Last night’s migraine & how it went away
Written Aug. 14, 2015
Last night we (meaning my business, Avid Bookshop) had an insanely famous sci-fi author named John Scalzi in town for an event, and I knew it was going to be a Big Deal. My nervousness and preparation began months ago, of course, but the real frenzy set in yesterday early morning. I composed long and instruction-filled emails to my event staff, making sure we had absolutely everything in line for that night’s event. I ran errands and picked up gifts for the author and had our local copy shop do a rush job for flyers and such that I’d forgotten to get processed earlier.
I practiced my introduction speech and wondered if I’d be delivering it to ten people or one hundred. The usual background anxiety for an event host popped in: will anyone show up to this event?
Fast forward to 6:30pm. The event was to start in thirty minutes, and absolutely everything was going smoothly. I’d’ve been suspicious of the smoothness were I not so busy. We already had a ton of people at the venue and were selling books left and right. The author had arrived safely and was genial and funny, just as I’d expected him to be after reading his writing and Twitter feed. My booksellers were rocking it, taking care of business and making sure everyone felt welcome. It was going so smoothly.
At 7:00pm, I dashed out to use the restroom. As the toilet flushed, my hands shot up to my ears involuntarily because the noise was too much to take. Uh-oh, I thought, but tried to ignore the warning sign. I quietly read over my introduction speech once more. Usually I speak off the cuff, being totally familiar with the usual event intro rigamarole. I was nervous last night, though, to be hosting such a big-name author to a crowd of people who were buzzing with anticipation, some of whom had driven hundreds of miles to be there.
After introducing Mr. Scalzi and setting the reading/event in motion, I retreated to the back of the venue to sit next to Jim, who’d come out to support me. It wasn’t until he whispered to me, “I’m starving!” that I realized I was, too. We snacked on the stuff I’d thought to buy in advance (go, me), but I still felt the migraine symptoms rolling in. The media escort from Atlanta was a good five feet away from me, but suddenly his cologne seemed to be shot directly into my nose with a bow and arrow, whereas earlier that evening it was merely a light scent I noticed in passing. My head felt like it was filling with heavy sand, and I had trouble concentrating here and there even though this author was beyond entertaining.
When the Q&A session ended, I announced to the crowd how we were setting up the signing line so that everyone could meet the author. I spoke but didn’t feel my brain connecting to the words I was saying. Am I making sense? I wondered. Happily, people moved into the direction I’d asked, so apparently I had made just enough sense.
We sold more books and chatted with customers. I could see a little light blinking in my left eye. When there were only a few people left in what had once been a very long, snaking line, I asked my bookseller W. if he’d mind if I left early due to migraine. In his ever-positive fashion he said, “You go. We got this. Don’t worry. Go take care of yourself.” I waited until the room had emptied so I could say thanks and goodbye to John Scalzi, and then I promptly drove to a very unhealthy fast food restaurant to stave off my hunger. I felt for sure that the migraine freight train was about to run me down.
But guess what? When I got home, I immediately put on comfy clothes and pigged out on dinner—salty french fries and a cheeseburger—and started to feel better. I had planned on climbing right into bed in the hopes of sleeping off the migraine without having to take meds (NOT what my doctor would’ve wanted, mind you—in theory, I should’ve taken my triptan meds immediately upon feeling the migraine approach). Instead, I felt so much more calm and in less discomfort once I was home and had eaten food at last. I even ended up taking the garbage out so I could avoid waking at 7:00am in a panic to make sure we got it out before early morning Friday pickup. The carrying of the trash bags down to the driveway didn’t even exacerbate my head pain, which was dissipating rapidly (but still not gone).
When I awoke this morning, there were no signs of migraine. I was profoundly tired, but who knows if that’s migraine-related or merely a sign of how busy a day I had yesterday.
All this is to ask you this: have you ever been totally confused about whether you had a migraine or not? For a good 2.5 hours, my symptoms matched my typical attack profile perfectly, but then the migraine pretty much went away before I even went to sleep. So was that a “real” migraine or something else entirely? Is it possible that a big, salty meal was the only medicine I needed yesterday? I am so confused (but thankful I feel good today). Any thoughts or stories of similar experiences are welcome.