Memorable Migraine 4: Bookselling While Ill

A couple of weeks ago, my dear friend and bookseller R. took me out for a much-belated birthday dinner. We went to a local restaurant before wandering over to the famous Georgia Theatre, where my beau Jim was set to play to a sold-out crowd (shoutout: go Jim!). I had one glass of fancy wine at the restaurant and, an hour or more later, one glass of wine at the Theatre.

I don’t drink often, but if I do it’s often a glass of light white wine, maybe two. And then I’m done. In recent months, this has caused me no trouble, so I was confident stopping at just two glasses. Since I do drink so rarely, I got a little tipsy but then it wore off. By the time I went to bed (a little later than usual), I felt fine.

At 7:30 in the morning, I woke up with a rumbly stomach and a medium-sized headache—nothing felt migrainey, nothing felt too threatening. I just didn’t feel right. I went to use the restroom and get a glass of water but was waylaid almost immediately by debilitating dizziness and nausea. I sat next to the toilet on the floor and proceeded to get very sick to my stomach. “Are you okay!?” I heard Jim call from the bedroom. I didn’t have the strength to answer. It was such an overdramatic moment. I’d gone from feeling under the weather to feeling as if the flu had descended on me: my forehead broke out in a sweat, my stomach was upset beyond belief, and even lying on the cold wooden floor of the bathroom didn’t soothe my high temperature.

Eventually I got up and took an Imitrex by mouth (the only acute medication I had—I crossed my fingers I wouldn’t be sick and up losing the valuable pill). I lay down again for a few hours, hoping I’d feel well enough to work.

Well, I didn’t feel well enough to work. But it was Sunday, my day to work. I got so desperate I texted my booksellers to see if either of them could come in—no dice. I was dizzy and out of it and hoped that not too many people would come in and think I was mentally checked out. I made some dumb, unimportant mistakes in my migraine/medication haze. I looked at the clock constantly, something I hardly ever do while at the bookshop (the best job ever). By the time our author event began at 4, I had returned to myself at least 75% and I don’t think the crowd really noticed anything was wrong.

But it was ROUGH. This wasn’t my first migraine on the job, but it was the first migraine I went through without being able to call anyone else in to work for me. I’m so grateful Jim was able to spend part of the day with me, making sure I got food and coffee and water. Periodically I felt an overwhelming need to sit down, and he was very accommodating.

How do you migraineurs deal with migraines on the job?

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