I just haven’t had the energy to write about it until today, but I spent Sunday and Monday in the hospital again — with the exact same thing as the last time.
And this time, there was nothing on the tests. Not the CAT scan, not the MRI, not the echocardiogram, not the blood tests, and not with ultrasound of my carotid arteries. Nope. Clean as a whistle.
Since this time, I’d gone to a small, local hospital, they told me to follow up with the neurologists at Penn. Maybe it was a complex seizure disorder, the doctor said.
I was telling the story to one of my friends, and she said, “Sounds like it might be a migraine.” So I started researching, and found a description of exactly what I’d felt: The numbness on one side, the feeling of something warm washing up into my head, the weird dizziness. Migraine!
It even explained one troubling side effect: Two days later, I was having trouble keeping my balance.
I mean, I do get migraines. When I was young, I got the kind where you sat there and banged your head against the wall — and I have often gotten migraines on the first day at a new job. About ten years ago, those morphed into one where I am almost blinded for a half hour, and then I’m left with a sort of painful hangover on the top of my head. But hey, a half-hour with my eyes closed and maybe a Pepsi, and I was fine. No big deal.
I used to read articles about incredibly complex migraines and smugly tell myself, “Boy, I’m glad I don’t have those!” Looks like now I do.
In a city filled with medical schools, there is exactly one migraine center. I remember when it opened and I read an interview with one of the founders. He said no one really knows much about migraines, they’re a major problem, and he and his partner were kind of making it up as they went along because there’s not a lot of research.
According to a 2018 report, the economic burden for migraine patients reaches approximately $78 billion per year. Seems like someone should start paying attention.