Memorable Migraine: The Important Day I Completely Missed

We do a lot of book events at work, and, while I’m involved with planning a lot of them, I don’t end up attending most since I prefer to work during the day and not in the evenings when the readings occur.  In addition to hosting authors and illustrators at the bookshop, we work with other organizations offsite to host both famous and up-and-coming writers. My events team keeps really busy.

There’s one company we work with a few times a year that hosts events with authors where I prefer to be the bookseller involved. I’ve sent other booksellers in my stead before, but I definitely plan to be the one working unless I have travel plans.  For months now, I’d been planning to drive the hour to this venue to sell books at a reading for a big New York Times-bestselling author at this lovely lakeside venue. I kept a countdown ’til May 25.

And on May 25th, I woke up with a vicious migraine, one that I knew would wipe me out even if my medication worked efficiently. (Do you ever have those attacks that are bad enough that you know to call off your whole day? For me they’re quite different from the mild ones that, if treated, allow me to at least work a half-day.) Within twenty minutes of waking, I contacted a few staff members to see if anyone could go in my stead. Once I had someone lined up, I forwarded all the event and venue information to them and let the host know that someone else would be representing Avid.  Phew. Everything was arranged. I was relieved.

Then I got a text from the store manager: “G. is here for your appointment. Did you remember about that?”

Oh. Em. Gee.

I had booked an appointment with one of my publisher reps a month or more back and, just a couple of weeks before, we had confirmed it. I’d looked at my phone then and said, “Yep, it’s in my calendar.” So I pulled up my calendar app and saw that the appointment wasn’t anywhere listed. Somehow I or someone else on staff with calendar access had deleted it.  So much for the efficiency of electronic calendars. I may misplace my Moleskine planner from time to time, but at least I don’t accidentally erase entire swaths of my day.

Goodness, I felt like such a jackass.

A really weird thing happened, too: the moment I read the text and felt my stomach lurch, my migraine rapidly disappeared—was it the surge of adrenaline?  I actually feel better all of a sudden. I can take a quick shower and be there in 25 minutes and will grovel and apologize.

The relief didn’t last long, though. After the initial surge of embarrassment and regret and frustration with myself, the migraine roared back. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to work.

My rep lives in Florida and tours the Southeast to visit her accounts. It’s not like she lives in town and we could reschedule after this hiccup. She had to do the meeting then. Because the Avid manager is wonderful and can think on his feet, he was able to meet with her at a local café. I had already mostly finished my order draft, so I logged into my ordering system and polished it up, the screen as dim as it could go so as not to upset my migraine eyes.  I submitted the order draft within 20 minutes and kept my fingers crossed that my rep wouldn’t throttle me next time we meet.

So I had really messed up my day, and if I didn’t have really amazing, reliable staff, I would be full of much more frustration and shame at the moment. Thank goodness for them—they really saved the day, or at least the professional side of things. I can’t believe I was so ready to relax after figuring out the afternoon commitment only to realize there was a morning commitment I was already in the process of screwing up.  Yikes.

Has migraine ever screwed with your day like this? (Why do I ask that? Of course the answer will be “yes”!) Let me rephrase: would you be willing to share a comment about one time you—or your migraine, rather—really messed up your plans and put you in a bad position? 

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