Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cluster Migraines

My husband suffers from cluster migraines. When I first met him over 20 years ago, they scared the hell out of me. I would have to sit back and watch this strong man being brought to tears by the pain. He's suffered from them since he was 15 years old. He's been to doctors, the ER, he's had all of the tests. No one can figure out what triggers them and no prescription medication has ever helped him.

The cycles don't really have a rhyme or reason, either. He used to get them, several times a year but for a very short time - like 2-3 migraines a cycle. Well, then he'd get less cycles, but more headaches. The way that the cycle is now, we can go up to 18 months between them, but the headaches come sometimes 2-3 times a DAY!

About ten years ago, he went in to a cycle right before our first trip to Disney. I was like "There is no way you can survive one of these headaches in Disney!" I mean, when one would strike, he needed complete silence and darkness for HOURS. There was no way that he could be in the middle of a park and walk to the exit, wait for a bus, ride the noisy bus back to the hotel, walk to the room... I mean, he'd be dead by then. On a fluke, we tried Excedrin Migraine and if he takes it at the very first twinge of a headache, he will be fine within 15 minutes. The problem? He is male. He tries to fight these damn things.

This cycle started up about a week ago. He had two that first day. What I noticed within the first three days was that they hit more over night. He fell asleep on the couch one night and did NOT get one. Solution? Sleep on the couch if you don't want a headache in the middle of the night! I don't know why, but it works. Our house is weird and I know that I wake up with a headache almost every morning so I can only imagine what his head feels like if it brings on a migraine. By the time he wakes up in the bed with a headache, it's too late; the Excedrin will not work.

We were on a good roll for about 5 nights when at 3 a.m. this morning, guess who came to bed? Besides waking me up by coming in the room, within an hour he was moaning in pain and trying to fight it at 5:00 he finally got up and went to take a hot shower (they help too). But by now I am WIDE awake and not feeling at all kind towards him because he brought this on himself! I mean, WHY would you deliberately put yourself in a situation that has been PROVEN during a cycle to cause a headache! I mean, I know the couch isn't the most comfortable place in the world but now, he's suffered with a headache, I've had like three house of sleep and I'm pissed.

I had to get out of the bed before he got out of the shower because there was no way I could be nice. When he gets one of these headaches, normally I am like Florence Nightingale - I'm getting his pills, I'm making him tea, I help him get comfortable...blah, blah, blah. But I just cannot find it in me to do that this morning when he purposely and SELFISHLY did this to himself.

I guess a career in nursing is out...


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Could it be something in his diet?

jenn said...

I get migraines, as you know, and I don't think I could deal with clusters of them. he has got to be miserable.

That said, I would totally kill Junior if he purposefully woke me up that early, when it could have been avoided. I hope you sleep better tonight.

Frugal Vicki said...

I have to tell you, I tend to get BAD migraines, too. The Excederine Migraine works before hand, but if I take an Advil Migraine as SOON as I get that tingly feeling, they tend to work. I swear, I will have liver failure at some point. There is RARELY a day that I go without at least 3 ibuprofen.