I’m at Day 11 of a head pain my doctor, an excellent diagnostician, is calling a migraine. As someone whose had them since the age of 17, I didn’t believe him at first. If you grow up around boats, you know boats. I grew up around migraines, I know what a migraine feels like. Not like this.
But as I savour each new day, I think maybe it’s just a variant I maybe haven’t had before. No expert myself, but it may well be what they call a ‘cluster’ migraine, but a cool variant I’ve specially tailored to be my own private hell.
Let this be a record of my suffering, just in case it’s needed post-mortem.
It began with a good head-cold a few weeks back. You know the type, not influenza but it bloody-well could be. You would like it to leave a scar or something so you can show others later, just for their ‘holyfuck!‘ reactions.
I recovered from the cold, but there remained a lingering head pain. I took a couple of ibuprofen and could function fine. Then about 23 March it became a 5-6/10 right-lobe headache. After a day, it moved behind my right eye, accompanied by a very stiff neck.
It was different from my usual migraines — 11/10 thunderclaps that lasted hours but eventually ebbed away leaving me wrecked and relieved — because it didn’t (and hasn’t yet) increased or decreased. The pain remains 5-6/10 all day every day, but every other symptom has changed.
For starters, the right side of my face became swollen. My right eye wouldn’t open like my left, and my right pupil became miotic (constricted). This lasted three days, and raised alarm bells with my wife. Dutifully, I went to the family doctor last Thursday and he diagnosed me with a migraine.
I argued with him. Not something I’d usually do, but I felt he was wrong. Sensing my anxiety, he sent me for a prcautionary CT scan which proved I have an enormous but otherwise ‘absolutely normal’ brain. I feel argumentative again: Surely not merely normal, doctor? He prescribed a S4 analgesic which has gave me some relief.
But I still have the head pain. To satisfy myself, I had an extensive eye test which ruled out anything sinister, and on Thursday I’m having a dental check to rule out my teeth. If I still have this fucking 5-6/10 head pain, I’m marching straight back into my doctor’s surgery, and we’re going to start again.
For the record, no nausea. No head trauma. No abrupt changes to diet. No faerie-lights or halos. It’s not throbbing or pulsating. No blurred vision. No photo-sensitivity. No nasal congestion or runny nose. I am fatigued but sleeping okay. I did have tingling/numbness to the RHS of my face in the early days. On occasion, there is a slight pain in the RHS of my throat at the rear when I swallow.
So it ticks some of the boxes for a ‘cluster’ migraine, but not all. I’m going to work, but I feel anxious about getting through my day and coming home again. I don’t know if it is making me cranky or short toward others, but it probably is. I’ve told my boss, and he’s been very good about it, but I don’t want more days off work (I’ve had one sick day).
Because I’m still in it’s clutches, there will be a Part B to this blog.
I still don’t think it’s a ‘cluster’ migraine. They’re nicknamed ‘suicide migraines’ because the pain is so intense people want to die. Intense and short. This is constant, eleven days and eleven nights without relief, and I don’t want to die.
But right now, I can’t think straight, so I’ll call it quits. Nothing is quite as boring as other people’s health.