How demoralizing it is to wake up with an unexpected migraine

Ugh. There’s something so totally demoralizing about waking up with a migraine, especially when I took steps the day and night before to lessen the risk of another day of this.

Yesterday* I did tai chi chih with my mom in the late morning, then we went out to lunch.  While we were at the restaurant, I started having hints of a migraine to come, but I thought, “No, that can’t be. Everything else is going fine, and I have a busy day ahead.” I decided I was imagining it.  The discomfort increased, however, and by the time my dad and I were out doing book deliveries for my bookshop business, I could tell the migraine was definitely on its way.  My sweet dad gets upset and protective when I tell him I’m sick, so I decided to keep the impending doom to myself. I took naratriptan when I got home and it didn’t work as fast as I wanted.  I put off work for the afternoon and decided to take a nap for an hour or so—I wanted to be in good shape for the evening.

You see, yesterday I had plans to hang out at a new board game café, The Rook & Pawn (I know—I’m nerdily excited about this, too!). I was going to buy a sandwich there and hang out with my sister and friends until it was time to head to the famous Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens, where one of the bands my husband leads was going to be playing a free show on the roof (how cool is that?). Turns out I kept dropping plans one plan at a time: first my afternoon work schedule, then my early evening out with friends, and finally the rock show. I just couldn’t swing it.

Some of my employees (who are friends of mine) were at Jim’s show and sent me pictures of him playing—he looked awesome, and I’m sure the band sounded awesome, too. My dad sent me a photo of the famous Georgia Theatre marquee, the band name “Los Cantares” lit up in lights. When I saw the photo, I was lying in bed by myself and felt a mixture of pride and sad isolation. I hated that I missed this show.

The naratriptan never really worked, so I ended up taking a pill out of my new prescription bottle: Tylenol 3, or Tylenol with codeine.  It calmed the pain down and made me sleepy, so that was good.  I comforted myself with the idea that when I awoke on Thursday, I’d be full of energy and feeling lots better after canceling plans the day before and taking good care of myself.

But no.  I woke up with a migraine worse than yesterday’s, and the sky is wet and overcast and my Thursday to-do list has ballooned out of control since I put off so many work tasks yesterday, assuming I’d feel better by today.  I’m sitting on the porch with my cat, drinking coffee and writing this article and trying not to have too much self-pity.  Ugh. I’m just annoyed with this whole situation and more than worried about how I’m going to get everything done today.  I took my second (and, per the instructions, final) dose of naratriptan for the week and am hoping it’ll kick in today.  It was my best shot for quick relief since I can’t take another brand of triptan until at least 24 hours after my last dose of the first brand, and I am not going to wait until mid-afternoon to treat this beast.

I know I’ve written about this before: how hard it is to wake up with a migraine when you thought you’d be home free.  But I thought it merited another post since I think about it a lot—namely every time it happens to me and every time I hear about a friend or community member who opens his or her eyes only to find that the beast has not been kept at bay as expected.

What are some of your coping skills? Can you remember a recent time when you were pretty confident you had a migraine-free day ahead only to wake up with another one?

*FYI, this was written at the end of summer 2015

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