I can tell when one of them has scented me out and is tracking me. We are a prey species, however much men like to think of themselves as mighty hunters. Douglas Adams knew it when he defined “ely” (which is pronounced “eelee”) as “the first, tiniest inkling you get that something, somewhere has gone terribly wrong.” We can tell.
There’s a word he didn’t define though, for the first, tiniest inkling you get that a migraine has found you. That it has sniffed you out from the whole of the rest of migraine-suffering humanity. That it is hunting you down, waiting to stroke you and suffocate you. Waiting to turn you into pain, hallucinations and vomiting.
Then, like a victorian parent, the migraine will sit beside you on the bed smoothing your forehead and telling you kindly that it is for your own good. It is because you have been doing to much, driving too far, working too late. If you won’t take a rest, it says with benign sanctimony, then I will make you take a rest. You know you need a rest. You know you need me.
Triptanes help. If triptanes were not proof of the efficacy of science, they’d be proof of the beneficence of a god. But the only real defence, and the only real cure, is sleep.
I bargain with my migraines. “Look”, I say. “I’ll take this little tablet today, but tomorrow I’ll spend the whole day in bed. I know you are right,” I say slyly, “I do need to rest. But I am busy today. Spare me today. Please”.
Sometimes it works.