I’m not sure if I actually remember the first time I had a migraine. I’d always thought the idea of having a headache was weird. It was something that happened to old people (and television wives), but I couldn’t imagine how having your head hurt could be so debilitating. The idea that a simple thumping in the head could cause one to retreat into darkness was curious and weird.
Today, though, I had a day where all I could manage to do is retreat into darkness. You know it’s going to be a bad day when you wake up with a migraine. While Lovely Wife had a mild hangover and decided to make a delicious farm-fresh egg sandwich for breakfast, I stayed in bed, realizing that every time I moved my eyeballs, things hurt.
I was hoping it would go away before I had to put feet on the carpet. Unfortunately, it didn’t. After 2 Excedrin barely made a dent, I realized that this was going to be one of those days. I have to teach, as we have few classes left, so I had no choice but to put on my big boy pants and head off to school. I hoped some ibuprofen, caffeine, and other substances would shake this thing out of me.
Have you ever had a really bad migraine? One of those that just completely makes your ears ring? When mine get bad, my vision goes a little blurry, everything has a weird aura around it, I shy away from brightness like a vampire, and most sounds cut into my head like an icepick. And I was going to a music school.
I’m not sure how many of you have ever played bassoon, but there’s a pretty good amount of back pressure – that is, you can’t get all of the air into the reed at once, so there’s air that’s waiting to get out in your lungs, throat, and mouth. Add that to the pressure required just to form the correct embouchure, and that’s a lot of migraine pain. I went into my bassoon lesson this morning and came out worse for the wear. Between not being able to read the music well and feeling like I was going to pass out every time I played a note above the staff, things weren’t looking good.
And I still had 3 hours of beginner woodwinds to teach.
I resigned myself to the idea that these would be short classes today. I wasn’t going to make the 1:20 length of each class… I would give my lecture, play over the lines they needed for their test, and let them go on their merry way, enjoying the day that mean ol’ Professor let them go a few minutes early.
Well, the lecture bit wasn’t so bad. But even just playing for 15 minutes set off my migraine something fierce. The combination of loudness (it’s not a big room) and raucousness (they’re still learning control) sent waves of pain into my brain. It was trying to escape, and it was so pissed off that my skull wouldn’t open that it was pounding desperately.
I tried to pull myself together for my afternoon class – I made a run at it. It didn’t happen. I crawled home, put an ice pack on my head and under my neck, and turned off the lights. I ran away from the day, because let’s be honest, my brain just wasn’t having it. Not only is Brain kind of an asshole normally, but today, he was a crying toddler.
Wahhh, the lights are too bright. Wahhh, that saxophone is too loud. Wahhh, I don’t want to play bassoon. Wahhh, the planet is full of things that frighten me.
12 hours after I started this day, I’m almost back to being ok. The pounding has subsided, and just a dull pain remains. I had a moment where I thought I’d had some sort of brain hemorrhage and was going to die slowly. Now, I’m just guzzling Coke Zero, hoping the caffeine opens up the blood vessels in my brain.
Hopefully, my brain either cooperates tomorrow, or someone turns the lights down on this planet.