The Monkey On My Back

I have a monkey on my back. He’s called Complex Migraine. I take daily medication to stave off the effects of him and have medication for when he visits. I even have shots to give myself if CM gets to the point where the oral medication just isn’t helping. I pray every day that I won’t have a visit from CM because he renders the rest of my day useless and usually does the same to the following day. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I live in constant “fear” of him, but he is an ever-presence on my mind.

If this seems extreme to you, maybe you’re just not familiar with complex migraines. A migraine isn’t just a bad headache. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone has a bad headache and complains that she is having a “migraine.” If that’s the case, here’s some symptoms that should accompany that “migraine” that she’s having.

The first sign I’m having a migraine is that I begin to lose my vision. I begin seeing stars or pinpoints of my vision are taken away. This can be a big issue if I have to drive myself home or am already driving. Yikes! Another indicator of a migraine is that I’ll start to experience numbness. Where this numbness occurs varies. Sometimes it is only my hand, arm, foot, or leg. However, if my mouth and/or throat starts to go numb, I have had issues breathing. Not a predicament I want to repeat. After these indicators, I get the pain in my head. The unbearable, horrendous pain that makes light, sound, and even the feel of sheets against my skin feel like torture. If the pain gets too bad, I begin to vomit and can’t stop. Yeah, it’s gotten that bad before, too. In that case, I have the shot to give myself because obviously I can’t keep down the oral medication to make the migraine go away. In severe cases, I have to be rushed to the emergency room. My family and some of my friends have been witnesses to this.

I’ve written two poems about my experiences with migraines. Hopefully these will help further illustrate my ordeal with migraines.

Dark Demon
Tiny pinpoints of light
Obscuring my vision
Impossible to see the
Whole
Warning Me
Of the upcoming pain
Left fingers becoming numb
Toes aching but no feeling
Praying the numbness will not
Climb
To my tongue
Taking my voice
Or to my throat
Stealing my
Breath
Numbness on left
Pain on right
Take the pill
Hop in bed
Pray for a quick recovery
… that doesn’t come…
Pain ravages my body
The only reprieve
Vermillion vomit
But now it won’t stop
Sirens outside the window
Light, sound
Make it stop…
… Riding…
Needle in my arm
Sweet bliss as it goes in
Reprieve from the pain as
It enters
Drugs trickle in
Turning my body to
Cerulean ice
Covered with sterile blankets
Tomorrow my brain will be
Mush
Recovery will take days
But right now
I thank God for the
Drugs of the White Knight
Chasing the
Dark Demon of the
Migraine.

Bruised Banana
I’m having trouble stringing words together
On the clothesline called sentences.
I can’t seem to make a connection
Between my hand and the item I’m reaching for.
My words they come out garbled,
A ball of yarn put up messy.
The word I search for can’t be found,
A building block needed to complete the set.
I got in a fight with a foe last night called Migraine
And Lost.
He’s beaten me twice in three days
Yet I showed up today.
I’m over the pain, over the vermillion vomit.
I have my vision again, and the numbness has rescinded.
Yet my relentless foe has left his calling card—
His footprint—reminding me he won.

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