A crystal sky that goes from dark rose through yellow to blue behind the still cottonwood branches. A pale green mug of cold water. A red shirt and velvet jacket hanging together on the doorknob. All in the world is vivid, calm and lovely after the migraine.
I have lived with migraines since the troop surge of puberty, and although I have far less migraines than I used to have — e.g. only one every week or month as opposed to just about everyday — when the migraines come, my life shuts down. Everything becomes, by necessity, very quiet and dark. While the type of migraines I have don’t include auras and such, they do hurt like hell, and all I can do is all my old tricks: very hot baths, a cup of cold coffee or stiff mug of tea, burnt toast, sometimes corn chips and strong salsa, and definitely Excredrin. Heavier drugs do me in, and my bag of tricks, spread over a little bit of time, usually brings me back to the land of the living.
After so many years, I’ve also learned a lot about my migraines although I seem to be outrageously stupid when it comes to running the same experiment. Eat some chocolate or very sugar-laden dessert, more than a bite, after 7 or 8 p.m., and a migraine will come the next morning. Have a bunch of peanut butter, oranges or cheddar cheese (migraine triggers for many of us), and lo and behold, a migraine appears! Drink anything fermented (we’re not just talking wine and vodka here but even apple cider), and I will curse the day I was born come morning. I’ve been quite astute at avoiding alcohol, but since the drug of choice in my family of origin was always the contents of a pastry shop, sugar isn’t so easy.
But there’s something else I’ve learned about migraines: how once the headache subsides, the world is so poignantly beautiful I could weep for the privilege of being alive…..of course, just taking Excredrin has that effect on me too. Now that I’m well, the torrent of ocean hitting rock in my head is now a small, calm pond where, in the center, I float happily.