I had my first proper migraine when Squirt was about 15 months old. I was out for dinner with my Mother’s Group and about halfway through the meal I started developing a headache. It was quite painful and I declined a second glass of champagne, finished my meal pretty quickly and drove home.
Hubby was at home with a couple of friends and I told him I was going to bed as my head was really sore. I lay in bed for a little bit and the pain was getting worse. I felt like my temples were in a vice and nothing was helping relieve the pain. Shortly afterwards I started feeling nauseous and then vomited up all my dinner and the pain medication I’d taken earlier.
By this stage the pressure in my head was immense and I told Hubby I thought we might need to go to the hospital. I’ve had friends suffer aneurysms and the outcome is not usually good. I didn’t want to take any risks and had never had a headache like this before so thought I should get checked out.
It was getting close to midnight by this time and one of Hubby’s friends decided it was time he should go home. The other one realised that we would probably need someone to look after Squirt and asked how he could help. We asked if he would stay at the house and just look after Squirt if he needed anything. Our single, childless, very good friend readily agreed. I was in too much pain to give any kind of instructions before we left and I think Hubby was too worried about me to give him any advice so we just left him to it. He later told us he hardly slept because he was so scared Squirt would wake up and he wouldn’t know what to do. Squirt didn’t but I am sure Richie would have figured it out if he had to.
I vomited again in the car on the way to the hospital, fortunately I have vomit bags everywhere since my very pukey pregnancies, so at least it was well contained. Hubby parked outside Emergency and guided me inside. I was in my dressing gown and ugg boots, arm over my eyes to block out the light and a bag of puke in my hands. I must have looked a real sight. At least they took me straight out the back and let me lie down again.
Turns out when it’s something like that, they don’t muck around getting started with the investigations. I was incredibly grateful that I didn’t have to sit in the brightly lit, uncomfortable waiting room.
They took obs, provided some pretty good pain relief and sent me for a CT scan. By this stage the pain meds were kicking in and I was able to open my eyes and start to hold a conversation when required. Although the CT Scan looked clear, they wanted to keep me longer to do a lumbar puncture to be sure.
At some stage I had told Hubby to go home since there wasn’t much he could do for me and I figured at least one of us should get some rest. Also, the next day we were expecting a number of people at our house for a Christmas VIP Event for my Arbonne business. He had messaged one of my good friends and let her know what was happening. Hubby had to come back to the hospital in the morning to pick me up quite early but the lumbar puncture was delayed until about midday so we sat/lay around waiting.
Meanwhile, my lovely friend had rallied the troops and a number of our Arbonne team turned up at my house to finish decorating, prepare food and rescue our babysitting friend!
We finally returned home a couple of hours after the event started with me in my pyjamas looking pretty rough. Thank goodness for such great friends who took care of everything and let me shower and scrub up then just rest quietly for the remainder of the event.
After the weekend, I spoke with my GP and he prescribed me what I believe was a relatively new migraine medication called Maxalt for me to take if something like this happened again. Which, unfortunately, it did. Since the first one, I have had about one every 6 months. I am incredibly grateful that they’re not more frequent than that, as I know people who suffer them regularly and I can’t even begin to imagine how debilitating that would be.
My future migraines all followed a fairly similar progression – headache which escalated quickly to intense pain, photophobia and sometimes nausea and vomiting. I made sure I always had my medication with me and was fortunate enough that they always happened when Hubby was home so I could go straight to bed and sleep it off.
In September last year, I felt another one coming on when I was lying in bed with Moo. The pain was rapidly increasing and I felt quite congested. I felt like the congestion was making the pain worse so I tried to relieve it with my FLO sinus douche thingy. In case you’re wondering what on earth that is, it’s a solution you mix with warm water and squirt up your nostrils to help clear out your sinuses. Delightful, but one of the only things that helped when I was pregnant with hay fever and couldn’t take any decent drugs!
This time, it was the worst thing I could have done. The first squirt felt like someone had shot me in the head. My GP later advised me that the migraine causes swelling and by trying to douche I was basically forcing that swelling back into the head (or something to that effect). I staggered to bed, grabbed my medication on the way and tried to sleep. I dozed for a little bit but then woke again with my head still aching. I called out to Hubby and asked him to bring more medication. It still didn’t help. I was in agony and didn’t know what I could do, so I asked him to call Health Direct (a health advisory service). He spoke with them and they advised we call an ambulance. It felt excessive to me but I honestly didn’t even feel I could sit in the car long enough for the drive to hospital so I agreed to it.
The ambos arrived, assessed me and recommended they transport me to hospital since I was unable to manage the pain with my medication like I usually would. They inserted an IV and gave me some fentanyl which started to ease the pain and then shortly after gave me some more until I was able to open my eyes again.
After a fairly uneventful night under observation I was able to be discharged. My mother-in-law had arrived that day to stay with us so she had stayed home with the kids to allow Hubby to come with me.
Last Friday night, Squirt and I were all snuggled on the couch watching Friday Night Football. Moo had fallen asleep in the car and was now in bed so I was looking forward to some quality time with my boy.
Next thing, Moo woke up, bright as a button an hour after her bedtime. We facetimed Hubby who had recently landed in Adelaide and the kids were excited to talk to him. About the same time, I started getting a headache. As the conversation went on, I realised it was a migraine. I asked Squirt to get my medication and asked the kids to try and be quiet. They were running around like lunatics and by this stage I had my head buried in the cushions to keep the light out and was holding the phone up so Hubby could try and talk to them. He explained to them what was happening and asked them to try and be quiet and helpful. Moo asked why I was covering my eyes and I told her the light was hurting so the sweet little thing turned the light off without me asking. I told Squirt he could put the footy on the TV in our bedroom and they could both sit in bed and watch it so I could sleep.
The kids had eaten but decided they wanted ice cream. I was happy for them to have whatever would keep them quiet, so hung up on Hubby and made my way to the kitchen. This was the first time I had suffered a migraine when I was on my own with the kids. I figured I should be able to get a few things done and just work through the pain. There was still stuff out from dinner that needed to be in the fridge and I wanted to get the kids their ice-cream. It was excruciating. I kept stopping as the pain overwhelmed me and I held on to the kitchen bench crying. Squirt asked if I was ok and I explained I just needed to lie down and rest.
I quickly scooped out the ice-cream, chucked the container in the freezer and headed to bed leaving the kids to it. They asked if they could eat the ice cream in bed (usually a definite no) and I just mumbled “fine, whatever”. Next thing Moo asked for an ice-block. Again, I just agreed and heard her climb back into bed. I was envisioning globs of sticky ice-cream falling in my bed but just didn’t care. Turns out she had coconut cake. Less messy, thank goodness, but I’m pretty sure there’s crumbs somewhere in my bed.
Squirt kept asking if I was ok. I kept asking the kids to just be quiet please and let me sleep. He said he thought he should call for an ambulance but I said I would be fine if it was quiet. I was struggling to talk and process thoughts. I was trying to work out who could help with the kids. I have lots of friends who I know would have been happy to help but when you’re in pain like that it’s difficult to coordinate your brain.
I asked Squirt to call a friend who lives just around the corner. I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to work out which one she was in my phone but he just asked Siri to call her using her name exactly the way Siri says it when I call her using voice commands. He reached her voicemail and left her a voicemail message. If I can figure out how to turn it into a file, I’ll post it here for you.
Squirt kept telling me he had 000 ready to call. He said “Mum, I’m really worried about you, I really think I should call them”. Ever since I taught Squirt how to call 000 he has being dying (not literally, thank goodness) for a legitimate reason to call them.
I taught him how to call 000 when he was about 3. Since he knew our address and there are often times I’m home alone with the kids, I figured it was good for him to know. I actually held off teaching him for a while as I knew he would probably want to try it out so I wanted him to be a little older to hopefully reduce the risk of “prank” calls. Turns out he still called them twice – once because he had a really sore finger and once because his tummy hurt. I reinforced that he was ONLY allowed to call them if there was not a grown up he could talk to who could call them for him if they thought he needed it.
Fast forward about 12 months since his last 000 call and here he was with his only grown up, prone on the bed, moaning and crying at times and then suddenly hanging over the toilet vomiting. Actually I just started by dry retching – suddenly Squirt was by my side. “Are you vomiting?”
Moo: “What’s the matter?”
Squirt with his hand on my left shoulder: “It’s ok Moo, she’s just vomiting I think. Are you vomiting? Yes, she’s vomiting. I think I should call the ambulance now.”
Me (between heaves): “s’ok, just give me a minute” *puke*
Squirt (still with his hand on my shoulder) to Moo (now on my other side with her hand on my other arm): “She’s vomiting, it’s ok, you’ll be ok Mum, I’m going to call the ambulance”.
Me: *puke* “fine” *puke*
By this stage my head is killing me, I’m puking my guts up, I can’t even think who else to get Squirt to call. I figure Hubby is probably sleeping and I don’t want to bug him even though I know he wouldn’t mind but I just can’t think straight so just, whatever.
I don’t remember if I was still in the toilet or back in bed as I hear the conversation.
Squirt: Ambulance please, yes, my mum has a really bad headache. Mum – what’s it called?
Squirt: Migrano (or something to that effect).
He gives our address, my name and phone number and his name.
They ask a few questions about if I’m breathing etc. He asks what alert means and then describes a few things about my current state. To be honest I don’t really remember. They ask if we have dogs and he says yes but they’re friendly but he locks them outside when they ask him to. They must have asked if we have a front light and he says yes, but it’s broken (better get onto that). I then hear him offer to wait out the front.
Oh no, I think. Please don’t wait out the front!! It’s late and it’s dark, that sounds like a really bad idea. Fortunately they think the same things and encourage him to wait inside.
He comes back into me and puts his hand on my arm, “now mum, he says, I don’t want you to have anything to eat or drink until they get here”. I’m kind of impressed by the way he’s handling this.
I hear the ambulance doors close and so do the kids. They’re obviously in the lounge room at this stage looking out the front window.
“They’re here!” I hear and the kids open the door and bring the ambos into the bedroom. One of them starts talking to me and taking my obs. I think I apologised and explained that I was sure I would be fine if only I could sleep. They gave me some anti-nausea medication and some more pain killers and I said I didn’t feel I needed to go to hospital as I was sure with some sleep, the medication would be able to do its job.
At some stage I suggest another friend we could call. I thought she was in Bunbury but knew that she had the phone numbers of other friends nearby and figured she could do some ringing around to hopefully find someone to take care of the kids. Turns out she was home and was at our place in a matter of minutes.
Squirt comes in and places his hand on my arm again, “Mum” he says “if you prefer, we can go to Hanna’s and she can look after us there, if you prefer”. I love his really grown up word choices he’s using as he tries to be super helpful. I say that’s fine.
I can hear the ambos asking about the lego Star Wars models we have and who the Star Wars fan is. Squirt says him. Hanna suggests Hubby may be an even bigger fan (she’s right), then I can hear Squirt giving the ambos a tour of the lego figures in his bedroom. Then he says, “don’t forget you said we could have a look in the ambulance”, so they head outside for a tour. The next day Hanna asked if I had seen the photos on my phone…I hadn’t at that stage!
I hear them telling Squirt he did a great job and giving him high fives. Moo wants to kiss the female ambo but she suggests a high five instead. Fair enough – she was probably snotty! Hanna organises whatever clothes they need and they head off. I felt bad because I knew that her kids were staying at her Mum’s and she and her Hubby were supposed to be kid free. Turns out her hubby was already asleep when all this happened so when he woke up at 5.30am to Squirt in his bedroom saying he was hungry, he thought he must have been dreaming. Thank goodness for great friends!
Finally it is quiet and I can let the medication work and I drift off to sleep. I wake about 5am feeling groggy but pain free, thank goodness. I change into my pyjamas and go back to bed until about 9am. I knew I needed to get up as I had a launch workshop for a new consultant in my business at 12.30pm.
Hanna and her husband brought the kids back and he asked why I didn’t just cancel the workshop. Hanna pointed out that it was probably easier to do that than it was to try and deal with the kids. She was right, and also, I love to be able to help people get a great start to their Arbonne business and didn’t want to let her down. I had a Fizz Stick which has Vitamin B in it to help with my energy and headed out.
I’m still not convinced that I needed the ambulance, however it’s nice to know that Squirt was able to handle things perfectly (well apart from the being quiet bit) and I’m very grateful for wonderful friends. This is not the first time that Squirt has proved himself in a tricky situation and in spite of all the crazy, silly, funny things that he gets up to, I love the way he rises to the occasion and does such a great job when he has to.