24 August 2005

Oh, my aching half a head!

Are you a migraine sufferer? No? Lucky you.

I was in my senior year in college when it first struck. How could I describe the feeling of having this? Pounding in my head describes so little. The left side of my head hurt, including my left eye, left ear, and the left portion of the back of my neck. My cheeks go numb, when I move my eyes it hurts, the inside of my ear hurts, and while my head pounds, my neck has that constant pain going on. It was an all-day affair with the migraine that time. After three days of constant pain, a doctor-friend visited us and diagnosed my condition. He said I had migraine, and this would persist for a week or so. It will subside eventually, but expect it to return at around this time every year. He prescribed mefenamic acid for the pain, which helped a bit with the pain. And that was my introduction to the world of migraines and painkillers.

And so every year at around September - October, the pain would return for a week or more, and I would always have painkillers with me for good measure. I had gotten so used to knowing when an attack would arrive (there are symptoms) that I would pop a pill immediately so as to alleviate any further progress of the pain.

The late 90s was a turning point in my painkiller-popping career. Mefenamic acid no longer worked! I took a couple of 500mg tablets. A third. Nothing. That was when a colleague recommended Avamigran. And it worked!

The migraines eventually disappeared and did not surface for a couple of years.

That was until last Sunday, when I had an attack inside the bus going back to Manila. I had no medication on me, and I cannot go anywhere to buy some. The cold airconditioning must have triggered it so I hid under my jacket and tried to sleep it off. It worked. The pain subsided a while later.

I thought it was just a reaction to the cold, but it came back yesterday in the wee hours of the morning (which prompted me to take the morning off as I stayed inside the room. No lights, no TV. And then it came back last night too!

I went to the local drugstore to buy Avamigran. The counter attendant requested for a prescription. Huh? Uh oh. Now, it's a prescription drug? With no other option, I bought mefenamic acid instead. Then when I came back, a friend and fellow sufferer recommended Flanax, and he gave me a couple of tablets. I have not yet tried Flanax because mefenamic acid seemed to work for this bout. But I'm taking comfort in the fact that I have medicine when it attacks again. Anything than banging my head against the wall.
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