Memorable Migraine: When J. Saved Me

Let me preface this entry by saying you should never, ever share prescription medication with others. Your script was written expressly for you and is not intended for anyone else.

All that said, I want to tell a story about a particularly awful migraine I had years ago when my friend J. saved me with a meltaway triptan drug (one I did indeed have a prescription for but had none of in the house).

J. was one of the first friends in Athens whose experience with migraine seemed at all similar to mine in terms of their severity and side effects. I had a really bad spell years ago when I was 25 or so. I was only nauseated when I stood up or tried to drink water, so of course when I went to the bathroom cabinet to grab a pill and a glass of water, it all came back up immediately. As long as I lay perfectly still, I could ignore the nausea, focusing instead on the throbbing pain and blindness on the whole left side of my head. Even my joints ached, but at least being still meant no vomiting for a bit.

Not being able to swallow any medication meant I was screwed, medication-wise. I only had triptans in tablet form at that point (no injections, no meltaways). I now know that meltaway pills don’t bypass the gastrointestinal system as I’d originally thought—they take as long as, if not longer than, pills to make it through your system. But in this case they were the only solution I could think of since swallowing water was out of the question.

I called J. and she rushed over, knowing that for me every minute felt like an hour for all the pain and discomfort I was in. She scrambled around for my hidden house key; once she found it, she let herself in and called out to me. “Janet? Where are you?” She found me and gently put her arm around me. I felt as if I probably looked insane—later she told me my eyes were glassy and wild and it was almost as if I wasn’t really there with her.

J. opened the foil packaging and opened my mouth for me, placing the triptan meltaway on my tongue. She gently helped me lay down and waited with me for a few minutes to make sure that I wasn’t going to get sick to my stomach again.

Within 30 minutes or so, the pain began to lift swiftly and dreamily. Within minutes of the migraine pain beginning to go away, it was already hard to imagine how awful it had been.

Have you ever had someone rescue you from an awful migraine episode?

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