Migraines and Spring

Kage Baker suffered from migraines all her life. They were perfectly awful at times – the kind where the sufferer gives serious consideration to sawing their own head off, or taking a  drill to her temple … she always claimed that it was only that the headaches rendered her both non-sentient and uncoordinated with pain that prevented self-surgery.

Like many migraine victims, there was no real reason for her headaches that was ever found. Sometimes these things turn out to be caused by infections, or epilepsy, or weird vascular deformities of the dura mater, or alien bugs. Kage would have welcomed any of them, if it meant the migraines could have been cured. But the times the pain in her head was due to something actionable were but two. The first was a sinus infection so bad her face bruised on the outside, and we had to argue with the hospital staff to convince them she had not been beaten up and needed antibiotics. The second time was when we discovered she had a brain tumour; and that had its own bad ending … on the other hand, Kage got morphine for the pain, and was delighted to finally get some relief even if she was terminal. After all, why should be dying be any worse than absolutely necessary?

That was also when we discovered Kage was allergic to oxycodone. She thought it was hilarious that they had to take her off the most abused new prescription drug in America, only to put her on one of the oldest. She had me find poppies to put in her room, to celebrate.

I have been much more fortunate. I get migraines, yes, at least since menopause; but they rarely have much pain. What has been the worst spur has been cataracts – they got really fierce when the left eye began to go bad. These last 3 weeks, the same thing has begun to happen with the right eye – the cataract has evidently reached that stage in its malign little life when it races full-tilt to the edge of pain and blindness.  I can almost hear it chortling when my ears begin to ring and the black and silver thorns spread across my vision … it has a squeaky, pissy little voice.

However, this time I am forewarned and will not submit. I have promptly appealed to my ophthalmologist, and the second operation is scheduled for Monday, April 24th. Then it will just be a case of getting new spectacles – because both my eyes will be working better – and my old age will enjoy much better vision than even my youth!

Since I cannot seem to get in on this supposed opioid addiction deal, a diminution of headache pain will be grand.

I’ll miss a few days on the blog here and there, when the eyes go wonky – but that too shall pass! And I’ll be in a much better mood. In the meantime, I shall stagger on. Writing is coming more easily (between thorn attacks), and my vacation from social media is an extraordinary relief.

The season is waxing sweet. The Mama Hummingbird is serene and safe outside the kitchen window; she’s even gotten used to the daily sound of the coffee grinder. Little squirrels are chasing one another through the mulberry tree – some of them are becoming tolerant of us, and will wait just above our heads while we fill the feeder, chittering at us. There are flowers everywhere. All the hills are cloudy with blue and orange and yellow, where lupine and poppies and mustard are blooming. Easter is coming.

And, anyway, I don’t need both eyes to eat a chocolate bunny.



About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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4 Responses to Migraines and Spring

  1. Dina says:

    Hey Kate, if you have bird feeders that are on a spike that is tall and want only the birds to have the feed. Put a slinky attached to the base of the feeder. When the squirrels try to climb the pole and get to the slinky they will have a rapid trip to the ground. I watched one till I was crying and laughing so hard my tummy hurt. The squirrel eventually found the dish that had food for it on the ground. Glad to hear that your vision is about to get really good again, Good, nay, Grand Health to ya! Happy Spring!


    • Kate says:

      Strange to say, Dina, what we have on our porch *is* a squirrel feeder – and the problem is the birds raiding it. We’ve taken to adding small black oil sunflower seeds just so the sparrows will leave the peanuts alone. What they’d been doing previously was dragging out a peanut, then spending an hour bludgeoning it to death so they can separate the shell fibres for nesting material and peck the actual peanuts to itty bitty pieces. Though I must admit, it’s hilarious to watch a wee bird dismantling a peanut with manic determination … the blue jays and ravens just wait for the squirrels to bury the nuts in the lawn and then go dig ’em up on the sly. There *is* a hawk that sometimes comes and sits in the tree next to the feeder – but he doesn’t seem to quite understand why no squirrels OR little birds come out to play while he’s there …


  2. mizkizzle says:

    Migraines are horrible. Have you ever tried explaining how bad they are to someone who has never experienced one? My husband has had maybe three headaches in his entire life, normal ones that go away with a couple of aspirin and a Coke. He has no idea that a regular headache is to a migraine as an anole is to a Komodo dragon. He saw me lying flat on my back in bed one time, the blinds drawn, the heels of my hands pressed over my eyes, and remarked, “I guess it hurts, huh?”


    • Kate says:

      Most people cannot understand what they have never felt, it’s true. And if you’ve never experienced the kind of headache where your *hair* hurts, or the world looks like a bad acid trip, or if you’ve never tried to drill into your own head with a Makita – well, it’s hard to imagine, I guess.


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