When I was a boy, maybe about nine or ten, I remember having a headache that hurt so much that all I could do was to curl up into a ball and cry. The concept of “not crying due to manliness” had not yet really entered into my consciousness, and even had it, it would not have made a difference – I had a lot less tolerance for pain in those days, being younger.
I thought that was an isolated incident, and thankfully for a long time it was. I get headaches like most other people – usually due to not eating, or stress, or some combination thereof. It’s something that’s usually cured with Tylenol and/or sleep, and not really anything to write a blog post about.
I remember having another terrible headache in my twenties, but I don’t remember exactly when, and I’m guessing I blocked it out. That was excruciating, and though “not crying due to manliness” was now an idea(l), if I could have cried to make things better, I would have!
That headache did not compare to the one I had on Monday into Tuesday. I woke up Monday morning (having traveled to Norway from England the night before) with pain in my neck, and it slowly throughout the day radiated up into the back of my head, and then the top-rear of my head.
I didn’t get a chance to eat a proper breakfast on Monday, and had no lunch. By Monday evening, I was shaking and had to wolf down a protein bar before heading out to dinner with work colleagues. The car ride (though short) did not help; I had to get out of the car before it was even parked because I thought I might be sick.
I managed to make it through dinner, eating appetizers and half a cheeseburger, and drinking some iced tea. By the time I got back to my hotel room, my head was throbbing and I was dizzy.
I have a high average pulse (99 beats per minute from the readings I’ve taken so far this year) so 99 times every minute my head would throb in excruciating pain. Adding to the dizziness I began to see purple splotches in my vision, and around 2am on Tuesday morning, I was also sick. Everything that I’d eaten at dinner came back up in the short space of a minute, and I collapsed on the hotel bathroom floor in a ball whimpering. I managed to drag myself into the shower, and the hot water helped a bit, but not enough.
With the water raining down on me and almost all of my energy gone, it was at that point that I understood why people used to have holes drilled in their skulls “to let out the evil spirits”. If someone had promised me relief with a drill, I’d have let them do it… that pain was among the worst I’ve ever experienced.
I managed to get to sleep at around 4am, which was a surprise to me, because I really didn’t think I’d be able to do so. I missed the exercises I was supposed to do for work, and I regret that (especially since that’s why I was in Norway) but I couldn’t have gone. It took all my energy and strength to get me back to England.
I must admit now that I’m gun shy about performing any activity more difficult than typing – I don’t know what caused this migraine and I most certainly don’t want to have another. I’ve gone through the list of activities I performed on the weekend, and nothing was different, so I can’t see why it happened. My Dad used to get them, so there may be a genetic component (in which case I can’t biohack my way out of them until technology improves), but as this is only my third in my life (that I can recall) it seems completely random. If anyone has any ideas, I’d be more than happy to listen so that I can avoid even one repeat in the future!