Last week I wrote about the horrific migraine I had and as I stated when I wrote it just because the acute phase is over it doesn’t mean that you are 100% back to normal. I spent the following 7 days with a headache varying in severity. It took until Monday ( 25th May ) for me to finally be free from a headache and any other lingering post migraine symptoms.
I did manage to write a letter to my gp surgery on the Wednesday as I said I would in my blog post and that bore fruit. I have now been prescribed sumatriptan . The gp contacted me via a text message which was weird as I have never had that happen before and contained within the message was a link toThe Exeter Headache Clinic protocol . I have included the link just in case anyone is interested as I found it very comprehensive and have taken onboard all the suggestions contained within it.
I printed out the the protocol as I am useless reading off screens ( unless it is blog posts but they have to be broken up with frequent paragraphs, long posts with no breaks are an instant turn off for me as I just feel overwhelmed). I then made a list for my husband to get the OTC ( over the counter ) medications from the pharmacy at his place of work. I also asked him as I have a history of projectile vomiting soluble aspirin / paracetamol etc to ask the pharmacist about paracetamol suppositories. I did explain in my very long letter to my gp that projectile vomiting is a HUGE problem along with nausea when I get a migraine but that seems to have been glossed over. He was quoted the price of £62.50 for not very many. I’m afraid I simply don’t have £62.50 for medications, especially when I was already having to cover the cost of the suggested medications soluble paracetamol, aspirin and buccastem, with the supplements that I was also being asked to try to see if these also helped or reduced the amount of migraines I have been having. I have had to buy Magnesium ( taken very carefully to begin with due to the possibility of undiagnosed Myasthenia Gravis ), Co enzyme Q10 and Riboflavin ( Vitamin B2). I have to take these without fail for the next 8 weeks to see if they make any difference to the severity of my migraines or frequency. All in all I have had to spend over £50 on supplements and medications – thankfully my sumatriptan didn’t cost me anything as I get free prescriptions, had I have had to pay for it you could basically add on another £10 making it as near as dam it 60 quid in total.
That really pissed me off….in a time when many people have either been made redundant / furloughed on 80% pay or are on Universal Credit for the first time in their lives due to Covid-19, my gp’s surgery was so out of touch that they didn’t bother contacting me to ask if I needed them to write me a prescription for the OTC medication so that I didn’t have to bear the cost. Thankfully neither my husband or my income has been hit due to the current global pandemic but we know that we are in the minority not the majority. It really grinds my gears that many other people who have been told to follow this protocol simply wouldn’t have been able to afford it or would have had to choose between food or medical treatment and surely that is very, very wrong in the 6th or 7th richest country in the world? I know had I been in a position where I couldn’t afford to buy the OTC medication ( let alone the supplements) I would have been far too embarrassed to admit this to my doctor or anyone. Poverty seems to be a thing that is really looked down on in the UK and many simply feel that those in poverty are somehow at fault for it when everyone ( except the very wealthy ) are one illness or accident away from finding their lives changed forever.
The practical side of me kicked in, I know what a state I am in when a migraine happens. I am incredibly unlucky that my migraines 99.9999% of the time happen at night and I wake up with them either just starting or already raging. When I first started getting migraines at around the age of 8 years old, I used to get the classic aura, zig zag lines either black and white or primary colours or it could be that I would get tunnel vision or parts of my vision would disappear, usual in the central field of vision. It has been a few years since I have had that kind of migraine. For at least the last 4 years they have come on at night and when they do I am pretty much incapacitated immediately. So I decided that I would make myself a migraine grab bag. This bag or large zipped pouch really, would contain the soluble paracetamol, aspirin, sumatriptan and buccastem along with a bottle of water and a plastic pint glass. Just so I could “grab” that bag and know that I had everything in one place and not have to worry about trying to navigate stairs / call Mr Myasthenia Kid for help. Time is of the essence for me once an attack is underway as nausea sets in very quickly so there is a very short time frame for me to administer medications before it gets to the point where anything taken orally will be projectile vomited.
The bag doesn’t look very big in the photo but it is at least 14 inches wide and 12 inches tall. I used this fabric as a) I absolutely love it and b) it is a totally different fabric style to the other zipped pouches I have in my room. Plus if I say to Mr Myasthenia Kid “the one with hippo’s on” he won’t need his glasses to identify it! It still has plenty of room inside it even though it has a bottle of water , a couple of plastic pint glasses and the medications within it.
I am still terrified at the prospect of the next migraine but I feel like at least I am putting things in place to help / get me through. I am now keeping a food diary to see if there are any obvious triggers ( when I was a kid there was coca cola, Halls menthol cough sweets, Scampi Fries and orange juice although none of these seem to have the triggering effect now – although I still can’t stand anything menthol). I have also bought myself a Migraine tracker book, which details when the migraine starts, finishes, symptoms possible trackers, things that helped etc. Which I thought would be a good thing to keep if the sumatriptan doesn’t help and I end up having to see a Migraine specialist. I couldn’t resist this one when I saw it
I am feeling prepared, still frightened but prepared. We shall just have to see what happens….