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Chronic Migraine Rule #12: Always Bring Ear Plugs

  • Talking
  • Gum popping
  • Feet shuffling
  • Two TVs blaring
  • Pagers beeping & vibrating against tables
  • Six people typing
  • Dialing on speakerphone
  • Phones ringing
  • Printers printing
  • Automatic doors clunking
  • An automatic stapler thunking
  • Sniffing

This is the cacophony I sat with for 45 minutes in a hospital waiting room this morning. The ear plugs that I always, always carry with me? Nope, not in my bag. Fortunately, I only had a migraine hangover, so I wasn’t as extra-super-sensitive as in the pain phase. Still, negotiating the world with migraine is hard enough without getting caught without necessary supplies. I restocked the ear plug supply in my bag immediately upon returning home.

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The Clock Goes TICK! TOCK!

“Breathe in deeply and exhale fully.” Inhale… Ugh, did that woman bathe in coconut sun oil? OK, Kerrie, focus. “Slowly move your head to the side on your out breath, inhale to center, exhale and move to the other side.” Whoa, that was quite the stabbing pain in my head. Every step the teacher takes sounds like Velcro peeling apart. Focus! “Inhale to center…” I wish this guy would stop sniffing. And the sun is so bright. “On your next exhalation…” TICK! TOCK! TICK! TOCK!

The clocks at my yoga studio are curious. Sometimes they are completely silent. Sometimes they demand I pay attention to their continual work. In reality, of course, the clocks tick at a perfectly consistent volume. Whether my brain is in migraine high alert determines if I hear them or not. Phonophobia is not subtle.

After a severe migraine yesterday, I spent today not knowing if I was being haunted by a hangover or if another migraine was coming on. Hearing TICK! TOCK! as I tried to settle into a yoga class this evening put an end to my questioning. Another migraine it is.

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Jackhammers, Diesel Fumes, Tar and a Headache

Jackhammering. I awoke to jackhammering at 7 a.m. Not the metaphorical kind — no, my head feels more like someone is drilling for oil in my brain — but the dig-up-your-entire-neighborhood kind. Road construction complete with idling diesel engines and, the creme de la creme, tar.

Don’t these people know that I need at least eight hours of sleep and my alarm goes off at 8 a.m.? That their smells trigger bad headaches or migraines? That the cacophony of heavy equipment makes it all worse? That the beeping of the walkie talkie-like cell phones, a staple of the industry, is enough to make me tear my hair out?

Like it matters to me if the neighborhood has better water pressure and streets. Harumph.

If I were writing this yesterday, I would have reminded myself that I can’t move the roadwork, but I can make myself not unhappy. Some days grumbling is a prerequisite to finding a solution. Especially when I’m tired (because a jackhammer woke me up at 7 a.m. . . .).