I was about to say that the transition from summer to fall 2014 hadn’t been easy on my migraine brain this year, but it might be more apt to say that the entire fall season was actually kind of rough. I had lots of days affected by migraine, and I confess to not taking good care of myself much of the time, which weakened my defenses and increased the chances of more attacks.
It’s not like I don’t know better. Heck, I’ve been writing about migraine for nearly a decade now, and I’ve dealt with this condition for over twenty years. I know a thing or two about migraine and self-care, but I don’t always take my own advice.
In early and mid-November 2014, I had several days where I was about 20% as productive as I needed to be for work. As you may know, I own and manage a bookshop, and this is the time of year when things start to get crazy, so it’s super-important for me to be as organized and prepared as possible for the amazing, fun, exhausting, exhilarating reality of working retail in the holiday season. I just couldn’t get it together completely, though. My booksellers, as always, went to bat for me, but I fell behind on some obligations and was forgetful enough that I had to be reminded by others that I had not paid a bill or purchased supplies we were running low on. Yikes.
As fall came to a close, I started feeling better, migraine-wise. I fell hard onto concrete in November, so my hip and back are another issue all together, but at least my head is clear. I emerged from my migraine haze to find a to-do list long enough to wallpaper my house, or TP all the trees in my yard. The to-do list was long, and I hadn’t even remembered to include everything on it!
And so began what I call Post-Migraine Triage: I had to sort out my obligations to my business, my second job, to my family, to my partner, to my friends, and to my house. Because of the time of year, Avid Bookshop obligations were (and continue to be—you didn’t think I was all caught up, did you?) at the top of the list. I printed up no fewer than 60 checks for monies owed (when you’re in the book world dealing with hundreds of publishers, there are lots of little bills to be paid and lots of records to maintain!). I worked on event proposals, ran a staff meeting while migraining (thank goodness for an understanding staff!), met with publishers, did restock orders, ordered gift items, and more. I got a LOT done during my migraine-free (and migraine-light) days, and I’m proud.
There are many things the Post-Migraine Triage system reserved for later. For a couple of weeks there, my house stayed totally messy, our empty garbage can stayed by the curb instead of being rolled back to the house, I skipped most of my exercise walks, and I gave friends rain checks on hanging out. So far the world has not fallen apart, and I’m slowly catching up (while realizing over and over again that this race shall never be fully run).
What sort of post-migraine (or migraine-light) triage system do you use? How do you prioritize your to-do list? What happens when you just let things fall by the wayside?
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?