Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Head Case

Back during the summer of '04, I began getting migraines. Horrible, painful, paralyzing migraines. I had a prescription for a migraine medication that did nothing. Thankfully, I quickly discovered Excedrin and had never had to deal with a full-fledged migraine again. Pop two Excedrin and my headache would be done in less than 20 minutes. 

This was all true until last week. Once afternoon last week I had to leave work early because of a migraine. It was after a morning excursion with our entire staff that I began to feel a headache coming on. When I got back to the office, I immediately took two pills and chugged a diet coke. Usually the prefect recipe.

Fifteen minutes later I only felt worse. My head was pounding and the slice of pizza I ate for lunch was not sitting well. I needed to lie down. I went down to the nurse (yes, we have a nurse) to lay down in the resting room. After twenty minutes I got kicked out because someone had booked the resting room (seriously?!) and still didn't feel any better. 

I got back to my desk and my coworkers said I should just go home. But I couldn't, I thought. I'd done the same thing as everyone else that morning, everyone else was tired, everyone else just wanted to go home. I could suck it up. I tried and tired and tried to focus and get some work done but the headache only got worse. 

It wasn't until I was gchatting with WG2, telling her how awful I felt, and said to me sternly "You should really go home right now" that I caved and asked my boss if I could leave. Usually I'm the one telling WG2 how to take care of herself so what the roles are reversed, I listen.

On my way home, I was shaking in the cab and trying not to get sick. It was that bad. I barely made into my apartment before getting sick. I dove into my bed and all I could feel, apart from my head throbbing, was guilt about not being at work. 

In my short career I've barely called in sick or left work early. But whenever I do, all I feel is guilt. I've always been legitimately sick, I haven't lied about it but I always feel like I am. Maybe it's just my Catholic guilt kicking in but I shouldn't feel bad about going home or not going in at all when I'm literally about to vomit, right?

I finally fell asleep but still woke up with the migraine. Two more Excedrin and another nap later I finally felt back to normal. 

29 comments:

Bluebelle said...

Hope you feel better soon, sounds horrible. I'm the same - I only ever take time off if I'm genuinely feeling terrible and I still feel guilty about it.

Natalie said...

I get horrible horrible migraines -- they've gotten worse over the years. I hate calling in sick for them, but I do b/c I just can't function!

You could talk to your doc about Imitrex or Topomax. Imitrex is a pain killer -- one step up from Excedrin. Topomax is a daily preventative. Imitrex stopped working for me -- so now I take Zomig when I have a headache at night and want to be better in the morning. I take Excedrin in the day (the caffiene won't let me sleep)

blueberry said...

On behalf of your co-workers, please go or stay home when you are sick. If you are at all contagious, you are not doing anyone any favors by staying. Even if you think you might be letting someone down by not being there, the reality is that if you are not feeling well you are not doing your best work and it may very well be better to wait a day or two to get a real response rather than a half-hearted, half-focused response. Don't feel guilty at all as long as you are actually sick. You will also recover faster if you allow yourself to be sick. That will benefit everyone.

mrssoup said...

Migraines are the WORST. Anyone that has had them would understand. Anyone who hasn't, thinks they are just a headache.

I'm glad you are starting to feel better!

Magchunk said...

I get migraines too (and funny, Excedrin Migraine is all the works for me too). I've only had to leave early once, but I've definitely had to call in because I woke up with one. And trust me, if you were feeling how I've felt, you NEEDED to go home. Besides, wouldn't you have felt more guilty if you'd puked all over the carpet in your office? Yuck. Glad you're feeling better :)

Leila said...

How awful. Dehydration might be another reason for the migraines. Glad you are feeling better now though, it is always such a terrible feeling when your head is making you want to vomit.

Happy Tuesday!!

Soni said...

Oouch.... hope u never hv to deal with such bad headache ever again

Jennifer said...

I always feel guilty for calling in sick too! I always tough it out! But migraines are the worst!

Marcia said...

The guilt is not just for being Catholic. I don't have a religion and I too feel guilty for staying home from work. Last year I've had only 2 sickdays starting on Monday. I already returned to work on Wednesday. I did feel better, but I felt guilty for leaving my co-workers.

Silly....

Dollface said...

Um a nurse and a resting room? wow... can i have your job?? hope u feel better xxxooo

Ghazal said...

take care babes...

Michelle said...

I went home yesterday; I was really really sick, in and out of the bathroom and trying to toughen up and get through the day.

No dice.

I went and talked to my sub supervisor and she said to go home because I was starting to look red, flushed and about to passout.

I got home, fell asleep on the couch and slept for about two hours.

I still feel yucky, but I'm here chugging away on gingerale and eating soup.

Elizabeth said...

How miserable! I'm sorry.

Mallory and Kenny said...

Sorry to hear about your headache. It could be possible that they are caffeine headaches. AKA withdrawal from caffeine. I used to have them and they are as bad as a migraine if not worse. I quit drinking caffeine all together, and was miserable for a few days from the withdrawal but now I do not get those headaches anymore.

Can you please tell me more about this "resting room" and how someone books it?

A Dilettante's Perspective said...

Try a lavender scented eye pillow that's been left in the freezer. It may help only a little, but a little in your case might be better than none.

L.A. Daze said...

I hate that guilty feeling, but it's legit. My boss also suffers from migraines and NOTHING works for her. Her face literally goes numb. She gets botox shots twice a year, which keeps the migraines at bay - maybe you could try that?

Practically Perfect... said...

I am so sorry to hear about your migraines. My husband never gets sick, but during the 2 times he's had a migraine in the 4+ years we've been married, he has been completely ill. I can only imagine how terrible they are. I feel the same way about calling off work - horribly, horribly guilty, even if I'm truly sick. Sounds like you definitely needed to go home, so you shouldn't feel badly about it!

KitKat said...

Sorry to hear your's gets so bad. I get mild ones, I just get really sick, but once I get it out of my system I'm back to normal.

But that's awesome your office has a resting room. Pretty cool.

I work in a hotel so I guess I could just take one of the rooms and mark it's status out of order, but I'm always scared that housekeeping or engineering will walk in.

Ms. Salti said...

That is awful! Hope you're feeling better!

Lovin a Farm Boy said...

I often feel that way when I miss work. Usually I'm terrified that something will happen to someone in my class, or the poor sub left to deal with the crazies while I'm away. I threw up at work my first year, after that I got smarter about staying home when needed!

Kt said...

I think it's definitely the Catholic guilt kicking in - I am the EXACT same way when it comes to missing work.

Lauren Jade said...

my mom takes imitrex....definitely need your docotor to hook you up with that. its the only way.

A Country Wife said...

Ouch. I suffer from Migraines. About 4 years ago I found they were linked to Wheat. I had wondered about an intolerance for a while as I craved wheat a lot. Then I started getting ill with wheat and I had a 3-4 day migraine. A week later I had another 3 day migraine and decided to bite the bullet and stop eating wheat. The 5 days following felt like flu and for 3 years I didn't eat wheat or anything that was made from wheat. When I did I was sooooooo ill.
Since then I have been able to reintroduce wheat and the migraines are now linked to stress. I still keep an eye on my wheat intake though...

Migraines are awful and your co-workers will understand if you need to go home.

The Newlywed said...

I always feel very very guilty if I am not at work M-F 8am-5pm (and sometimes I even feel guilty if i leave right at 5). Whats wrong with us??

Lara said...

Hmmm. I've had migraines for the past 12 years, and the doctors have tested for everything. There's no apparent reason why I get them, but what I do know is that they are getting worse. I now have them 5 days out of 7, but they've been known to last for 9 days. 9 DAYS?!

I only recently found a doctor that took me seriously, and he's prescribed me Amitriptyline to take before I go to bed, and Sumatriptan, which I take when I first have an attack. The Sumatriptan works wonders; while it makes me feel awful in the first 30 minutes (migraine worsens, my limbs ache, and I yawn uncontrollably, which also isn't pleasant because my muscles ache), but it's well worth it - my headache is normally gone within the hour.

You will need to discuss it with your doctor to ensure you take what is right for you, but I hope you get it sorted as soon as possible. Migraines can be crippling, and I've spent the last 12 years cancelling on friends when migraines strike. Now I'm getting back on track and slowly working to control them.

Lindsay McHugh said...

I feel you on the guilt for leaving work early. I've suffered from chronic migraines for 10+ years - eliminated classes of drugs, had people accuse me of not being about to handle "a headache" ... awful stuff. Botox every 3-ish months and self-given injections for when I get attacks are what I have to do. It's good that you've found medicine that works for you, as you can't really do anything to eliminate them.

Candace Sheppard said...

Be careful with those headaches doll! They could be a sign that you are working too hard & not working hard to take care of you. Make sure you are hydrated & that you are eating properly. I've been there only I was working as an event planner at the time. Not taking care of me then is what still has me dealing with being sick now and trust you don't want that.

Jenn said...

how they feel unless they have them! I haven't had to call out of work or leave early yet because of one yet (I also have my fav Excedrin to get me through) but I know it might happen. I literally cannot be around people, lights, or anything, I need to be in a dark room and just sleep. I sometimes get nauesous too, I feel your pain, not fun! Don't feel guilty, it's a legitimate reason.

Now here's my HR side kicking in...if you realize they start to become a problem you can always go to your doctor to see what else they could do. You could apply for intermittent FMLA (that is a viable reason) so you would be protected if you had to miss work because of a migraine. Then you'd have that in your back pocket just in case. Keep us up to date, hope they get better!

Danielle said...

I started getting migraines during my freshman year of college. My mom had them basically once a month when I was growing up and I was devastated that the gene was passed on to me. They are AWFUL - my first migraine lasted 3 full days. Imitrex worked for me but always made me even more sick, so I had to take nausea meds with it.
Eventually I figured out that mine were linked to weird sleeping habits and stress... oh and the Atkins diet oddly enough.
KNOCK ON WOOD I haven't had one in a long time and I hope and pray they are gone forever.
Don't feel guilty for going home- be glad you left instead of throwing up in a trashcan at your desk!