A Brave New Headache

I’ve experienced a fair range of headaches through my life. Virtual headaches, like reinstalling operating systems when your computer goes horribly wrong. Real headaches, like the awful migraines I get every year or two. Small headaches that pop up in the afternoon. Eye strain headaches. Stress headaches.

Me and headaches. We go way back.

Which is why last night was so strange. I’d been feeling really tired and worn out for the last while–it’s the final push for Denisa to finish teaching her classes, and we’ve had all the Christmas preparations to do in addition to that, plus work . . . I don’t want to whine here too much, so let’s just say it’s been busy. I stayed in bed the whole morning, asleep. I woke up refreshed and in a good mood. Then, around 4 o’clock, I started getting a headache that ran in a strip down the left side of my head–like someone had painted a stripe of pain from my left eyeball, up my scalp, and down to the back of my head. It wasn’t intense, but it was annoying.

Still, there were no visual auras that come with migraines, so I just dismissed the headache and went about taking a lazy Sunday.

Except the headache didn’t want to be dismissed. It gathered its forces and dug in right behind my left eyeball, and then it started drilling. Quite literally. It felt like someone was jabbing something through my head back there.

But like I said, I know me some headaches. I ignored it. Watched a movie. Read a book. Checked fantasy football scores–anything to keep my mind off that pain.

Around 5, I finally gave in and took some ibuprofen. That’s usually the biggest sign that my headache is bad: when I’m willing to take drugs to try and dull the pain.

The headache laughed at my puny efforts, and kept drilling.

What followed was anything but pretty. Was I writhing in pain? Yup. For hours on end? Yup. I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say it was like a migraine without all the special effects. No numbness, no aura. Just pain pain pain.

Yeah. It was an interesting Sunday.

I’m mostly better now, thankfully. Just really drained and exhausted. Severe pain for that long really takes a lot out of you. I’ve done a bit of Googling, and I still have no idea what this headache was. The symptoms sound like a cluster headache, but those happen repeatedly. Does this mean I can expect another one soon? I really hope not.

Anyone out there have any experience with headaches like this? How do you treat them when they come? I’d love to know how to avoid another yesterday . . .

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