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Migraine is a neurologic disease, of which the most common symptom is an intense and disabling episodic headache. Migraine headaches are usually characterized by severe pain on one or both sides of the head and are often accompanied by photophobia (hypersensitivity to light), phonophobia (hypersensitivity to sound) and nausea. The word migraine is French in origin and comes from the Greek hemicraniamegrim). Literally, hemicrania means "only half the head." (as does the Old English term
That definition comes from good ol' Wikipedia, where you can find out anything. I needed info on migraines because I got attacked, from behind, by the biggest, nastiest, most foul-mouthed migraine ever to escape prison. This migraine makes other migraines nervous. It's so tough, my head cold climbed out of my sinuses, packed a light bag, and sprinted to my neighbor's house. I've never had a migraine before. I thought I had, once, when I took my son's Adderall, just to see what it was like. That little punk-ass headache pales in comparison to this monster in my cranium now.

The first phase or prodrome

Prodromal symptoms occur in 40% to 60% of migraineures. This phase consists of altered mood, irritability, depression or euphoria, fatigue, yawning, excessive sleepiness, craving for certain food (e.g., chocolate), and other vegetative symptoms. These symptoms usually precede the headache phase of the migraine attack by several hours or days and experience teaches the patient or observant family that the migraine attack is near.

I was driving home Wednesday evening when suddenly I got really, really tired. I figured it had simply been a long day, and since I was fighting through typical Dallas traffic at the time, I kinda blew it off. (I wish I had had some of that euphoria, though.)

The second phase or the Aura

The migraine aura is comprised of focal neurological phenomena that precedes or accompany the attack. They appear gradually over 5 to 20 minutes and usually subside just before the headache begins. Symptoms of migraine aura are usually sensory in nature.

Visual aura is the most common of the neurological events. There is a disturbance of vision consisting usually of unformed flashes of white or rarely of multicolored lights (photopsia) or forma­tions of dazzling zigzag lines (arranged like the battlements of a castle, hence the term fortification spec­tra or teichopsia). Some patients complain of blurred or shimmering or cloudy vision, as though they were look­ing through thick or smoked glass. The somatosensory aura of migraine consists of digitolingual or cheiro-oral paresthesias, a feeling of pins-and-needles experienced in the hand and arm as well as in the ipsilateral nose-mouth area. Paresthesia migrate up the arm and then extend to involve the face, lips and tongue.

Swear to God, I thought my glasses had stopped working, like I had missed a payment, and all the prescription just ran out the bottom of 'em or something. I saw flashes and spots, and the cars in front of me were getting fuzzy like the back of my neck (What? I shave it when I cut my hair.) That's when I knew something bad was up. And I was still a good 20 odd miles from home.

The third phase: The Headache

The typical migraine headache is unilateral, throbbing, moderate to severe and can be aggravated by physical activity . Not all of these features are necessary. The pain may be bilateral at the onset or start on one side and become generalized, usually alternates sides from one attack to the next. The onset is usually gradual. The pain peaks and then subsides, and usually lasts between 4 and 72 hours in adults and 1 to 48 hours in children. The frequency of attacks is extremely variable, from a few in a lifetime to several times a week, and the average migraineur experiences from one to three headaches a month. The head pain varies greatly in intensity. The pain of migraine is invariably accompanied by other features. Anorexia is common, and nausea occurs in almost 90 percent of patients, while vomiting occurs in about one third of patients. Many patients experience sensory hyperexcitability manifested by photophobia, phonophobia, osmophobia and seek a dark and quiet room. Blurred vision, nasal stuffiness, diarrhea, polyuria, pallor or sweating may be noted during the headache phase. There may be localized edema of the scalp or face, scalp tenderness, prominence of a vein or artery in the temple, or stiffness and tenderness of the neck. Impairment of concentration and mood are common. Lightheadedness, rather than true vertigo and a feeling of faintness may occur. The extremities tend to be cold and moist.

Holy shit. When it finally kicked in, I thought Laurie had decided to shank me, only for real. I have NEVER had a headache even come close to feeling like that one did. Here I was, driving on one of the busiest roads in Dallas, head about to cave in, and now I was also light- and sound-sensitive. I wanted to die. I wanted to stop the car in the middle of rush hour traffic, get out, gently close the door, and crawl underneath the chassis. I wanted circus midgets to climb up my pants legs, whip out tee-ball bats, and beat me in the balls, just so I'd have something else to think about instead of the agonizing pain in my noggin. To hell with a dark and quiet room - I wanted an isolation tank. When I finally got home, I didn't even greet my family - I went straight to the bathroom, threw up once or 400 times, then laid down beside the toilet. My head was throbbing so hard, I swear I saw 2 goth chicks planning a rave inside my skull. Bitches wouldn't even cut me in on the profits. Kids today. Finally I moved to the bed, and fell into a blissful sleep. I slept 10 hours that night. Usually I sleep about 5 or 6. All day yesterday, this migraine was tapdancing with cleats on, putting dents in my brain and making me nuts. I finally got a-hold of some Excedrine Migraine, which took it from a pain level of 9 to a pain level of about 6, which means I could stand to be vertical for short periods of time.

The postdrome phase

The patient may feel tired, "washed out", irritable, listless and may have impaired concentration, scalp tenderness or mood changes. Some people feel unusually refreshed or euphoric after an attack, whereas others note depression and malaise.

For sure, I'm tired and washed out, and beyond irritable. All I wanna do is lay around, not letting any hard light hit me. I'm a fluorescent vampire. I'll let you know when that refreshed or euphoric phase kicks in. I'm going to the doctor today. Maybe he'll give me morphine.

EDIT: Lodine. Imitrex. I love my doctor. He's my age, he's Asian, he plays Playstation, and he gives me drugs. Dr. L, you are the MAN!



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