writing a post on my progress.