I remember a migraine I had as a kid. I didn’t know what it was back then. I just remember pressing my giant stuffed pink panther onto my forehead to ease the pain. If you know me well, you know I get migraines. The truth is, if we hang out a lot, I’ve probably canceled on you more than once because of my migraines.
Unfortunately, this short story isn’t about my last and final migraine. It’s about my most recent–the one I just had.
I’ve never written about my migraines before. They’re a dull, predictable ailment of mine. But this last one– it was epic. It followed the migraine formula perfectly.
It started last week; I think on Wednesday. There wasn’t any pain yet. I didn’t realize that my irritable mood was connected to the future. It’s a tell tale sign of the classic migraine. Even before the pain hits, your brain feels it coming, like it’s hearing the train tooting before it arrives. I was moody and tired. Nothing was hurting, but I was already feeling the drain.
Then Thursday evening, I felt a little sting on the left side of my forehead like a small spark, not yet a fire, but a popping spark. I was laying down watching VEEP with my boo; when I moved my head around, I started to feel the hard knocking of an ache, a visit from Ms. Migraine.
Going to bed that night, I knew what was coming. I thought, There’s no doubt or mystery now; tomorrow my head will be heavy and the sunlight will be my enemy. I diagnosed myself correctly. The next morning I woke up and looked at the window curtains. I watched the shapes and shadows of the hydrangea outside contrast harshly to the sunlight behind the cloth. The sun was annoying me.
For the next two days, I used my typical migraine coping skills: I lay around and take turns from the living room to the bedroom. I’ll watch TV for a while and then go close my eyes in the shaded bedroom with an icepack on my head. There’s no lights on in the house on migraine days. The sunlight slithering its way through the blinds offers more than enough lighting. I drink diet Coke and slurp soup. And I basically do nothing else. I can’t use my i-pad or my phone either during a migraine; electronic device usage seems to worsen the pain. If I can, I read books though, in low lighting.
After Friday and Saturday’s torture ended, Sunday and Monday featured leftover specials. Once the worst part of the migraine is over, it’s still not done with you. This time it took two more days for her to really move her stuff out. On Sunday, it suddenly decided to switch sides! I felt insane. Was this two migraines in a row? Or was it one leprechaun sneaky migraine fu#king with me?
With my heavy fingers I managed to push past the glaring light of the i-pad to look up some migraine info on Pinterest. I was surprised to find that I wasn’t insane, that sometimes migraine pain will switch sides. To myself, I said sarcastically in a high-pitched 1960s woman’s voice, “Oh, Mr. Migraine, I’m so glad you feel comfortable enough to freely switch sides in my brain.”
While staying at the Right Side Motel, the migraine decided to lower the level on the knob of torture for me, so I felt slightly less pain– which is so kind of her really (I think my migraines are giving me Stockholm syndrome). I was grateful. Still though, I had to go through the whole routine again for two more days.
In total, this last migraine stayed over for 6 days. By the end of the visit, I was wiped out. Even though the pain was gone, I still a little scared to move my head around. What if it comes back? Actually, the question is, when will it come back?
I’m so pleased to announce that three of my poems, “Slots,” “Scraping” and “Make a Decision” have been published in Barking Sycamores Literary Magazine Issue 13. Barking Sycamores is dedicated to neurodivergent literature and its craft. I’m so honored to be a part of this project. Barking Sycamores Issue 13
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