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When a Pharmacy Tech Asked 'How Could I Let My Migraine Get That Bad'

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I recently had one of my worst migraines in a while. And of course, I would run out of my medications and have to actually go out and pick up a refill.

But this particular time, they weren’t ready when promised. Luckily, the pharmacy tech rushed things so I could get my medications and relief. But as he was ringing up my meds, he made a comment that almost made me cuss: How did you let your migraine get that bad?

I kept my response simple: “It is 100 degrees out and I have had to work through pain today versus resting.”

But in that moment, I realized many folks have no clue how a migraine really works. Most folks think it’s just a bad headache. That is the furthest thing from the truth.

Migraines are all-consuming. With hemiplegic migraines, I lose sight in one eye sometimes, total function of one side of my body, experience nausea and vomiting, extreme photosensitivity, double vision, blurred vision and pain all over, among other things. Now, sometimes I am lucky to get an aura or pre-feeling that a migraine is coming. For me, that is either a mild headache or facial numbness and tingling. My eyes may even swell up. If I begin to experience any of these, I know to watch out because a migraine is on its way. I try to ward it off by taking rescue medication. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

If I make it to a full-blown headache, we are in a world of trouble. Trying to get medications to work can be difficult, and it seems like it takes forever for the pain to subside. I have to lay completely still with ice packs or aromatherapy heat wraps on my head, and use whatever other tricks I can think of to get the pain to die down. The sad part is it can take hours or it can take days.

When it is all said and done, there is one part that nobody really talks about— the hangover. Yes, migraines breed a hangover. After all the medications have worn off and your body finally comes down from fighting and being on a heightened status, you are in a hangover like state. I am tired, my stomach is upset still, and I just feel out of it. That can last the rest of a day to a few days. Sometimes I feel fighting a level 7 to 10 migraine is worse than my lupus flares. But then again the two often go hand-in-hand.

And please believe I try my hardest to prevent these episodes. I watch my diet, I do Botox every 12 weeks and take a daily medication. But some days the weather changes, the barometric pressure is too much, or stress overwhelms you and you can’t hide.

So to answer your question, Mr. Pharmacy Tech, my migraine got so bad because it could.

Migraines are unpredictable.

They take over your life unexpectedly and make you feel helpless.
All you can do is listen to your body and hope for the best.

Originally published: August 18, 2019
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