Another day lost to a seemingly mild migraine

The second half of my day yesterday ended up being a lost day.  I had a fun morning with my mom, and then we went to eat at a great local restaurant and ventured across the street to our amazing public library, where we browsed for awhile.

When I got back home, I was grateful to notice that the Imitrex I had taken at lunch seemed to have kicked in.  More than half the time I take a triptan (when the drug works, which is true in at least 90% of attacks), I end up being able to function the rest of the day, even if my sails are at half-mast.  But yesterday I just couldn’t get it together.

I was achy and tired and canceled my late afternoon work meeting—thankfully, the people I was meeting with were relieved to have the meeting postponed due to their own crazy schedules, so I didn’t needlessly make myself feel guilty about that.  (Usually I have this whole routine I go through where I feel terrible for canceling meetings due to migraines even though I had no other choice and people are fine at handling cancellations.)

Jim got home from work and I was sprawled on the couch, laptop open, getting nothing of real value accomplished.  He, too, had felt like he’d already had a long day.  I announced, “I think I’m going to take a bath again!” (I had taken one last night.)  “Go for it,” he encouraged me, so I filled my new clawfoot tub with Epsom salts and hot water and climbed in.  The magnesium in the Epsom salts certainly made my body and head feel a little better, and I was careful not to make the water so hot I overheated. When I take hot baths, I also make sure to have a plastic bottle of cool water within reach so I stay hydrated.

The bath lured me into a sleepiness I could barely control, so I climbed out of the tub after about thirty minutes so I could avoid falling asleep in the bathtub (not a safe situation). I felt sleepy and relaxed the way I did as a kid during that magical, book-filled time between my bath and bedtime.  But it was only 4:30pm, and I had so much work to do.

Instead of even looking at my to-do list, I simply read my book and drifted in and out of sleep the rest of the day.  Today is a HUGE day for me at the bookshop (we have an extraordinarily famous author coming and so much prep work to finish), so yesterday I was supposed to be getting organized and making sure today wasn’t so insane I got yet another migraine.

But I just couldn’t mobilize.  My head pain was gone and I was so relieved to be free of head pain (even though my hip and back pain were still throbbing), and I was hopeful I’d get so much done as soon as the medication had worked its wonders.  But instead the prodrome took over, and my unshakable exhaustion and out-of-it-ness (I’m sure that’s a medical term, right?) made it impossible for me to be a functional person.

At 8:30pm, Jim roused me from my second long nap of the day and made me eat some dinner and stay awake for a few more hours so I wouldn’t completely screw up my sleep later that night.  Even a full hour after being awake and eating dinner, I was tired and groggy.

Whew.  That migraine really got to me yesterday despite the relative lack of head pain.  It’s days like that that make me frustrated when doctors insist on focusing on the severity of headache pain without thinking more about the impact this illness has on one’s life.

What do you do—what can you do—on migraine days when the non-pain parts of the illness are what render you non-functional, when the fatigue or nausea or dizziness make it impossible for you to accomplish that day’s goals? 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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