"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

18 February 2011

It's not 'just a headache,' imbecile

All right, so while I can get ranty and ravey on here occasionally, I tend to steer away from ‘deep topics’ such as politics, religion, health care, the financial stability (or lack thereof) of the world, education, etc. I’ve got my opinions on these, but it so rarely affects my writing as it relates to the topics I spew about on here that I steer clear of hotbed topics.
Well, not today.
Most people not living under the proverbial boulder of social blindness are probably aware that the biggest story to come out of the Grammys was not about the show, but about a reporter who suffered a medical emergency during a live broadcast about the show. It’s now been confirmed by her physicians and the media that she did not have a stroke but had an episodic lapse in speech and feeling due to a migraine. Is it good that this woman did not suffer a stroke? Absolutely. Is this going to raise public awareness about a serious physical and neurological disorder that affects millions of people and can mimic, and eventually cause, strokes? Probably… for about an hour. Does that frustrate me? Hells. Yes.
Now, I’m not saying we should drop everything and focus on migraine research because there are worse medical conditions that do not have cures or even decent treatments. However, as someone who has lived with the migraine stigma of “Oh, you have a headache” for over ten years, and seen friends and family deal with the same BS, when national media covers migraines in a high-profile manner I get instantly hopeful and angry, because to date no amount of coverage has done enough to change the perception that migraines are anything more than a really intense headache… oh, and sometimes people have to lay in a cool, dark, quiet room like they have a hangover until the headache goes away.
I could detail for you all the symptoms I get with various migraines (and yes, they can differ), or list all the medications I’ve taken since I was a teenager that either never worked or stopped working after a short period of time, or launch into a description of what it actually feels like (for me, because every sufferer is different) to have a migraine. However, none of this ever seems to get through to the core of the issue: migraine sufferers have a serious, debilitating medical condition which, because of a lack of knowledge and (typically) visible effects, most people write off as a minor inconvenience in our lives. Also, because migraines can be caused and triggered by a myriad of factors (and each sufferer reacts with different symptoms), no one treatment or solution is feasibly possible so research is far more complex than it is for disorders where the contributing factors are more easily pinpointed.
So any time a story like this is touted in the media, I give a little fist pump for my fellow migraneurs, and then get a little incensed on behalf of us all because I know the chances of it creating new opportunities to explore treatments are slim to none. One day perhaps an event large enough to garner heightened exposure will occur (and I sincerely hope it’s not anything catastrophic), but until then I want to express my solidarity for my fellow sufferers and state for the record that this is one issue where I will always give a voice, both on my own behalf and that of anyone who’s ever had to cope with a migraine while being patronizingly gazed at by those who don’t comprehend what it is we experience.

A little sampling of great creative minds that suffered from migraines...


  1. ::: fist pump :::

    You go girl! I have pretty much even stopped trying to use my migraines as an explanation for why I miss work and can't do anything for a full 24-hours except lay on my back wishing I was dead and throwing my useless, useless medication at the walls in frustration (because is it worse to feel like your eyeballs are being pushed out of your head in explosions of color by the baby your head is trying to birth, or to feel like throwing up while your eyeballs are being pushed out of your head in explosions of color by the baby your head is trying to birth?), and now mostly just say "I had food poisoning," or something. It's easier.

  2. Thanks! Just doing my part to rant at the masses for their utter incomprehension.

    I've never thought to use food poisoning as a reason before... now I have new fuel ;)

    But yes, I completely get it. My options for medication at this point are limited to Excedrin Migraine which works on about 5% of my headaches and usually makes me so jittery that it only serves to aggravate the little person in my skull who's tapping away at my brain with their icepick, and heavy narcotics which I a) don't really want to be on and b) would likely have to go through eight million hoops and/or doctors before finding someone who would take my pain seriously enough to prescribe something that intense.


More Like This: