Thursday, 28 March 2013



Jess has got herself a 'floppy blue microwave'...

Jess pre floppy blue microwave days

I've had several over the years, you may have had one yourself! Of course up until now only three people knew what a floppy blue microwave actually is. Me, Deb and Jess. And no it's not the boater's next 'must have gadget'

I've suffered with migraines for years. The first one I can remember occurred when I was about twelve years old. I can't remember the phases just the pain, vomiting and days of Zombie like recovery afterwards. Attacks came and went over the years and the only thing I don't know about my migraines are what triggers them. I know what doesn't - I once had a coffee, brie and chocolate binge just to see what happened. Nothing.  Unfortunately a lot of them used to happen after a busy week at work once I had started to relax. The only thing worse than a six day, seventy hour working week is getting a migraine ten minutes into your one day off. 

A few years ago the some of the symptoms of my migraines changed. The first phase became more noticeable. 

Phase one is the Prodrome. Potential symptoms of the prodrome are:

1. food cravings
2. constipation or diarrhea
3. mood changes — depression, irritability, etc.
4. muscle stiffness, especially in the neck
5. fatigue
6. increased frequency of urination
7. yawning

The 2,3,4 and 6 can be regular symptoms for me.

Phase two is the aura, not just flashing lights as many think

1. visual: flashing lights, wavy lines, spots, partial loss of sight, blurry vision
2. olfactory hallucinations — smelling odors that aren't there
3. paresthesia - tingling or numbness of the face or extremities on the side where the headache develops.
4. aphasia - difficult finding words and/or speaking
5. confusion
6. dizziness
7. neck pain
8. partial paralysis (only in hemiplegic Migraine)
9. auditory hallucinations — hearing things that aren't really there
10. decrease in or loss of hearing
11. reduced sensation
12. allodynia - hypersensitivity to feel and touch
13. brief flashes of light that streak across the visual field (phosphenes)

For me - 1, 3 (bottom lip left hand side), 4,5,6,7, number 8 happened only once thank goodness it was just like a mini-mini stroke, and rarely 11

Phase three is the headache. 

1. headache pain that is often unilateral — on one side. This pain can shift to the other side or become bilateral.
2. Although Migraine pain can occur at any time of day, statistics have shown the most common time to be 6 a.m. It is not uncommon for Migraineurs to be awakened by the pain.
3. Because trigeminal nerve becomes inflamed during a Migraine, Migraine pain can also occur in the areas of the eyes, sinuses, and jaw.
4. This phase usually lasts from one to 72 hours. In less common cases where it lasts longer than 72 hours, it is termed status Migrainous, and medical attention should be sought.
5. The pain is worsened by any physical activity.
6. phonophobia — increased sensitivity to sound
7. photophobia — increased sensitivity to light
8. osmophobia — increased sensitivity to odors
9. neck pain
10. nausea and vomiting
11. diarrhea or constipation
12. nasal congestion and/or runny nose
13. depression, severe anxiety
14. hot flashes and chills
15. dizziness
16. vertigo - sensation of spinning or whirling (not to be confused with dizziness or light-headedness)
17. confusion
18. dehydration or fluid retention, depending on the individual body's reactions

That's quite a list isn't it? For me - 1, left side 2, about four am 3 eyes feel like they're about to explode 4, luckily no more than a couple of hours for me 5, hmmm never tried that 6,7,8 and 9 always! 15, 17 and 18 to a lesser extent. 

Phase four is Postdrome

1. lowered mood levels, especially depression
or feelings of well-being and euphoria
2. fatigue
3. poor concentration and comprehension
4. lowered intellect levels

Yup all of them a at times but the worst thing is that phase for can last a while. After a very short, sharp headache phase, I have had postdrome last for a week. 

Phase two number four is where the 'floppy blue microwave' comes in.

We were all stood in out hallway in Poole. From memory we were doing a bit of sorting out and were making a trip to the charity shop to get rid of a few nick-nacks. What we really needed was a large container so we could take a load and be in and out in minutes, this was my only day off after all, and of course I had a migraine not a bad one as frequently I had bad stage one, two and four but not too much of a stage three - the headache. 

I was stood at the bottom of the stairs "what we need is the floppy blue microwave" no reaction from Deb and Jess " you know, the big floppy blue microwave!!" I was getting wound up now. The girls looked at each other with smiles on their faces and said " what are you on about" they repeated what I said but my brain had translated to it's new migraine language and it made perfect sense to me. " the floppy blue microwave, it's outside the garage with the old tiles in!" - " that's a floppy green bucket" Deb had finally made the connection. We needed the big floppy GREEN BUILDERS BUCKET. 

Since then severe attacks (that caused me no end of difficulties at work, especially phase four which can have poor concentration, comprehension and impaired intellect levels) are known as 'floppy blue microwaves' - and this week Jess had got one of her very own and got sent home from work because nobody knew what the bloody hell she was talking about :-) 

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