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April 13, 2004

Posted by Teresa at 05:12 AM *

Oh god my head somebody please just shoot me now.

Comments on Ow:
#1 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 05:46 AM:

"He doesn't have to shoot you now. He can wait until he gets home."


#2 ::: plover ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 05:59 AM:

Well, I say he does have to shoot me now.
So shoot me now!

.... not again ....

#3 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 06:50 AM:

I believe Teresa has a hangover... oh, sorry, wrong thread....

#4 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 08:09 AM:

Would you settle for being shot with a tranq-dart instead of anything lethal?

#5 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 08:55 AM:

Not a hangover, a migraine. Which appears to have commenced in the small hours of the morning, waking her from sleep.

#6 ::: Nomie ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:05 AM:

Oh, dear lord. Migraines are the worst. My sympathies.

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:05 AM:

tranq dart good idea

#8 ::: colleen @ del rey ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:10 AM:

Teresa --

Hope you're feeling better. I get migraines a lot and find that the Imitrex one-shot inhalers work fastest for me. Have you tried them?

#9 ::: DaveHD ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:15 AM:

Sympathies. I always have to fight off the desire to drill through my skull with a 1/2 bit to let the pain drain away. Though, I'm told there are some unfortunate side-effects with this method.

#10 ::: Elizabeth Bear ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:23 AM:

ow. ow. ow. ow.

I've dodged the migraine bullet myself so far, but my mom gets them. You have my profoundest sympathies.

If I had tranq darts, I'd be mailing them express.

#11 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:31 AM:

Oh, Teresa, I'm sorry. Dark room, lie down. Things be better.

And I sent you lemons...

#12 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:50 AM:

Ahi ahi ahi ahi. As one migraine sufferer to another: ouch. I had a small one Easter Sunday at my parent's house, and lay there in agony thinking with helpless sorrow of my codeine+paracetamol at home... and only found out once I'd recovered that I had actually three dissolving tablets of the stuff in my toiletries bag.

Isn't it wonderful when it passes, though?

#13 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:53 AM:

Oh, you poor creature. Hope something works.
Head soothing thoughts

#14 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:18 AM:

Many, many, many healing thoughts to you.

I am also one of the lucky ones who does not get them, but I will never forget one brutally cold February midnight in Minneapolis when a friend called me to take her to the emergency room for a migraine.

She was new to town, so having suffered each icy bump and rut in my little tin-can of a car on the way to the hospital, the doctors refused to believe she wasn't just some junkie faking it for heavy drugs.

So, my profound sympathies to you and to Patrick, because though I don't know what the migraine itself is like, I do know how awful it is to be helpless in the face of a loved one's pain.

#15 ::: PZ Myers ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:24 AM:

I've never had one, and nobody in my family did, either. Migraine? Just a headache. Go take an aspirin and stop complaining.

But then my daughter started getting them this past year. The first time we rushed her into the emergency room for an MRI. My empathy level has now shot up sky high -- the association I now have with migraines is a little girl I care a lot about lying curled up in the dark in her room, crying.

This is a long way of saying you have my sincerest sympathies. I say "Ow," too.

#16 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:30 AM:

Only birth and kidney stones are worse, I understand. My sympathies.

#17 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:33 AM:

When I get a migrainey headache I put cold packs on my forehead and on the back of my neck, and lie down in the dark trying not to move so my head doesn't throb. It seems to help.

#18 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:40 AM:

Ow. I occasionally get fairly mild ones, and even those have made me resort to tying a scarf around my eyes because the room just could not be made dark enough.

Feel better soon.

(Anyone else who has mild migraines, OTC Excedrin Migraine is great stuff: 50-50 asprin & acetaminophen, with a shot of caffeine. I swear I can feel the blood vessels coming back down to their normal size. I'm still dopey and out of it, but I can move my head.)

#19 ::: Ronit ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:47 AM:

Ouch, ouch, ouch. I hope the pain passes soon.

(Let me don my tin foil hat to note that the Guardian has a new article on the looting of Iraqi museums, possibly posted online just as Teresa was rendered incapable of commenting on it. Coincidence? Conspiracy? You decide.)

#20 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:53 AM:

I'm so sorry. I hope you feel better soon.

#21 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:03 AM:

Recent exposure to Mr. Ford's :The Heat of Fusion: and my own memories of migraines, full of the smell of burning blood (why, no, my doctor said, the hallucinations can be for any sense) leave me hoping it shall not seem as good to you as it did to Zeus to have your head smacked on an anvil, to let all your rationality loose on the world, its own distinct divinity.

I hope the pain pass from you soon, out of your peaceful darkness into some other past returning.

#22 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:05 AM:

The worst part of migraines (aside from the head-splitting pains, of course), for me, are the swirlies. Visual artifacts that make it more or less impossible to read, and sometimes even to drive.


You have my total sympathies.

#23 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:13 AM:

Time for you to work out what it is you believe that led to this punishment.

Anyway, the best non-prescription solution I've found to my own para-migraine is an NSAID (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) followed an hour or so later with acetaminophen.

Butalbital seems to be the really popular prescription -- fiorinal is the straight-up brand, fioricet is butalbital plus acetaminophen.

Probably all familiar to you, but in case any of it's news, there it is.

#24 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:13 AM:

Oh, a migraine. I beg your pardon.

You can shoot me instead, Teresa, if it'll help you feel better.

#25 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:15 AM:

Time for you to work out what it is you believe that led to this punishment.

Anyway, the best non-prescription solution I've found to my own para-migraine is an NSAID (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) followed an hour or so later with acetaminophen.

Butalbital seems to be the really popular prescription -- fiorinal is the straight-up brand, fioricet is butalbital plus acetaminophen.

Probably all familiar to you, but in case any of it's news, there it is.

#26 ::: Castiron ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:16 AM:

Extreme sympathies and quiet dark room wishes.

#27 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:18 AM:

NO! NO! Don't shoot her! Give her drugs, a dark room even, but don't shoot her before she has a chance to read and accept a novel from me.

Get well, Teresa.

#28 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:22 AM:

I've only had three, but that's what they definitely were -- and all of them were associated with rain at night on a nearby body of water (much heavier rain, and always in heat -- either summer or FL).

I can sympathize, though, but can't IMAGINE how you were able to type those few lines.

#29 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:26 AM:

Selfishly thinking only of my own interests - may I suggest speaking of a whack with a bowling ball - bowling can stand the bad publicity.

#30 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:29 AM:

Horrible things, migraines. I can tell I'm getting one from the circle of flickers in one eye. I find it very painful to watch the opening shot of Chicago, where the camera pulls into Roxie's eye as it fades into the flickering neon C in the Chicago sign -- ouch! Looks just like the "flickers".

I find three extra-strength ibuprofen at the first sign of the "flickers" takes care of it within 20 minutes. If I get the pain under control, the worst thing is being completely unable to read while it's going on.

So do you keep a diary so you can try to figure out your triggers? A doctor told me to do this, but the only unifying factor I have found is stress, in particular stressing over a situation in which I am powerless.

#31 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:34 AM:

My symnpathies -- these days I am quite fortunate and get migranes about once a year.

I'llo be offering prayers to Ss. Teresa of Avila and Ubaldus Baldassini for quick relief . . .

#32 ::: Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:44 AM:

Fiorinal is truly the gift of the Divine, for dealing with migraines. If that's not available, ice packs and a completely darkened room help--not much, but they do help.

I have painfully learned over the years that hitting the very first twinge of a headache with 1,000 milligrams of aspirin can head off a migraine. But if you wait until you're really sure it's an oncoming migraine, or are unfortunate enough to be awakened by an already-established migraine, it's too late, and aspirin is useless, in any amounts low enough that you'll still have a digestive track left afterwards. It's time for serious drugs, of the kind doctors are reluctant to prescribe unless they have personal knowledge of what migraines feel like.

#33 ::: Jonquil ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 12:16 PM:

Fiorinal is good, but the -triptans (Axert, Maxalt, Imitrex) are better. The only catch is that the one I take is $25.00 a pill without insurance.

But ow, ow, ow, and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

#34 ::: sean bosker ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 12:21 PM:

I get migraines too. The only thing that works for me is if I take 1,000 miligrams of ibuprofun (five tablets) and a tums to head off the horror that they do to my stomach. Then I lie in the dark and pray that I don't puke before the magic pills do their work.

#35 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 12:21 PM:
Janet Brennan Croft wrote:
I find it very painful to watch the opening shot of Chicago...
Yeah, me too...I think it's a warning sign of the much greater pain that is soon to come.
#36 ::: Ted ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 12:27 PM:

No, you may not get shot right now. I was here first, and signed on the waiting list like everyone else. ;)

Seriously, hope the migraines pass soon. Family gets them, a lot, so I have some notion...

#37 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 12:46 PM:

Ow. I can feel it from here in Hoboken.

I'm amazed that you're even as verbal as you are; "trank dart good idea" is too coherent for me in migraine state.

But I hope you're not reading this now. I hope you're lying down in the dark, sipping water if possible, pumped full of whatever pain killers you have.

The one I got in 2001 got me a ride to the hospital in an ambulance. When it subsided to the "worst headache you've ever had" level, they sent me home. I drank a lot of water, avoided stress, and tried not to breathe exhaust fumes (no, that was part of the trigger, not a suicide attempt); the residual headache was gone a few days later.

Subsequent migraines have vanished without a trace in mere hours. The complete aphasia was the worst in those; I came to choir practice the next week and knew the music for the new piece, but not the words.

Get better. Ya Shafee, Ya Chafee.

#38 ::: Sandra McDonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 01:47 PM:

I use hot packs, not cold ones. 1000 mg of Tylenol at the first warning sign. Dark room, long nap. Luckily the longest mine last are usually about 12 hours, but there's always the post-migraine hangover the next day.

Feel better soon, Teresa.

#39 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 01:56 PM:

Yikes! May the pain flee before the exorcism of well-wishing.

Am not a migraine-sufferer, but I do get fairly bad non-migraine headaches.

#40 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 02:38 PM:

Having suffered my first migraine on Dec.31st, you have my deepest sympathies. I hope you have some strong medication and a nice quiet, dark place to rest. Hopefully, it will be gone soon.

#41 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 02:44 PM:

Maybe try soaking in a bathtub full of water with rosemary in it in a dark room, and picture the pain going into the water. Light a candle if you can stand it. It feels sort of like throwing up, which is one of my least favorite experiences, slightly behind migraines, but it does work.

I always feel as if the migraine is holding on to the base of my brain, and if I can make it let go, I can handle the rest.

My doctor's into imaging, can you tell?

#42 ::: Martin ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 02:53 PM:

maybe this page will distract you a bit. ;)

#43 ::: ralph ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 03:04 PM:

I hope your migraines aren't as bad as my wife's. She had one on Easter Sunday that forced us to leave her parents' house early. She didn't have her meds with her, unfortunately. If she catches it early enough, Imitrex injectible works wonders in stopping it, but once it's reached a certain point, nothing helps, which was the case on Sunday. I just try to be there to comfort her when she's throwing up (something that I never read about with other migraine sufferers, so I guess hers are particularly bad, which is why I say that I hope yours isn't that bad....)

Which is by way of saying that I hope this passes soon.

#44 ::: Edd ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 03:08 PM:

Ow. I understand, having had my first one last year. Am in no rush to repeat the experience.

Amy gets them often, and swears by Imitrex, which she must use early enough or it's no good. Thrusting hands into water as hot as you can stand can help.

Get better!


#45 ::: Arwen ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 03:09 PM:

Teresa, are you at the office today? If so, and you're going to be there between 5-5:30, I could bring you some acetaminophen with codeine, if that's something that could help. I happen to have a bottle of it here, and I need to be kind of near there at 5:30, so I could stop on by. Let me know!

#46 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 03:11 PM:


You have my empathy and sympathy. I hope things are better by now.


In recent years I also developed throwing up as a side effect of migraines. So your wife isn't the only one. And like Teresa, I also get the "wake up in the middle of the night sure it's an aneurism and I'm going to die" migraine.

Luckily, I only get migraines every year and a half or so (knock on wood).

#47 ::: God ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 03:12 PM:

Is now a better time to talk about your religious faith?

#48 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 03:21 PM:

Have you read Oliver Sacks's Migraine? Half of it made me feel less alone, and the other half made me profoundly grateful not to be those other sufferers with even worse symptoms than mine.

#49 ::: silversmoke ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 03:51 PM:

My mother felt the need to pass her migraines down to me. I get the swirlies, and sometimes I get SFX, just because the pain isn't enough punishment. Mom loses her vision every now and then. We both have hit or miss luck with the pills, but have some good luck with hot baths.

The trick, we've found, is to fill the bath with super hot water, then sit on the edge and soak the feet and calves for about 5-10 minutes. The blood starts pumping in the lower extremities, and as a result, not so much is flowing to the head. Then, get all the way in the tub, and blood flow speeds up everywhere, and (hopefully) starts to break up the blood clots near the brain.

It's a quick fix only, and the pain starts to come back full force in about an hour. But it usually dulls the pain long enough to fall asleep, or for pills to kick in, or (I swear it only happened once) to get me through a job interview.

I hope you feel better soon.

#50 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 04:06 PM:

How often do you get these, T? There's some unlikely massage work that may help prevent recurrences (according to the guy who developed the technique, involving visceral massage) that we should probably talk about....

#51 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 04:51 PM:

My sympathies.

I have had a couple of headaches, which might have been migraines, twenty-plus years later I can still recall (as best one can) the pain, agonies, and unrelenting misery of the first/worst one (lasted for about 20 hours). From what I hear it was milder than some/many.

Maia gets headaches, so does her mother. Tehy find that Maxalt, usually, works, but they have to jump on it as soon as they think the headache is going to be worse than just a run of the mill annoyance.

When it works they swear by it, when it doesn't they just swear. Some of the most miserable times I've had of late were when the pills didn't work.


#52 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 04:54 PM:

silversmoke: that's interesting, because I once *gave* myself a migraine by washing a lot of dishes on a summer day without air conditioning. Obviously the feet are further from the head than the hands, but I'd still personally be wary of raising my body temperature at all, nevermind getting in the tub completely.

Though if you have blood _clots_ with your migraines you have much, much bigger problems than I ever did.

#53 ::: Martin ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 05:14 PM:

hi, it's me again. i apologize for that offline post - now i feel bad and want to fix it somehow. many years ago i had almost everyday migraine. after years of dealing somehow with them, i found one thing really helped almost every time (better if someone with strong hands performes it on you): take both thumbs and push them very hard against that place right where your scull comes together with your neck. pushit hard untill you almost can't stand and hold for, like, 10 seconds. then slowly release pressure. wait for another 5-7 secs and then apply pressure again. repeat 4 times. then take a break for 30 seconds and repeat again. all together you have to do it 16 times.
i hope it helps. best wishes to you and your readers.

#54 ::: mick ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 05:25 PM:

migraine has no relationship to bloodclots. the pain is a "rebound" effect after the initial insult of arterioles clamping down - contracting - for one reason or another.. there are myriads of triggers.

getting very warm and dark is good advice. not laying down, completely,helps many as well.

the imitrex works for some; worsens the pain for others; strategies vary, as people respond/react so differently. i'm an RN from a family of people whose bodies know how to do migraine. every single one of us has a different "best plan". i am successful at warding off the pain 90% of the time by taking a particular NSAID (ibuprofren) when the prodromal symptoms appear. i still get the lightshow and the nausea, but the pain is negligable when i'm successful

be well, good lady.


#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 05:31 PM:

My neurologist says also that just about any neurological symptom can result from a migraine, depending on which blood vessels are affected. So some people get visual hallucinations (the "light show"), and others get aphasia; still others, who knows: auditory hallucinations, or even seizures.

It's damn scary.

#56 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 05:54 PM:

Hm, actually, there's evidence that at least some migraines are purely neurological in origin (cockups in the hindbrain's sense filtering or something). There was an article in a recent SciAm, I think.

(PZ Myers doubtless has the original article, seeing as how he seems to manage to read every single article published in every biological journal in the world almost before it's printed... :) )

#57 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 06:14 PM:

Teresa, I hope you feel better soon. I was lucky, I only had migraines for two years and they went away when I left that job.

#58 ::: silversmoke ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 06:15 PM:

Kate: I too, get them when it's very hot. I've just found the bath helps (me) after the initial onset. Everyone has their own tricks though, so it won't work for everyone.

CLOGS!! Not clots. Sorry about that... usually I'm better at catching typos! It's not really a clog, it's just blood vessels contracting, not anything in the way, but that's how I usually describe migraines to people that don't get them. It's just not as much blood getting through all of a sudden, and then all sorts of chemicals being released because my body hates me.

#59 ::: Barbara Brugger ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 07:20 PM:

Ow. Soothing restful thoughts of no pain Real Soon Now wing their silent way to you.

My last migraine lasted for several days and finally got so bad I walked the two blocks to the ER to somewhat incoherently request they either medicate or kill me. They were horrifed I'd walked until I explained the dial tone on the phone was too loud for me to hold the handset long enough to call for a ride.

After a very nice doctor ('My mother had migraines, they're terrible.') shot me full of something they had a nurse drive me home. I slept like a dead thing.

Barbara, gets one or two migraines a year, and would do a self-decaptitation on Day 2 if handed a sharp enough instrument.

#60 ::: Gretchen ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 08:17 PM:

My sympathies! I've had them since I was a teen but they got significantly worse when I got sick a few years ago. I've coaxed them back into a few-times-a-year kind of thing from a year of hot and cold running migraines; one blearily memorable one that year lasted at least a week.

Weirdly, I kind of like the visual aura; it's interesting looking and if nothing else it's fair warning of the onslaught to come. I get photosensitive as well, and that's an excellent warning sign.

My particular regime:

Daily I take Gastrodia elata or Armillariella mella, the former in a concoction I get from my Chinese herbalist, and the latter I buy at vitamin shops as Tian Ma Mi Huan Su. It's the proven preventative for me; if I go off it the migraines return after a few days. I am so very grateful to have it, though if it hadn't worked, there are certainly a great many more choices now than when I was a teen, and I would have started trying them.

If one does strike (after fasting blood tests is a typical time now) then the following can mitigate it: a quart of electrolyte replacement drink of choice; I use a froofy no-corn-syrup kind. Lacking that, I mix salt and sugar together and lick it, and wash it down with lots and lots of water. If the salt/sugar mixture doesn't taste horrid, then it's helpful. Excedrin can be helpful if I catch it early enough. So can aspirin and any caffeine source, even strong tea. Have a lot of water in addition to caffeine. Acupuncture is helpful, as is acupressure.

I have a cousin who uses feverfew and B vitamins, daily, as a preventative. I haven't tried this myself because I loves me the gastrodia.

I have a friend who submerges herself face-down in an Epsom salt bath. She even uses a snorkel!

I know I lurk here, but if *anything* helps a migraine sufferer....

#61 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:17 PM:

Doesn't caffeine constrict blood vessels? If a migraine _is_ constricted blood vessels, then I'm confused how the caffeine in Excedrin Migraine helps. Is it something about helping the painkillers work?

(I know my blood vessels are very unhappy when I have migraines, but I couldn't tell you in what way, if they're throbbing because they're too big or not big enough.)

#62 ::: MDČ ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 09:44 PM:

Another tiny bit of advice: I also have very long andviolent migraines that goes on for hours till the pain gets me throwing up. Now one thing I observed is: the pain always subside in the 15/30 minutes after the throw up, and flashing lights increase the pain. The only good solution I found was the to use flashes to increase the pain till I throw up. That way I'm fonctional again in almost an hour instead of more than height.
Hope it might be of help to some. And may you feel better soon.

#63 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:08 PM:

(Anyone else who has mild migraines, OTC Excedrin Migraine is great stuff: 50-50 asprin & acetaminophen, with a shot of caffeine. I swear I can feel the blood vessels coming back down to their normal size. I'm still dopey and out of it, but I can move my head.)

It's perhaps worth noting that this product is also marketed under the name "Excedrin."

That's right. "Excedrin Migraine" and "Excedrin" are exectly the same thing. Fortunately for the sake of the immortal souls of the marketing department responsible for this, they are not charging consumers extra for having the word "Migraine" printed on the packaging.

Anyway, the good news here is that if you need any, and the drug store is all out of one, you can simply buy the other.

#64 ::: Stephanie Zvan ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:13 PM:

I was so hoping you'd be back up and running by the time I got to the end of the comments. For what it's worth, may you be having that peaceful (insensate) nap that so often follows one of these.

Be well soon.

#65 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:16 PM:

You just watched the press conference?

#66 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:22 PM:

Doesn't caffeine constrict blood vessels? If a migraine _is_ constricted blood vessels, then I'm confused how the caffeine in Excedrin Migraine helps. Is it something about helping the painkillers work?

Using my super power of wild-ass speculation...

Stimulants do cause capilary vasoconstriction; that's one reason why the novacaine which your dentist shoots your gums up with contains adrenaline -- to squeeze shut the capilaries in your gums, so that the drugs will stay put around the nerves longer (for that matter, novacaine itself may well be a stimulant; after all, cocaine is). But when stimulants are distributed globally, rather than locally...? Maybe the presence of stimulants all over the place puts your body in "fight or flight" mode, shunting more blood to the brain?

#67 ::: KTM ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 10:31 PM:

I'm squinting in sympathy.

Frequent and painful experience has shown me that my migraines are triggered, usually, by an overdose of chocolate. The proximity of Easter prompts me to wonder if yours are similar.

The good news is, for me at least, that whilst dark chocolate of any kind will trigger an immediate and excruciating migraine, I have a tolerance level of milk chocolate and I can eat white chocoloate until the it comes out my ears with no ill effects (ooh, bad image!).

Better news is that the really good stuff, the Lindt/Godiva/Valrhona type chocolate (milk at least) does not seem to cause migraines at all. So I can scoff as much of that as I can reasonably afford. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

The moral is, if chocolate is a trigger you might be safer with the good stuff.

#68 ::: Thel ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:03 PM:

Best sympathies to you.

My mom had migraines once or twice each year while I was growing up. I've just had two (so far?), late last year. The weird thing my brain did to me both times was zoom in on scents. The merest whiff of any smell was wildly exaggerated by my brain, enough so that I found I could smell my own skin, and it nauseated me. And it was kind of hard to get away from that scent, what with my upper lip sitting inconveniently just under my nose... It was bizarre.

More calm, cool healing thoughts for you.

#69 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:03 PM:

Many sympathies. While working long ago for an animal health vaccine-maker I started having migraines, about 2 years after starting working there They were bad because I lost good vision fairly fast, and I worked nearly 20 miles from home (a common occurrance in KC, MO) so if i felt as if one was coming on, I had to pelt home or Jim had to ask someone to come and get me (we only had one car for a while at the time).

My doctor was all over, "well, you've started getting them, you just need to figure out how to survive them." Which I felt was bogus. Well, a couple of years later and about 20 migraines later, I quit the job. Other factors to quitting were involved but the migraines vanished. I had failed to appreciate how much we were actually exposed to various chemicals from the processes involving the manufacturing process, and I could just about match the headaches wiith a couple of bacterin inactivating processes. Which involved formaldehyde, which gives me hives when I have skin contact.

Shortly before I left, we all found out we were positive to a virus we produced a vaccine for, BVD, which fortunately is not a problem for anything except a cow. Or maybe a sheep.

I have had zero migraines since I quit that job.

So there you go. But it's not much help for those whose migraines are not chemical-related.

Again, my deepest sympathy. Gentle hugs across the e-ways.

#70 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2004, 11:28 PM:

Until I saw the timestamp, I just thought you were watching tonight's press conference. My condolences.

#71 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 12:54 AM:

I can't wax eloquent on suggestions for relief or the like, having never suffered migraines myself nor heard the regimes of those of my friends who suffer them (usually a conversation with a migraine sufferer is a very quick phone call cancelling plans and sounding like the words themselves hurt on their part, and understanding and wishing them better health on mine).

I wish you better health, and any comforts that will help you on the way.

#72 ::: wink ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 01:28 AM:


If the headache woke you from sleep, you may be suffering from cluster headaches, not migraine headaches.

You may want to check out this comparison chart.

That being said, I hope that you are "merely" suffering from migraines, and not clusters. Feel better.

#73 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 01:46 AM:

Thanks, all. I'm feeling more survival-positive now, thanks in part to some extra-good acetaminophen (paracetamol) we picked up on our way home from the last worldcon.

I'm truly sorry so many of you know what I'm talking about. Aren't they awful? This one came with the loudest and least melodious ringing in my ears I've ever had. Otherwise it was standard: reduced visual processing, slow thinking, confusion, nausea, pain.

I've never been able to pinpoint what triggers them. My neurology and general chemistry tend to be off norm anyway. The other problem is that the early symptoms -- severe spaciness, mostly -- aren't completely unlike some narcolepsy symptoms, and anyway I'm not at my most analytical when I'm severely spacy. If I notice the migraine in time, the specific for me is as much caffeine as I can pour down my throat. That can head it off entirely, if I do it early enough. If I don't catch it early, vats of coffee still help, but they won't make it go away.

One of the wonderful things about Patrick is that if he's awakened in the middle of the night by me begging him to go make coffee, and please don't shake the bed or turn on the overhead light on his way there, he understands. He also goes and makes coffee. Thank goodness it doesn't happen very often.

Ice doesn't help. I've tried the hand-pinching thing, but it doesn't do the trick either. That's a real pity. It would be nice to have something that weird and direct that worked. I entirely comprehend DaveHD's idea about the drill bit, down to his knowing the exact bit size needed.

Mad, do you remember the opening scene in Shakespeare in Love with Philip Henslowe? That's me and Production just now. I had a deadline. This was not a day to be incapacitated. I was working on stuff as soon as I could sit up and see straight. It was all painfully and ridiculously slow, and I suspect I made some weird errors, but I think I got my stuff in. Or I'm completely deluded and had no deadlines, or had deadlines but not the ones I thought, or had the deadlines I thought I did but have hallucinated working on them and instead spent the day in bed. Or something else entirely.

I've been wondering whether any of the animal species get migraines. They've got complex nervous systems. I can't see why we should be the only ones who get them. Maybe that's why grizzly bears have such uncertain temperaments. Maybe Tasmanian devils have a species-wide neurochemical pathology that turns them into the miserable sods they are. Maybe river otters have something going for them that we ought to be trying to duplicate.

Anna, I've done exactly the same thing. You can't think straight when you're having a migraine. I'll be glad when this one is gone. I'm staving a lot of it off with that nice Canadian acetaminophen, but I'm still slow and floaty, and my ears are still ringing.

BSD, we had a major pressure system move through. It might have contributed.

Or I think we had a major pressure system move through. Somebody want to check me on this? Heavy rain, thunder, lightning, right?

Aphasia, Christopher? Good grief. You get the real killers. I've only wound up in the ER that way once, when it took me way too long to recognize what was happening. I have vague memories of Patrick and a couple of friends finding me curled up on the floor underneath my desk. I don't know what I would have done if someone had decided it was just drug-seeking behavior. Instead they injected me with something -- I only remember that it started with a "D" -- and shortly after that things got Much, Much Better.

Tom, I don't get them often. I used to get them much oftener, but Singer did something-or-other to them back when he was using me as a practice dummy, right after he got certified as a hypnotherapist.

Mick, thanks for the great good sense. I've noticed that people with migraines tend to swear by some particular warding-off regimen they've worked out. A couple of migraine sufferers have told me that my own preferred method, drinking coffee by the pint mug, would more or less make their heads explode. I suspect that all or most of us fine-tune our nervous systems to an underappreciated degree.

I keep meaning to type this and forgetting it between the screen and the keyboard, but Graydon, how was it that you recognized that hallucinatory smell as burnt blood? And Kate and Silversmoke, migraines and hot weather both suck. I sincerely pity you for having them coincide.

MDČ, if you can bring yourself to increase the pain in order to trigger the nausea phase, you have more fortitude than I can even imagine having.

Paula, it sounds like that former employer of yours should have been reported to OSHA and other pertinent agencies. That's bad stuff.

I'm getting very tired and it's taken me hours to read and write this much, so back to bed, and hoping for a much better day tomorrow ...

#74 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 02:23 AM:

Teresa --

I expect that people of delicate disposition aren't going to want to read this answer, but it's actually very simple.

When I was sixteen, I was on a military SCUBA course. I was also getting quite heroic nosebleeds -- it's a minor congenital defect with the routing of an arteriole; Dad had to have his nose operated on to get his similar nosebleeds to stop. On the plus side, there's a high blood pressure safety valve built right in -- which caused the folks running the course to conclude that I was at risk of drowning in my own blood in a diving mask, and that this was Right Out.

So two things happened; I got shifted to a Rifle Coach course, and I had my nose cauterized, courtesy of Her Majesty's Servants.

Downsides of nose cauterization include having silver nitrate stuffed up one's nose, having about eight yards of gauze stuffed up one's nose, the unspeakably slimy condition of the gauze stuffed up the non-cauterized nostril when, three days later, one is permitted to remove it, and the astonishing resemblance to the sensation of pulling off about a hundred tiny bandaids at a mandatory slow rate when the gauze comes out of one's cauterized nostril.

Oh, and the reactions of passerby when one is wandering around with a big tape X over the middle of one's face, which is holding on the pressure dressing in which one's nose is embedded.

So, anyway, I spent three days where all I could smell was my own charred blood. It leaves a vivid and lasting impression, especially given the close connection between the senses of smell and taste.

I remember what vapourized blood, the brief initial steam phase of the cautery, smells like, too, but haven't encountered it again; my hindbrain and the migraine between them seem to have decided that the actually burnt version, which would get me out of bed and staggering around the apartment looking for what might be on fire, constituted the greater artistry.

#75 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 05:45 AM:

There's an acupressure spot under the arch of your eyebrows - it's a ridge that feels as if it's coming up from the inside corner of your eye - that really seems to help, although it's nauseous-painful when you first do it. Press up and in with a finger. There's another good one inside the loops of a lowercase m where your skull and spine meet, one about an inch below your ears at the back of your jaw, and one about an inch and a half back from the outer corner of your eye on top of your cheekbone.

They work best if you can do them when the synesthesia starts, before the main wave hits. (Mine is mostly flashes of light, although sometimes there's a faint smell of roses).

#76 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 06:24 AM:

Oh T--fellowfeel. No migraines here, but antibiotic-induced nausea. I send waves of good wishes.


#77 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 07:53 AM:

My deepest sympathy to you and Patrick. My youngest daughter started getting migraines when she was 4 (Lyme disease). Her pain and my power inability to help her were both horrible. She was unable to verbalize anything more than that she didn't feel well before she collapsed each time. We were able to pinpoint her main trigger as low blood sugar and we keep her well snacked.


#78 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 08:56 AM:

We certainly did, and I suspect that had it been nearer summer, and I within hearing distance of a body of water, I would have spent the night in fear, or with ears muffled -- the fear of those horrible, horrible nights is enough that I can no longer stay at my mother's house when there is even a chance of rain.

#79 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 09:02 AM:

Glad you seem to be feeling better by now, but in the expectation that you'll probably have a migraine again someday, I've got a home remedy you might want to try.

Hot peppers.

They can be in pretty much any form--a vindaloo curry, hot and sour soup, gumbo, salsa, a fresh habanero, or anything else that comes to hand. I once stopped a migraine stages by eating several tablespoons of fairly elderly ground cayenne pepper, but I don't recommend that one (yuck!).

I first encountered this cure on a local health radio show that's interested in home remedies (one of the hosts is a medical anthropologist), and I like hot food, so the next time I got a migraine I gave it a try. And about 10 minutes later I felt fine.

I can make some plausible arguments about why this should work (mostly involving vasodilation), but I don't know how it will interact with your body chemistry.

And if you dislike hot foods, this might conceivably be worse than the condition even if it does work. The food does seem to need to be hot enough to get a good flush going, and I know people who would be in agony at that point.

Oh, and I'd be careful about trying this if you typically have vomiting as a side-effect--both because hot peppers on an empty stomach can be a bit unsettling, and because throwing them up again is, um, particularly painful.

I hope it helps! I've been lurking here for a while, but usually someone else says whatever I wanted to, only better, and first.

#80 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 10:09 AM:

Ray wrote: That's right. "Excedrin Migraine" and "Excedrin" are exectly the same thing.

Good grief, you're right. Their own web site confirms it.

That's definitely good to know. Thanks!

TNH, the hot weather (plus having my hands in hot water for a long time) was cause, not coincidence, so I won't be doing *that* again.

I'm very glad to hear that you're doing somewhat better, and hope you got some rest overnight.

#81 ::: Kylee Peterson ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 10:35 AM:

Teresa, so glad you're feeling better. Mine don't usually get really painful, but every once in a while they're that bad. I hate to hear about anyone being that miserable.

Graydon, thank you so much for posting about olfactory hallucinations! I've had those, and never managed to figure out what could be causing them. My doctor hadn't given me a migraine diagnosis at that point, so who knew it could have to do with the sparks I kept seeing?

#82 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 11:24 AM:

Teresa, I'm so glad you're better. The aphasia doesn't come in the same migraines as the pain/vomiting/collapse, fortunately. So far.

Graydon: Ick. Icque. Ykk. My nose surgery was done under general, praise be to Aeskulapios.

#83 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 11:38 AM:

My mother's drug of choice is Syndol, in the UK formulation - it turned out that the Australian formulation leaves out one of the ingredients and isn't nearly as effective.

Ingredients list from a UK online pharmacy:

Each Syndol tablet contains Paracetamol BP 450mg, Codeine Phosphate BP 10mg, Doxylamine Succinate NF 5mg and Caffeine BP 30mg as the active ingredients

The codeine means that US residents won't be able to import it easily, which is a pity because it's very effective as a "nip in the bud" treatment for some migraine sufferers.

#84 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 12:15 PM:

I have a real true blue visual symptoms migraine about once a year, but last year I started having clusters - migraines every day, not terribly strong but certainly not fun - and after a while I worked out what was causing them. Stress. That was not too surprising, but the surprising thing was that when I started doubling my workload, but did at least part of it outside the house with other people and a great sense of accomplishment, the migraine faded.

Of course, it's one thing to know that stress is bad for you, and another to be able to do anything about it. Last year I had post-deadline migraines - instead of being able to relax I curled up in bed and whimpered, and this stopped me unwinding. Then the next deadline would come up...

#85 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 12:59 PM:

Teresa, I would FTP you some codeine but alas the MIME type for that has not been invented. (Also, with any luck, your migraine is long since gone by now.)

I get stress-release triggered migraines. I work in a job with lots of end-of-the-month deadlines. Guess what happens early in every month?

My doctor is currently trying me on new therapy to cut down on the frequency, but, heh, two weeks into it I got a migraine anyhow... (I'm giving it another shot; that may not have been long enough).

Anyhow. They are terrible. I highly, highly sympathize. But no shooting. I mean, what if you went to your eternal reward with a permanent migraine?

#86 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 01:01 PM:

By the by: caffeine, though a stimulant, is a vasodilator. It's why OTC migraine meds sometimes include it, as well as it being included in certain prescription formulae.

It can also, alas, act as a vasoconstrictor, which is why it doesn't help everyone.

#87 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 01:09 PM:

Tina: there are no migraines in Heaven. To believe otherwise is foul heresy.

In fact, if migraines were among the torments of Hell, the pitchforks and lakes o' fire could be discarded. Even Tantalus would prefer his present punishment to unending migraine.

#88 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 02:00 PM:

Migraines, yuck. Until about 4 or 5 years ago I'd only had 3 in my entire life. And every single one of them was immediately after a period of intense stress. Apparently when the stress lets up is when the blood flow goes wonky. Then I started getting them when I began looking into and practicing energy work. (Yeah, I lived in northern California -- get over it.) (It was also perimenopause time though, so who knows.) However, I discovered I could also deflect them doing energy work on the temple of the approprate side. I always get the vision disturbances first and they happen always for migraines and only for migraines and are impossible to miss so I always know. Of course skipping the migraine means going straight to migraine hangover but hey. (If you want to try, focus your energy over the throbbing, or to be throbbing, area and use whatever visualization technique works for you. I imagine the energy flowing through the area and carrying the pain away. Sort of.) Other than that the only thing that works is going to sleep. Usually after throwing up.


#89 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 03:22 PM:

My greatest sympathy and glad you're feeling better. I started having migraines years ago, about 2 years after I started working for an animal health vaccine manufacturer. Went to the doctor because the visual effects were frightening, as was the feeling of unbearable pressure. "Great,' Doctor said, 'you'll be having these for the rest of your life!" Beotch. She didn't try to analyze, she suggested i figure out what worked for me to mitigate them and at the time there wasn't much available in the way of drugs (we tried, this was over 15 years ago) for migraines which didn't make me sicker than the headache.

HOWEVER, the upside is that I think I had one more soon after I quit that job, and never again. I asked a different doctor (my current doctor) if allergies can cause migraines. He said 'sure can." I guess there was enough chemical exposure at that animal health job (they use things like formalin to deactivate bacteria and viruses and I know I'm allergic to that).

Good luck. I'm in a mash with work right now, too. Too many deadlines for too many different things....

#90 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 05:24 PM:

Ah, migraines. How fun. My triggers are low blood sugar, strange lighting conditions, and glare. And today I discovered a new trigger: a flashing banner ad. Whee.

#91 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 09:05 PM:

Sorry for my nearly-duplicate post last night and today...

too much work.

Greg, I'm surprised we're not having more people have seizures at the f-ing blinking banner ads. They just make me hit the 'back' key faster...

#92 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 10:04 AM:

Greg, I recommend getting a copy of Mozilla for web browsing and turning off image animations (under Edit, Preferences, Privacy and Security, Images: "Animated Images should loop", "Once" (or "Never"). That won't stop Macromedia Flash ads, but those usually aren't quite so flickering.

#93 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 11:28 AM:

(Gee, I'm a chatterbox today.) Did anyone else see the ABC national news story about an operation that can cure migraines in the worst sufferers? They insert some wiring in your brain and a battery somewhere near your neck -- I know, yuck -- and the wire zaps your pain responders, or something like that. Only for those really crippled by the problem, but it least it gives them hope.

Too much web browsing gives me mini-migraines, but they usually don't last too long after I give my eyes a rest.

#94 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 11:49 AM:

Thanks, Jim. I downloaded Mozilla Firefox for OSX yesterday, which doesn't seem to have the option you describe. Guess I need a different Mozilla.

As a Flash animator who believes web animation should do no harm, I really, really want to slug the people who make those ugly, obnoxious banner ads. Or, perhaps more fairly, slug the decision-makers who force poor, hard-working designers to make those ads.

#95 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 02:06 PM:

"Teresa, I would FTP you some codeine but alas the MIME type for that has not been invented."

Wow, I think John Ashcroft's head would spin so fast the tips of his ears would exceed Mach 1 if anyone ever even suggested such a possibility to him!

Greg, I'm pretty sure Firefox has the option Jim mentions; in "old-school" Mozilla, it's on the Edit menu, Preferences, under "Privacy & Security", "Images".

Also, Mozilla lets you right-click on an image, and tell it not to download any more images from that server. I've adopted a "one strike" policy for flashing ads; I figure if folks like doubleclick want to make money from my attention, they owe me the courtesy of not annoying me.

#96 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 02:43 PM:

I haven't tried Firefox, but I remember noticing in Mozilla Firebird that a lot of options weren't there in the preferences menu. Not to say they weren't in existence, but they weren't easily-gettable-to. You might have to do something like:
Quite Firefox
Edit your prefs.js
Add a line that says:
user_pref("image.animation_mode", "once");
(or change the current line that does this, if there is one.)

I have no idea if that will work or not. If you have the "block images from this server" right click option like Jeremy says, I'd guess using that will probably be sufficient. There's probably stuff at that will help, too.

#97 ::: Jonquil ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 04:38 PM:

I actually applied for the preliminary study of the vagus-nerve stimulation thing (implanting a device in your chest wall that stimulates your vagus nerve.) The study I was considered for was actually for depression, but it happens that many epilepsy treatments (which the vagus-nerve stimulation started out as) also work for depression and/or epilepsy.

I am now taking a very low dose Neurontin (see? Also an epilepsy treatment) to prevent migraine. They've popped through this week; I just got back from the neurologist, who increased the dose.

If you can afford it, go see a neurologist. They have access to the good drugs, and treatment has improved unbelievably in the last 20 years. When I was first diagnosed in 1981, the only options were painkillers (Fioricet) and beta-blockers (Propanalol). Much has changed since then.

Another weird treatment discovered by accident: it turns out that Botox prevents migraine. They discovered that women who had Botox injections for cosmetic reasons reported dramatically decreased migraines. clinical trial here. My last neurologist suggested it, but I said I liked having facial expressions and gave her the Spock eyebrow. My current neurologist says that it often works, but costs $1000/treatment and is rarely covered by insurance.

#98 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 04:43 PM:

That seems hilariously close to the "bad but better than simply letting it go" solution offered to the protagonist of a series of books that I'm sure a significant number of people here are familiar with.

#99 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 05:01 PM:

BSD - and someone who's had all his bones replaced a few at a time might have a lower threshhold for surgery than other people.

Or higher, come to think of it.

#100 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 08:30 PM:

I modified the prefs.js file in Firefox as Jim suggested, and it seems to have done the trick. This goes far beyond removing a minor annoyance from my daily environment. Reducing my exposure to a migraine trigger ... Wow. Thank you.

#101 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 10:07 PM:

Teresa, I sympathize with your Philip Henslowe day...since we first saw the film, I have often thought that his mantra about theatre ("Nobody's a mystery") worked very well for publishing, especially those Production Mornings.

Hope you're feeling completely swell now.

(Hey, I'm writing from William Randolph Hearst's guest cottage, on the grounds of Fort Hunter Liggett. Cool in many different ways...)

#102 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2004, 12:24 AM:

Mad, that's awfully cool.

I wish I were feeling entirely better, but this one's taking a very long time to taper off. I like Sandra McDonald's "migraine hangover": not a phrase I'd heard before, but a useful description.

Stephen Sample, if hot peppers stave off migraines, I can only conclude that I dodge a lot of them via my everyday diet. Though, come to think of it, I've been having them more often since my digestion started giving me grief ... excuse me while I go heat up my stash of canned Thai Tom Yum soup.

Ray, Kate, I figure the Excedrin double labeling is because they want people to know it's particularly good for migraines, but they don't want them to think it's only for migraines.

Well, by golly. Stephen, you are definitely on to something. It's not the best Tom Yum, tastes kind of tinny, but when I take a slug of it I feel the pain diminish for a little while.

No, Paula, don't apologize. That was very interesting. And I still think you should report your previous employer to whatever agencies still pay attention to that stuff.

Jeremy, Mr. Ashcroft may be more understanding about pain maintenance than he was a couple of months ago. I understand he turned up with pancreatitis, which is massively painful. And I'll bet that when he did, his greatest desire was not for his doctors to go easy on the pain meds to make sure he wasn't getting too much.

Jonquil, I have a neurologist. I've been a neurology case for decades. I've had various migraine drugs tried on me, but they don't get on well with my nonstandard neurochemistry. The vagus nerve thing sounds interesting, but I probably shouldn't play with mine. Along with my narcolepsy, I'm subject to vaso-vagal spasms. Narcolepsy's far more debilitating, but vaso-vagal spasms generate more colorful interactions with strangers.

Personally, my theory is that one of my ancestors a few generations back was canoodling with a mostly-humanoid alien visitor. It's the only explanation I can come up with for the sheer number of my physiological deviations from norm.

Faren, it does sound icky, but if I were having debilitating migraines all the time, I'd be willing to try it. Neveneh Smith was having them more or less daily for a while, and Greg Cox has had frequent migraines for as long as I've known him. It's no way to live.

Congratulations, Greg. I've never been subject to the flashing stimulus thing, but I think it's irresponsible for people to put unnecessary flashing objects into the general environment. Near where we used to live on Staten Island, there was a borax furniture store that kept a police-type flashing red light in its window, which was at the corner of a dogleg turn in a major arterial. You couldn't avoid staring in its direction if you were driving up that street. Bad cess to them.

Final report on the effects of the spicy Thai soup: it didn't clear away the ringing in my ears or the confusion (I'd be embarrassed to tell you how long it took to type this message), and the analgesia isn't all that persistent, but while I was slowly eating it, I felt much better. It's not a cure, but it does alleviate the symptoms for a while; and if you stack up enough alleviation it can be indistinguishable from a cure.

#103 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2004, 03:56 AM:

You don't actually have to hand-edit the prefs.js file in either Mozilla Firefox or Mozilla, um, Mozilla.

What you can do instead is go up to the URL bar, and type in about:config -- that will pull up a screen full of all of the prefs, hidden and otherwise. It will also give you a input field at the top of the screen labelled Filter. Just type in part of the name of the pref you want to change in that field, and it will immediately narrow down the massive display of all the prefs to one of just the prefs which have that string in them. In my case, I simply typed in "anim", and, lo and behold, the display narrowed down to just one entry:

image.animation_mode         default       string       normal

So I double-clicked on that entry, and it popped up a dialog box containing "normal", just waiting for me to overwrite it with "none" and hit enter to save it.

#104 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2004, 12:12 PM:

This sure puts my feeling sorry for myself over a sprained ankle into perspective.

Feel better.

#105 ::: Kate Salter ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2004, 01:51 PM:

Teresa- Mega sympathy. Especially for the Evil migraines that wake you up out of sleep. Those are the worst. I'm glad your feeling better.

My migraines are way down since I moved, and I've gone a week and a half with no myoclonus which is linked to my migraines.

Fiorinal doen't work for me, and I've had allergic reactions to the Imitex family of drugs, so I can take Vicodin and go to bed.

If the caffine hit and advil routine works for you then that's great.

I don't get an aura or anything, One minute I'm fine and the next I'm blindsided.

Oh well.

So glad yours is gone.
Feel better. I have a yarn care package to send you. Moving made me realize I have way way too much.

Kate S.

#106 ::: MDČ ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2004, 10:47 PM:

Fortitude ?
Wouldn't have thought of it that way... That's just the most logic working process I could figure out.

Xopher- there may be migraines in Heaven for the enjoyment of some... if people twisted enough for that get accepted in that very peculiar club (although, since the mad are automaticely granted a membership, I can't think of any reason why they wouldn't).

#107 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2004, 10:59 PM:

Madeleine Robins:

I've stayed twice at "William Randolph Hearst's guest cottage, on the grounds of Fort Hunter Liggett." I was led to believe that it was actually his mistress' place, so that she and her friends could have their own parties. The primary suite is named after her, and has portraits of her.

You know... "rosebud..."

I agree: the place is indeed "Cool in many different ways..." The surrounding Army Base, with gun-totin- clipboard-checkin' soldiers to keep you safe... The beautiful Mission, and artifacts, and old winery. That wine served at dinner in the pretty decent restaurant. The amazing frescos and tapestries therein.

Whoops... don't want the place overbooked. Oh, okay, everyone on Making Light can come!

She also used to have a place at Malibu. Went to some Mystery Writers of America meetings there. Oh, to have a billionaire as a Significant Other!

#108 ::: Meridy ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2004, 03:59 PM:

I get migraines too, and God in his lofty heaven knows there's no pain like it. Sympathies and hugs to you.

#109 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2004, 11:07 PM:

I get migraines too and am near lethally allergic to the tryptans. Excedrin helps if taken early enough. I learned to do biofeedback to alter my circulation years ago after having tried everything else other posters have mentioned. If one can catch the onset early enough biofeedback can really help.

I turn dead white at the onset so my husband will often notice that I'm getting a migraine at a point where I'm too spaced out with aura to notice myself - this doesn't do you much good when you wake up with the benighted headache though!

#110 ::: Madeline ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2004, 03:32 PM:

In looking around the OMIM, I ran into their page on the genetics of migraines... It's got neat data on population frequency of migraine sufferers, and it looks like there is research being done presently on migraine biochemistry... So I imagine that in some years, there will be far better drugs to deal with them. Not much comfort now, perhaps, but...

#111 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2004, 06:42 PM:

"[T]here are no migraines in Heaven. To believe otherwise is foul heresy."

"Remember Lot's wife
Renounce all sin and vice
Dream of the perfect life
This heaven gives me migraine"--Gang of Four

#112 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2004, 01:38 AM:

Wow. I'm going to come back here tomorrow and condense some of these suggestions down into a list for later reference... because, alas, I'm sure to need them at some point.

There was a time when I could count on a migraine every Monday afternoon. I'm a bit dim about these things and took months to notice the pattern, and ages more to wonder what exactly the trigger was: work stress? Carpet outgassing after the office was closed up for the weekend??

Turned out to be caffeine withdrawal: one mug on Saturday and one mug on Sunday was enough to get my body thinking it was Entitled when Monday rolled around. So I sometimes fend off a migraine with a bit of caffeine, but I'm leary of setting myself up for a problem a little later.

I'm surprised that many people mentioned nausea/vomiting, but only one person mentioned the pain relief that comes after that. If I get to the point of actually ralphing, I know that the worst of the pain will go away, and a quiet night's sleep will make all well again. This has not led me to try to induce vomiting with extra flashing lights (!) but it does mean that I welcome it rather than fight it off. My husband is somewhat weirded out by this, but has come to accept it. --Kate

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