Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Migraine Price Tag

Had to take the day off work because I just couldn't push through this migraine. It started last Wednesday, so I'm 7 days into it. They often last 10 days or a full two weeks if they really get socked in. I've had a really good response to altering my diet, which I started in February. For example, this migraine hasn't had any visual disturbance, nausea or crushing facial pain. All good.

But my worst trigger is an incoming low barometric pressure system, with the most severe coming in spring and fall, when the temperature has deep fluctuations. We've had several days of nice shirtsleeve weather, quick cool-off to jacket weather, warm up, etc. Today we're getting the rumbles of thunder with exciting weather predicted for tonight. It's the tail-end of the first storm of hurricane season that hit the Florida area last week.

My head doesn't like that. My sister discovered that early cultures revered the storm seer, who warned the village or tribe against weather disasters. I've been working at rewriting my inner tapes to include: No longer have to warn your tribe to seek shelter. We've got Dopler radar for that.

It must be partially working. This was the first time I've had to take a migraine day off in a long, long time.

It got me thinking about this woman I read about, Hildegard von Bingen who lived in 12th century Germany. She was an abbess at a Rhineland monastery, who received visions from childhood. She was also extremely intelligent and multitalented, a political figure, writer, composer, physician, theologian and spiritual counselor.

"She had visions of the cosmic egg, Hiranyagarbha," (writes an anonymous Geocities author that I would like to credit but can't) "and in a forthright manner described the shiva-shakti elements of God."

She even recorded the first account of female orgasm from a woman's perspective:

"When a woman is making love with a man, a sense of heat in her brain, which brings with it sensual delight, communicates the taste of that delight during the act and summons forth the emission of the man's seed. And when the seed has fallen into its place, that vehement heat descending from her brain draws the seed to itself and holds it, and soon the woman's sexual organs contract, and all the parts that are ready to open up during the time of menstruation now close, in the same way as a strong man can hold something enclosed in his fist."

Since she held up virginity as a physical state toward higher spiritual understanding, her opinion of orgasm seem impressive.

Most intriguing to me is her reputation as a seer who had migraines. According to Angus Calder in Gods, Mongrels and Demons Hildegard "was acutely sensitive to weather, especially in storms and wind." She wrote extensively about her migraine symptoms, as she wrote about all natural phenomena.

As I tried to will myself past the paralyzing crush of pain this morning, I thought about Hildegard and her inability to at least take the narcotic painkiller that made today slightly bearable. I hope with all of my heart that God sent her some form of relief.

But it does fit in my with my Retail Theory of The Universe. Everything has a price tag. If there's a big ticket item, there's a mighty high price attached. Now if only I could get a bead on what I'm making those account-emptying payments for.


Christine said...

I hope you are feeling better soon! Here is something I saw that might take your mind off of your head. I thought of you as soon as it came through one of the loops I'm on.


julia said...

Thanks, Christine!

annette said...

{{{Julia}}} Hope you feel better soon.

I learn all kinds of interesting things from your blog. You're a font of cool information! :-)

toni said...

I'm sorry, Julia. I've only had a handful of migraines, but one was so awful (flashing lights, hearing heartbeat in my ear, crippling and wretched nausea, crushing pain at the base of my skull PLUS across my forehead and temples) that I ended up in the ER. One shot for pain, another for nausea, a CT Scan and a prescription later, I was sent home. And it took a full two weeks before the pain at the base of my skull subsided.

OUCH! I hope you're feeling much better soon. My online friend Jeannie has had a constant migraine (every moment of every day) for several years now. Depression has set in at times. I feel so bad for her and for you.

Annie Mac said...

I'm struggling with the migraine thing this week too Julia. I gave up on all the spiritual, meditation, stress relief stuff in favour of some good meds.

Hope you feel better.

julia said...

I hope your head calms down soon, Annie Mac.

Kelly said...

Hope your noggin's feeling better soon!

julia said...

Thanks, everyone - your wishes are sure to help.

Toni, pass on my heartfelt wishes that your online friend finds relief somehow.

Akelamalu said...

This is going to sound really gross, but the only way I could get rid of a migraine was to make myself sick! Thankfully I seem to have grown out of the migraines now, my stomach is relieved!