Tips to Prevent Migraine While Hospitalized
Last updated: October 2023
If you have a chronic illness, there may be times in which you will have to be hospitalized. A hospitalization is always hard and migraine attacks can complicate them. Personally, the longer the stay, the greater the chance of having a migraine attack or multiple attacks.
Why are we susceptible to attacks in the hospital?
For one, hospitalizations bring on more stress. There is stress from just being in a hospital. Who wants to be stuck in a hospital room? Not me. I like being where I can control when I take my own medications, on my schedule. When pain comes in a hospital, you must rely on the staff. Lately, there are staffing shortages and one may have to push a call button several times. My longest wait for the nurse to come check on why I pushed the call light, took twenty minutes. Then, they had to bring the medication that I needed, which took on average, another 5 to 20 minutes. If the medicine was kept in the pharmacy, instead of on the floor, it would take longer for the nurses to get it.
How can treatment plans be messed up?
There may be some disagreeing with the treatment plan, and the staff not understanding the patient’s needs fully. Complexity seems to be my middle name. I was recently hospitalized for a few weeks. The hospital did not have all of my medications as some were non-formulary. They were giving me what they had until they could order mine. Some medications though, they decided that I did not need while at their facility. They also would say one thing to me, and then, have a team discussion. That led to a change in my medication without consulting me. I, of course, would disagree. The staff did not like that. In the end, we came to an agreement.
What migraine triggers lie in hospitals?
Bright lights are triggers for me. I find myself squinting as we went down the halls, or when the staff would turn the lights on. Those 4 am blood draws were the worst. No one likes being awakened by the door opening wide, and the lights being flicked on.
What can you do?
There are things that I would try to do to decrease the stress of being in the hospital. Listed below are some of my tools to cope. By doing these things, I could try to prevent some migraines and eliminate extra pain.
Do not worry about what you can not control. I know it is frustrating, but worrying about being there will only do more harm than good. I have things to take my mind off of the hospital. I like to watch cable TV (I do not have cable at home). Watch some interesting shows. I also enjoy the view from the window. If you are social, talk with the staff. I had some interesting conversations with housekeeping and the nurses. Listen to relaxing music on your phone. Anything that takes your mind off the location and your sickness is helpful.
Be your own best advocate. You have to look out for yourself. Do not be afraid to speak up when you know that you need something, do not agree with their plans/medications, or see that something the staff is doing is wrong. You are part of the team because it is your body. If you do not agree, let them know. Ask questions to see why they want a certain test or medication. Get clarification if you do not understand something. You can even ask the nurse to contact the doctor for you. The doctor should be willing to come to explain things to you.
Keep the doors closed to avoid the hall lights. Keep your lights off or dim while you are in the room alone. Ask them to not turn on the light unless it is necessary. You can also ask them to knock before busting into the room and turning the lights on startling you. Another helpful thing would be to bring in earplugs. My nurse gave to two pairs while I was recently in the hospital. Do not forget your eye mask either!!
Hopefully, you will not need to be in the hospital anytime soon. If you do, maybe this can be of some benefit to you. For those who have been in the hospital, what are some things that have helped you out?
In the past year, has insurance made it difficult to get your migraine treatment?