Migraine Stomping

Having a migraine when you are receiving Botox injections for said migraine is like having someone pound on your head repeatedly with a sledgehammer while your head is covered in a thick blanket. You can still totally feel it, but it’s muffled. Tamped down. It desperately wants to be felt by you, the migraine sufferer, but that damn blanket is in the way. Yet it persists. Silvery blips of light appear in your field of vision. You are slightly nauseated. You want to crawl under your desk and hide from the noise and confusion at work. And you know that sleep, blessed sleep, is your only escape.

This is what I have felt like the past two days. I know this would have been a bad migraine, but with the Botox stomp, it is only a shadow, albeit a large shadow. I am scheduled for my next round of Botox on Monday, and then the three-month cycle will begin again. Just my usual neck pain and tension headaches, but no debilitating migraines.

My dad got migraines and I can honestly say that it is one of the only qualities (or maladies, in this case) I got from my father that was a bad one. I remember him coming home from a long day as a carpenter and sitting in his chair in the living room. He just sat, holding his head and not talking. Occasionally he would get up to go into the bathroom, vomit, then return to his chair. This annoyed my mother to a degree that was completely disproportionate to the situation. She would yell at him, “Hans! Hans! HANS!” He would look up at her from beneath his hands. “What’s the matter with you?” He would mumble, “I have a headache.” This would add to her annoyance. It seemed to me then, and I’m certain of it now, that she felt as if these headaches were being down to her, like my poor dad was play-acting the whole thing just so he could piss her off.

Yet even then, I knew something was very wrong with my dad and it scared me. The worst dream I can vividly remember from my childhood is of a bull impaling my father with one of its sharp and deadly horns. This is how these headaches impacted the young, impressionable-but-not-knowledgeable Heidi. I thought my dad was dying but if he was dying, wouldn’t he stay home from work? But my dad never stayed home from work. Never. I sometimes wonder if he was running away from his hammer and his nails and throwing up in some stranger’s bathroom when these horrible headaches occurred on the job. But, in true German form, my dad carried on with his job. He worked through these horrific bouts of pain. I don’t know how he did it. I guess it’s just another example of my dad’s strength.

I am fortunate that there are medications and treatments available to me so I don’t have to suffer as my dad did. Thank you God, the universe, the person who tied botulism toxin with temporarily stomping out migraines, and my insurance company for providing me with 31 Botox injections every three months. It’s worth every painful needle stick.

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