Whenever I have a migraine, during the long hours of lying in the dark waiting for the agony to abate, there's a lot of time to think. One thing that always pops into my mind is an old sketch from The Catherine Tate Show.
Tate's foul-mouthed character Nan is setting the world to rights in a doctor's waiting room, when an ill-looking woman pipes up.
"I'm sorry, do you mind keeping it down? I suffer from terrible migraines..."
"Oh, I am sorry sweetheart I feel terrible for you. Don't feel you've got to explain anything to me. I feel dreadful. Would you like a mint?"
"I just need to see the doctor."
"Yeah, you go and see the doctor sweetheart, yeah. He'll sort you out. Aaaaaah."
At this point, the migraine-sufferer is called in by the doctor.
Then Nan lets rip.
"WHAT A F***ING LIBERTY! She's got HEADACHE! Sat in a doctor's surgery with a headache. Oh they want SHOOTING THEY REALLY DO."
When I have to cancel plans or call in sick because of my old adversary, I suspect that some people think I'm making a bit of a fuss over a headache. Having spent Good Friday and Saturday alternating between my sickbed and the bathroom floor, I'd like to remind everyone who isn't one of the eight million sufferers in Britain that a migraine ISN'T JUST A HEADACHE.
Not only is there the pain and the spavined vision, there's vomiting, and numbness too. As The Migraine Trust explains on its website, a migraine is a "complex neurological condition". Do spread the word. I tried to when I crawled to the chemist to get prescription migraine tablets, and the pharmacist made "helpful" suggestions as I waited. Had I tried painkillers? I'd rather just go straight for a gun, I said, trying for a friendly explanation of how I was feeling but ending up sounding insane.
Because the pain of a migraine does make me go a bit mad: whether it's fantasising about clawing my eye out or relieving the pressure with a spot of hand-drilling directly into my cranium.
The madness – and the pain – has subsided now, and I shudder to think of how the people who get migraines once or twice a week cope. Mine are every few months and look at the fuss I make. But if there's one thing you could do, when you next hear a colleague or friend has had one (and there are 190,000 migraine attacks every day in the UK), it's to say "poor you" rather than, "ooh, headaches are awful, aren't they?"Reuse content