Stranded In The Southland

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Migraine!? Doh!

Well, I set out this morning for a day of climbing with the Rocksuckers club out near Big Bear Lake. The rock there turned out to be less grainy, and less grippy, than the rock at Joshua Tree, and each climb was rather longer.

Unfortunately, these longer climbs seem to have done me in. On my second climb, I really had to work to finish it up, sweating and grunting and desperately holding on to get to the top. Not very elegant, I'm afraid.

Even worse, I started to experience the annoying visual artifacts that indicate the onset of a migraine. I've been getting these for years, since I was in college, whenever as a result of stress or pushing myself too hard physically.

They start out with weird floating shapes in my field of vision, usually glowing green or multiple colors, sometimes pulsing. These small shapes gradually expand to cover my complete field of vision, making it hard to discern anything. It's like looking through a television tuned to no channel -- covered in snow.

Then I start to get a headache, and my fingers and lips turn numb. It gets hard to talk clearly, and my stomach starts hurting. Finally, I'm sick to my stomach.

If I take a phenergen pill in time, I can avoid being sick to my stomach. Sometimes, I can avert the problem early on by taking some caffeine.

It'd been a couple of years since I'd had a migraine, partially because I can usually remember to stop trying so hard before I trigger one. When I'm hiking, I keep a watch on my pulse rate, and stop when I hit anything about 160 bpm or so.

Alas, I was so caught up in the climb that I didn't pay attention to the warning signs.

To the good, it seems like I managed to lay back and rest for a bit, and the visual artifacts lifted. I hauled ass down the one-mile trail to my car, got a big soda at a store down the road, and immediately started feeling better.

After all that, though, I figured I'd better get on home while I still felt okay. I can still remember an hour-and-a-half drive home from an autocross where my head felt like it was in a vice. Better to get home while I still felt okay.

It turns out, miraculously, that I'm okay now. The headache didn't hit. Oh, well, I'll just have to be more careful on future rock climbing trips. Oh, yeah, and now I'll carry NoDoze tablets, so at least I'll have some caffeine when I need it!

[The preceeding bit of Too Much Information was created entirely in keeping with this blog's stated subject: me, me, me, 24x7. I guess I still haven't decided whether this is a diary or a blog. In any case, I promise, no Deep Thoughts.]