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04 June 2006

Dial “m” for migraine

MY ONE lingering wish for humanity: that it never suffers from migraine. I finally recovered from a two-day attack, and, as always, the suffering is insufferable. Rhea Aquino, a former colleague in Israel, had a name for it: Miggi. When I would call in sick, she would ask, “Kuya Paul, is Miggi on home visit again?” My last attack was seven weeks ago; perhaps Miggi thought it was time pay a “home visit”.

I have had migraine episodes since my late twenties, and I have never really managed it perfectly. Once the symptoms show up, paracetamol and ibuprofen come in handy, but oftentimes the effects kick in too late. I used to swig a steaming mug of black coffee in hopes that the caffeine would stimulate those spasmodic blood vessels that turned my head into a throbbing boom box; I stopped the coffee-swigging habit in fear of becoming coffee-addictive. My sister Myriam used to massage the tips of my fingers to stimulate blood vessels (and they are often relieving), but to become a self-masseur is the last thing on your mind when you are under attack and you live alone.

The only solution then is to crawl into a dark, quiet room and sleep it off. This was challenging for me in the past two days, as apartment walls in Mumbai are never really sound-proof (read: Mumbai is noisy, period). Perhaps I should return to the steaming mug of black coffee next time. That, or sing along to my head-turned-boom box.

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