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When I “lost” medication that was right in front of my face

You chronic migraineurs know how it goes: you have used as many triptans as you can safely use in one week and it’s time for the rescue medication (assuming your doctor has been willing to write you a prescription for one). You put off taking it, because you know it doesn’t really help too much.  In my case, the number of rescue meds I’m prescribed is limited since my medication, Tylenol 3, has codeine in it—I’m only allowed to get it filled a certain number of times. If I go through the supply too quickly, I must deal without it or risk being labeled a drug seeker if I try to convince my insurance company and the pharmacy to give me a refill sooner than expected.

I try to put off the Tylenol 3 taking as long as I can. The other day I was having a rebound migraine, leftover pain and discomfort from the attack I’d had the day before. I was feeling pretty okay—not terrible, not good.  Suddenly, right around dinner time, the migraine worsened and I knew I’d need to take my rescue med. I had seen the bottle not 24 hours before and always (well, nearly always) kept it in my purse or backpack.

I couldn’t find it anywhere. I ransacked the house. I dug through drawers I hadn’t opened all week, because what if in my migraine haze the day before I’d thrown the bottle in there? I looked in my cabinets and in Jim’s bathroom cabinet. I looked under the couch and on the kitchen counters and in the car. I emptied everything in my backpack: no dice. I emptied my purse: same deal.

We’d just rearranged the house, so I looked through every room, knowing it could be anywhere. I opened all my desk drawers in my new office and peered into every nook and cranny. Nothing. I sat at my desk and riffled through a catch-all bin that has papers and documents and keys and miscellaneous things I should be focused on that week.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.

The bottle was lost.

Jim was having band practice at the house, and when he’s in music mode I try to let him stay in the zone. But when they took a quick break, I asked if he’d seen my medicine bottle. “I don’t know, babe—sorry,” he replied, and I told him, “No worries.”

But I was worried. Where in the heck was it? I’d had it the evening before. I had the bottle in my hand, the bottle that potentially held at least partial relief and calm. And now it was gone.

I retreated back to my office, the room farthest away from where the band was practicing. I sat at my desk and took a deep breath. I closed my eyes for a spell and, when I opened them: there it was. The bottle of Tylenol 3 was right there on the desk in plain sight. No papers or boxes were hiding it, and it wasn’t tucked behind anything else. It couldn’t have been more obvious.

I’d looked there, and not just glancingly. I had sat at that desk more than once in the hour beforehand and hadn’t noticed the bottle right. in front. of my face.

Later that evening, I posted this status on my Facebook page: “Why yes, I did just ransack the entire house to find the migraine medication that was sitting in plain sight on an almost empty desk.”

So many people liked the status, and lots of folks wrote some iteration of, “Been there, done that.” It cheered me up and reminded me that, during a migraine, multiple parts of your brain aren’t functioning at full capacity and even something that’s right in front of your eyes can be invisible.

Have you ever found yourself unable to find something seemingly obvious (your glasses on your head, your medication on the desk, the milk in the fridge) during a migraine attack? Please share your humorous—or not so humorous—stories below! 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • RachelRoo
    3 years ago

    I have definitely done this and more than once, even though I (usually?) keep all of my medications in the same place, or one of the same two places.

    One thing I’ve actually started doing is giving one dose of my Triptan and one of my rescue preparations to my husband to keep in a special spot in his office. This way if I suddenly can’t find something and can’t function to look (I get super stressed looking for anything I ‘need’ to find, and the movement can be uncomfortable if a headache is bad) he is able to help me out. Something to consider if you have a partner who is very responsible and doesn’t mind playing this role for you. (I also try not to ‘count’ what he has set aside for me when I am considering how much I have left of medications, this way there is always something in the house in case of emergencies)

  • seraphimgen
    3 years ago

    Just yesterday I was cooking lunch for my elderly parents, it was time to take it out of the oven.. I looked in, the oven was cold.. .nothing inside..developing panic ensued until I was interrupted by the ‘beep beep’ of the microwave… There it was! How bright I felt!

  • JanetH
    3 years ago

    Jever put the half and half in the cupboard instead of the fridge? I don’t recall now if this was during a headache or not, but that’s my classic story. Luckily, I caught it in time!

  • Douglas
    3 years ago

    I have done this so many times in my life I am no longer embarrassed in the least when it happens at home. The only times it causes embarrassment is when a) I have made a scene trying to find “it”, and b) it happened in public with others involved (wait staff, friends, etc.). This happens without any migraine related issues (I am also ADHD, so…).

    Don’t worry, you are not alone.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    3 years ago

    I’m so glad I’m not alone. I often find things that are right in front of me hours, if not days later.


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