It Got Complicated

I don't know when I first got a migraine. I have had headaches since early childhood, but to me (perhaps to the mainstream back then) a headache was a headache.

My first for-certain migraine happened when I was 17. It was a cloudy day (unusual weather here), I had been walking around town all morning after working graveyard, and i noticed the visual effect i now know as the foreboding of extreme ill. When I got to my house i laid down, and the pain got worse, became nauseating, until I had to get up, stagger to the bathroom and heave until i thought my head would explode. Then i went back to bed and hoped for quick death.

Since then, almost all my headaches have been migraines of varying degree (I think I just never had a reason to differentiate between headaches before that first traumatic one). Few have been that bad, but too many were incapacitating nonetheless. One has been the scariest medical thing to ever happen to me.

Three years ago, I awoke to get ready for work. I had had that aura feeling the previous day, but no migraine happened. My boss called that morning, and i just stared at the phone as it rang in my left hand. I didn't understand why i wasn't answering it (i would have hit the button with right hand). My wife was getting annoyed, trying to sleep, so i went into the other room and sat down on the piano bench to think this out--well i meant to. In sitting, I missed the bench completely and sat down hard and loudly in the adjacent laundry basket.

My wife came in, freakin out. Then i realized i couldn't speak. Knew what i wanted to say, but my mouth wouldn't move... long story, but 911 was called, i got my first ambulance ride, there was a full stroke protocol...

Scans revealed nothing vascular, nor any evidence that a blockage had occurred. After ruling everything out, the medical wisemen concluded it must have been a complicated migraine; i.e., a migraine that spread to affect motor centers, causing partial paralysis. This diagnosis only works because my migraine history is known.

I have to wonder how many migraines get misdiagnosed as strokes or some other thing.
rattleschains rattleschains
41-45, M
Jan 7, 2013