Last Wednesday evening I caught a flight to San Francisco where I was supposed to meet my Aunt before carpooling to Napa Valley. As the law of the universe would have it, her flight was drastically delayed so we booked a hotel near the airport where I could stay for the night and carpool with her in the morning.
I boarded my flight merrily, flipping through a new book from the library. As the flight attendants demonstrated the usual boarding safety routine my vision started to blur. I read and reread the same sentence on the page of my novel half a dozen times but I couldn’t seem to comprehend what the words in front of me said. I turned on the cabin light…but I still couldn’t seem to make out the letter I’d been reading just minutes prior.
Internally I was panicking. It was just past 7:30 in the evening and I felt like I could nod off at any moment, my vision was blurred and my head was pounding. Paranoid, I was certain I must have been drugged! As soon as I was able I ordered a coffee from the flight attendant and drank it black. I hoped the caffeine would correct my vision but nodded off moments later.
I awoke to find the flight would be landing soon. Of course I was happy I’d slept through most of the flight, I was still groggy, my head was aching terribly and I was still seeing double. The last twenty minutes of the flight made me nauseous, when we landed I dashed to grab a cab to the hotel and hopefully get to sleep. No surprise, the taxi ride was jerky, I grew dizzier and dizzier until we pulled up in front of the hotel. In I stumbled where I checked in and purchased extra strength advil from the hotel gift shop. Only four floors stood between me and a dark hotel room where I could collapse into bed.
I stepped into the elevator followed by two other women who stood on either side of me. The elevator lurched up one floor, it felt as if tiny pieces of my brain were exploding. The elevator lurched up to the second floor and my stomach did cartwheels. The elevator lurched up to the third floor and the world in front of me started spinning. The elevator lurched to a stop at the fourth floor and there was no stopping it, I was throwing up in my hands.
Panicked and humiliated I ran from the elevator straight to a garbage can in the hallway. I continued to bear the contents of my dinner, the coffee from the plane and the bottle of water I’d chugged. Hoping my hotel room was just around the corner I ventured forward. With each step forward the pain in my head grew bigger and stronger, my suit case bumped my heel and I stumbled pathetically. Standing up was too much for my head to handle and once again I found myself throwing up into my hands.
I pulled off my jacket and used it to wipe my hands as I pulled forward. I couldn’t just sit down and continue to be sick in the hallways of the hotel. I was certain anyone who saw me would assume I was drunk and I wasn’t!
When I finally made it to the room I washed my hands, took a few advil and collapsed on the floor. I must have stayed there for ten minutes before climbing into bed. My mind finally felt clear enough to critically examine “what is wrong with me?” and then to google “migraine symptoms”.
It all came together-the blurred vision, the motion sickness, the horrible headache and sensitivity to light. I’d experienced my first migraine! Oh joy!
Luckily, the start of my trip wasn’t prophetic of how the rest of my family time would unfold. I’ve been soaking up the sun in Calistoga with my family ever so happily. Some of the highlights include morning hikes with the dogs, a facial at the spa, a big family barbecue followed by a sleepover with my 8 year old brother and 2 year old sister, taking the family’s exchange student for her first mani-pedi before prom and running in the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco.
I’ve been SO checked out of social media which is totally not the norm for me. I’ll try to check in a little more during the remainder of my trip however family time occasionally trumps blog life.
If you’ve ever had a migraine I want to hear about your experience…how did you handle it? Is there even such a thing as gracefully and glamorously dealing with the pain that feels like your brain is exploding?