Brake. Release. Inch forward. Brake again. Repeat ad nauseum. Literally too. Thus was blended the perfect recipe for concocting my first migraine.
My college roommate Helen, and I had driven to Los Angeles from Tucson, AZ for a spring break week of fun at some of the hot tourist spots and theme parks. In 1979, banks gave away all kinds of gifts or special promotions. It was through one local Tucson bank that we scored a great vacation deal at a very cheap price.
On this particular day, we had just finished an awesome tour of Universal Studios. I’d eaten a cheese dog for lunch and shortly afterward remember developing quite an evil headache that went beyond my normal. Helen and I got on a big Grayline bus that would take us back to our hotel. There weren’t a lot of people, so we sat separately, which turned out to be a really good thing.
It was the height of rush hour traffic. Just easing out of Universal Studios and onto the freeway took a vast amount of time. With each lurch forward and subsequent squeal of the bus’s brakes, my head pounded more exhuberantly and my stomach curdled. All I wanted was to get back to the hotel and lay down. But I was not to be rewarded in a timely manner.
I got to the point of becoming physically sick. What do you do when you’re on a bus with no restroom, and you’re in the middle of crawling LA freeway traffic? For me the choices were purse, blue nylon jogging jacket or floor. Bye bye jogging jacket. I don’t think anyone was aware of the deed I’d done, except maybe the keenly attuned bus driver who looked at me a couple times through his large rearview mirror. I’m sure he thought I’d left him a surprise.
Instead, I committed my one and only act of flagrant littering. The bus driver dropped us off a few blocks from the hotel. I wasn’t about to carry the jacket all that way, so I crept part way up the freeway underpass where we had been let off and left the jacket in the mix of other trash. Sorry Los Angeles.
Never was I more thankful to rest when we arrived back at the hotel. A few hours later, I mustered enough will to go along with Helen to a nearby restaurant. I didn’t want to ruin her fun, and the worst was over by then.
I had no idea that what I experienced then was a migraine. I had subsequent attacks in the next few years, and I always referred to them as “sick headaches”. During my first pregnancy in 1985, the headaches amped up in frequency and duration. I was diagnosed for the first time in 1986. It was at that point when I realized I’d had my first migraine at 22 years of age on that brakes-on-brakes-off bus ride from hell.
National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation
The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by http://www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com