I always know when a migraine is coming, because there are a series of unpleasant pre-migraine symptoms that I go through. First there's the visual weirdness, where I can't really focus on any one object, and everything in my vision is sorta fading in and out. Then comes the phase where the part of my brain that deals with formulating thoughts and whatever part deals with actually turning that into language and speech seems to be basically disconnected . It's like I can think of a concept or idea that I want to say, but when it tries to come out of my mouth, I'm either speaking completely different words or else actual nonsense. And lastly I move into the stage where consecutively different parts of my body goes numb one at a time - my foot, then my arm, then my mouth, etc. And then finally it's time for the awesome pounding headache to kick in.
The good news, though, is that as soon as the symptoms start, I know a migraine's coming and can often head it off by taking Excedrin. Unfortunately, that has aspirin in it, which - who knew? - can cause a breastfed baby to experience random and dangerous hemorrhaging! According to the internet (which, I agree, is not an expression that should inspire a ton of confidence) after taking aspirin, you should not breastfeed for several hours, then things should be alright. Newborns don't wait a couple hours. So this means I've been forced to deplete my precious and already-tiny stores of pumped milk in the freezer, thus prolonging any longed-for baby-free excursions on my part.
The second pre-migraine stage - the brain-not-working one - is my favorite. When I was going through that craziness last week, we happened to be driving back home in the car. Tom had never actually been present when I was experiencing my pre-migraine symptoms (in the past, he's only had the joy of coming home from work to a wife in an excellent mood due to a long day of migraine-suffering), so I think he didn't really believe me when I warned him about the whole not being able to speak properly part. The rest of the ride basically looked like this: Tom driving the car at a very unsafe speed, trying to get me home in time to take some drugs before the headache got worse, me laughing/crying in frustration at my completely failed attempts to say anything I wanted to say to him, and Tom just getting a total kick out of the whole thing.
I tried for a full minute to get out the word "mouth", without being able to clearly wrap my head around the word for mouth, only the concept of it (i.e. "that thing on my face that's supposed to be speaking the right words for me right now, but is totally letting me down"). I eventually had to point to my actual mouth, and ask "what's this called?!!".
Tom then gave me a little test. He pointed at a sign, asking me to read it. The sign said "runaway truck ramp." "Okay, I've got this", I thought, as I confidently said, "trutch!" Tom burst out laughing, and told me to try that again. But even the word had already flitted out of my confused little brain. I had to ask him to repeat the word again just so I could hear it. He did, only for me to say again, "trutch"....about eight more times! We finally gave up on that one. The next sign said exit: "Edgup!". Tom burst out laughing again, and I finally decided to give up. We arrived home, and I lay on the couch, resigning all attempts to speak for a while.
This same verbal-impairment stage provided some more amusement today. As it was just starting up, I became convinced that I could fool it. I was certain that my brain didn't work properly only if I actually tried to speak, but that it would be fine if I was writing. I typed off an e-mail to my husband, convinced that it made perfect sense. Several hours later, I came back to the computer and saw his response saying that he wasn't even going to try to understand me because he had no idea what I was trying to say. Huh? I looked back to see what I'd sent:
Ha! That's awesome. And that e-mail was after I'd gone through a few times and edited some of the more obvious mistakes. The worst part is, though, that after sending what I believed to be a perfectly coherent e-mail to my husband this morning, I felt confident enough to use the next fifteen minutes to finish writing (and mailing off!) a pile of thank-you cards to Tom's various relatives who have sent baby gifts recently!! Yes sir, they're going to think very highly of the obviously intelligent woman Tom chose for his wife...