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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.


Lindsay Lamar said...

I'm so sorry that you suffer from migraines! Have you ever looked into the possibility that they are caused by an allergy? My father had migraines, and they ended up being caused by caffeine! Maybe you could see an allergist or something.

Paul Ancheta said...

I pity your poor dad! So he now can't start his day off with a cuppa coffee.

In Israel, I would get the attacks after eating some spicy food at the Dining Hall--the spice must have contained the allergens. I get the attacks here when I get limited sleep time.

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