Morning comes, alarm beeping, needles piercing my scalp.
I shut the alarm off, even the act of reaching over my head causing the world to tilt, nausea rocking through me, and I grimace.
I lay there for a few minutes, taking slow, shallow breaths, hoping the vertigo would subside… knowing it would instantly return as soon as I try to sit up… but my body tells me it has to reach the bathroom soon.
In a minute, I tell it silently. Just give me a minute. And I roll gingerly onto my side to prepare myself.
Finally, I catch my courage in a breath, slowly pushing myself to a seated position, head hanging. The dizziness swirls, gorge rises as the thunderous pain in my head pounds. In time with my own heartbeat, it pulses- an evil clock tick-tock, tick…breathe…
My dog, Rosie, hops up from the floor and follows my swaying progress from bedroom to bathroom, nails clicking, sounding to me like a thousand soldiers marching in time behind me.
But I make it to the bathroom without falling down, and do what nature demands.
Wash my hands in cold water, slide their cool wetness over the back of my neck. Temporary relief, at best, it does not last. But I can stand now, and I shuffle, zombie-style, down the hall to let Rosie outside.
Oh, God. Opening the back door…morning sunlight sears my retinas, the pain now a fiery thing that eats at me. But Rosie is now out, & I can close the door again, blessed darkness a balm as I force myself back to the kitchen, and the medication.
Strong pills & cool water slide down my throat, a promise of relief and sleep ahead, but not instant. And I have one more responsibility before I can collapse.
My phone lies on my mattress. I press the buttons to call in to work, wincing when one of my coworkers answers – it’s too loud TOOLOUD. But I pull it away from my head only a little so she can hear me ask for the supervisor.
My tongue feels swollen, thick & stumbling over the simple words. My voice, hoarse & crackling.
“I’m sorry, I won’t make it in today. I have a migraine.”
Finishing the call, I lay the phone back down, rearranging myself on the bed, looking for the coolest spot in the sheets. Knowing relief is waiting 15 more minutes down the line when the drugs kick in…and I will sleep.
And knowing, that the only ones out there who understand the difference between headache & migraine are the ones who’ve been on this same hell’s journey, the gruesome ticking bomb of a clock pounding in their head, the invasion of overstimulation…sight, sound, smell, taste…all overwhelming, all too much, until you have to seek oblivion just for a moment’s rest.
The absence of pain is the miracle we await.
And, as the wave of narcotics rolls over me, I take my first deep breath of the day…roll over, and fade into the cool darkness behind my eyelids.