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When words won’t go in your brain

I suffer from migraines. I’ve gotten them since I was around 7 years old. There are any number of triggers: changes in barometric pressure, eating MSG, but the most frequent one is hormones. I’ve got one right now, and though I’m not certain, I think it’s probably hormone related.

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I couldn’t do anything with a migraine. I had to go right to bed, preferably in a dark and silent room, banishing everyone else. This was before triptans got big, so I just guzzled Coca Cola, took some Percogesic (which researching it I now see is just Tylenol + Benadryl), and hid for twelve hours or so. After twelve hours of solid sleep, I usually felt like new.

As a college student and young professional, I tried Imitrex and some other triptans. They always came with nasty side effects: actually increasing the migraine-related nausea if I didn’t take them fast enough, giving me a weird lockjaw-type feeling but in my whole body. So I still mostly drank some Coke, took some Excedrin Migraine or Tylenol Arthritis Strength, and went to bed.

As a young teacher with a limited amount of sick leave, I couldn’t just go to bed. I worked through these migraines many times, doing what I essentially called “subbing for myself” – tossing my original lesson plan for something I would have been comfortable giving to a sub, and asking my students to please work in silence, in a somewhat darkened classroom.

As a parent, I can’t just go to bed. But also, my migraines aren’t usually as bad now as they used to be. I usually can get through them okay with just being chill. I don’t usually need to just go to bed and be left alone.

Usually.

I have one today. We’re in Day 2. My sweet child keeps asking me “Mommy, is your headache gone?” and it breaks my heart every time I tell him it’s still here. The first time I told him that, he said, “But I kissed your head!” I had to explain that kisses can ameliorate pain, but only sometimes take it away entirely, and this was not one of those times.

(BUT HOW CUTE IS HE?)

Anyway. All this to say: when I feel this way, words won’t go in.

I’ve been trying to read, because that’s one of the two key activities in my day. (The other being writing.) I’ve been trying to review my own notes. I’ve been trying to refresh my memory of the Dublin Core. I tried to watch a video that explained Dublin Core, and the professor’s words wouldn’t go in my brain through auditory means any easier than the DCMI specification’s words would go in visually.

There’s a very light halo on my vision in the eye where the headache sits.

Words can come out, apparently, though analytic ones won’t.

It’s possible fiction could make it in. I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s frustrating.

I guess that’s all I wanted to say, really. It’s frustrating that migraines make me unable to work with words, when words are most of my work.

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