Backwards Hangovers

It’s totally normal to wake up the morning after your 21st groggy, unable to piece together the night before, and wishing you were dead…

Unless of course… unlike every other 21 year old, you were in bed by 9:30, spend the night tossing and turning trying to get the pain to just calm down…

Not a single drop of alcohol involved in this hangover…

Here’s the catch, I wager my days. I put bets on when I’ll cave in and reach for medication. But, that medication that I reach for in hopes of just making that awful pain stop, has some pretty “fun” side effects.

So, here’s my backwards hangover.

9:30 pm. The worst of it. The pain is throbbing. I can’t stand up. Lying down hurts.

11:00 pm. I look to find something that will at least let me fall asleep. Eucalyptus oil and some lotion seems to do the trick… we’ll call this the “water and ibuprofen next to the bed”

5:00 am. I finally give in to the pain. I give up. I scramble in the dark looking for the right meds… the only meds that ever seem to work any more. This is you, finally crawling into your bed, knowing that hangover is going to hit hard tomorrow.

5:30 am. I don’t think the meds are kicking in and I can’t fall back asleep. Here I am scrambling for ice packs. It’s like when you’re nearing the end of your eventful night and you find yourself desperately trying to find that glass of water or some ice to chew on.

6:00 am. The meds have kicked a bit, the ice packs really did wonders. But there’s no falling asleep, and my alarm will be going off in an hour. I topple out of bed. I make my coffee. The room is spinning around me. I know I’m walking towards the bathroom to get fresh water for my diffuser, but I can’t feel myself actually walking. My mind is completely separate from my body now.

6:30 am. I’m on the couch now. The light in the corner is minimized by the ice pack on my forehead. The icepack is no longer cold, but the soft fur lining feels nice against my forehead. The corner of it also blocks the direct light from hitting me in the face. I’m holding my coffee, trying to scroll through social media. Trying to make my list of things to bring up to the doctor in a few hours. I can’t see. I’m spending more time focusing on my vision and focusing on the task at hand. My coffee tastes really good this morning.

7:00 am. My mom got my text about breakfast. I can hear her starting to cook. I have to pee. But didn’t I just do that? I stumble to the bathroom, wondering how on earth I’ll be in a good enough state to get to the doctors. The bathroom is spinning. I go make more coffee. Everything is still spinning and I put too much cream in my coffee. What’s wrong with me. Now my hands aren’t even working properly? Apparently not.

7:30 am. My food is upstairs. Oh god food. I’ve been chugging my coffee on an empty stomach, and this oatmeal seems extra soft today. It smells good. But oh the nausea. The nausea is here. I can’t balance my coffee and my food at the same time, so now in my drug drunken stooper, I’m taking turns with them. Rotating which one sits on the coffee table.

8:00 am. I’ve made my way downstairs. I’ve filled up my water bottle. This nausea is getting worse. I quick take some nausea medicine. My dad is driving. Thankfully the sun is hidden behind clouds. But I can’t talk. I can’t move. I find myself sitting in the passenger seat, occasionally trying to sip some water, focusing on my breath. Trying to practice conscious breathing.

8:45 am. We’re in the doctors. We took the stairs and it felt like a dream. It felt like I floated up those stairs. I struggled to check in. The waiting room was fuller than I’d ever seen it. These people were loud and these people were trying to talk to one another. I just sat so still I probably looked like a corpse that had been misplaced. I was so focused on the chair across from me where the foot met the ground. I was so focused on remembering to breathe in and breathe out.

9:00 am. We were called back. The nurse could tell I was struggling so it was quick. My blood pressure was severely elevated.

9:15 am. My doctor is running late. I’m slowly feeling the nausea subsiding. Everything is still spinning, but my stomach is no longer perched on my throat. I can feel the building vibrate with every truck that passes. The lights are really bright, and there’s no small lamp as an alternative in this office.

The drugs eventually calmed down. The drowsiness hit as I arrived back home. By 10:30 I was fast asleep. I slept through lunch. The pain was still at bay. The nausea from before only a memory.

I napped again after I ate some lunch. This time because I could feel the pain creeping back in.

I said everything I needed to at this doctor. When I’m not feeling good, its much easier to just talk over the doctor and ignore his “you need to be out living your life” pleas. If I was in the state to do so, my hangover would have been induced much differently.

We strive for some relief for the pain, but at what cost?

My doctor acknowledged when I asked about finding a new abortive, that I’d tried them all. He truly didn’t believe there was a different variation of any of my medications, that would be worth switching to. And that’s okay, I kind of already knew that was the case.

But, it shows that in finding relief for the head pain, I’m forced to struggle with the drunkness brought on from a potent medication.

So, most days I push through the pain. Because, sometimes the pain of this condition is easier. Sometimes the solution isn’t really a solution, rather a mask. A mask that hides the pain for 10 hours tops, and leaves me with only a few functional hours in between.

V said that “a revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having” so maybe the mask provided allows me to dance in the face of my migraine. And maybe that dance is worth having. 


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