I was terrified and embarrassed the first time I went to the emergency room for a migraine attack. I had just been diagnosed and wasn’t sure if a headache was “worthy” of an ER visit.

I awoke with a terrible migraine that morning. I couldn’t even move. I recall calling my mother and seeking her advice. She made some recommendations based on what had previously worked for her. She did advise me to go to the ER if I began vomiting.

Sure enough, about an hour later, after I’d called off work, I started vomiting. Even when I’m sick with the flu or have an upset stomach, I don’t usually vomit. So it’s a big deal when I throw up.

When I called my mother back, she suggested that I go to the emergency room. My migraine had become almost unbearable by this point, and I was in tears. She offered to drive me, but I didn’t think I could stand waiting for her for 15 minutes. My headache was truly excruciating!

I got in my car and hoped that I wouldn’t have an accident on the way. I’d puked again before starting my drive to the ER. I was thinking about it as I drove, and I hadn’t been to the ER in a long time – at least not for myself. Fortunately, the nearest emergency room was only a short drive away, and parking was simple.

I could hardly walk by the time I arrived at the front desk. As I approached the stern-looking woman, I was unsure how she would react to what some people refer to as “just a headache.”

As I looked around the room, I was embarrassed to see some people with significant and visible injuries. When I told the woman I was there for a severe migraine and that I had been vomiting all morning, she seemed to look at me sympathetically. She had the appearance of someone who had migraines.

I considered drinking some water, but I didn’t want to take any chances. I went up to the front desk a few times to check on my status and to inform the same people who had heard it the first two times that I was still waiting, in pain, and that things were getting worse.

It was the sweetest sound to finally hear my name. I walked slowly to the back, where the majority of the visit was a haze of lights, nurses checking my vitals and then questioning me. They could tell I was nearing the end of my energy. I was willing to go to any length to end the agony. Those are crazy thoughts, but anyone who has been through this level of agony understands.

Migraine Canada - Going to the Emergency Department

There was a little more waiting, but not before the nurse (like a true saint) gave me some pain reliever to help take the edge off. It helped a little while I waited for the doctor to come check on me, which seemed like another 4 days.

I remember taking the best nap ever once I was in bed, my migraine finally gone. I awoke and gorged myself on my favourite foods that my parents had left for me. It had been a long day for me, and my compassion for people who are in constant pain has grown.

I’ve only had to go to the ER twice since then for migraines. I’m thankful that my migraines are generally under control at the moment.

On Facebook, you can connect with other migraine sufferers. In our Migraine Support Community, you can learn, share, and connect.

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