#Migraines can't #kill you... one of the worst myths

Because of course they can. If you have chronic migraines and have visited a forum for just a year you will learn this fact clearly. It will occur to you if you know this fact from a small forum how many times does it occur in reality? Seemly when you speak to doctors it is so rare it is barely an issue at all. They brush it off. It is frightening at times how unconcerned they can be about the risks associated with migraine.  Migraine- Never again  in this article Ellen mentions some of the situations migraines may kill:

"How can Migraine kill? Here is a short list you may never have before considered:
  • Migrainous stroke;
  • medication side effect;
  • medical mistake;
  • misdiagnosis;
  • accidental overdose, even from simple over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen;
  • accident (often resulting from Migraine symptoms or side effects of medications)
  • the purposeful ending of a life (suicide) to escape unrelenting pain and other debilitating symptoms, severely reduced quality of live, the stigma associated with Migraine disease, and more.
I’ve been to conferences where I was shocked to hear the comment “Migraine never killed anyone.”  I thought, “Wow. They sure don’t live in my world. How can they not see what I see?” I was really confused and frustrated."
And perhaps she is right that the disparity in this belief comes from the fact cause of death is never listed as 'migraine' and doctors never know why their patients never return. Maybe it would be a good thing if they knew of the causes of death of their patients... maybe that would be a bit of a reality check.

This belief that migraines are not Dangerous however has directly affected me... and so I assume many, many others. I can list a few cases related to doctors but I am sure I am leaving out more, but the important ones were pretty damn important.

1) Status migraines: Status migraines are potentially dangerous. We are told to go to the ER if we have a migraine for more than three days that has not stopped. Has not been broken. Unrelenting. In the beginning I didn't know this so I didn't. When i learned this I did, but I soon found out the ER did very little About them. They also did not abort the migraines. They did exactly what they would do for any migraine, and no more, and didn't care if it didn't work. As if they did not believe me when I said it was a status migraine. So I stopped going every time, I got them so often and the ER was so painful an experience. But at times... they were brutal and lasted far more than three days and I would go, and it made little difference. I realized these people do not take migraines seriously. They do not think it is dangerous for me to be in this state for so long. They will not really help me. Plus there medication of choice, toradol shots, caused me a lot of stomach pain and IBS discomfort due to issues I have with that sort of thing. So I very rarely went. They keep track of how many times you go I found out, I assume to know if you are a drug seeker or exaggerating. Not that it ever made any difference. But I certainly didn't go for every status migraine, and eventually very, very rarely at that. And so it happened one day on like day for or five of a status migraine I woke up all groggy and confused from the pain to find half my hand was numb. A thick numbness that seemed so solid and cut my hand right in half, certainly nothing i had ever experienced before. And over the next few migraine days it spread over the hand until my whole hand was numb. Not an aura for sure. Then the migraine passed after about a week and a half ... the numbness remained, sort of changed into numbness, plus a prickly pain and temperature sensitivity. I went to my doctor he speculated it was a persistent aura... obviously that wasn't right. When to my neuro months later... he said it was permanent nerve damage caused by the status migraine. One neuro speculated I had a stroke in my sleep. So this says, yeah, status migraines comes with risks... but had I gone to the ER they wouldn't have aborted the migraine, so the risk would have remained... stroke and nerve damage combined, or just the nerve damage alone, either theory. Because they don't take the risks seriously. And I didn't go because they never took the risks seriously. But... if it was different and I had gone on day three and they were knowledgeable enough to understand the risks and put the effort into aborting that migraine I would not have the nerve damage I now have.

2) Suicide: unmanaged pain is a pretty high suicide risk factor I have discovered. Too much acute pain is maddening. And I can't see how someone would think otherwise. And yet doctors constantly diminish the significance of our suffering because they are afraid to treat the pain. I acknowledge treatment is complicated, but we are not idiots, we have been in pain a long time, we know rebound headache risks, we are not drug addicts... we simply want some quality of life and to be able to function. Trying to function when in too much pain, having no ability to control it or any options... well that is call raw desperation. And so I eventually tried to kill myself with some real spontaneous but adamant effort. My doctor was not even surprised. And why should he have been? I wasn't. Did he do anything about it, is the real question. And the answer would be no. Because that would require treatment of the pain. In fact, when he sent me to another neuro for a 'second opinion' he made it worse by taking away my weakly effective rescue medication. Now that was insanity. Almost believed he wanted me to kill myself. Because trust me after one failed attempt... I would know enough to get it right the second time. And the only thing stopping me was my family and living for others, is a rather sad way to exist. This obsession that painkillers and rescue medications are evil is pure insanity and they are simply increasing the suicide risk in people in too much pain to function, having to function, because doctors are not willing to claim they 'cannot work'... and so of course they are not surprised when we try or do kill ourselves. Yet they may fling NSAIDs like they are candy like it is somehow a better option... until it rots out your insides and you cannot take them anymore. When you say that at an ER 'adverse affects to NSAIDs' that just screams drug seeker, even though it was the doctors that screwed you by giving you too much for too long. But painkillers? God no. They are evil. So when someone commits suicide from migraines... I want to blame the doctors really... I want to scream at them 'why didn't you try to manage their pain? Why didn't you consider their quality of life? Why are you so obsessed with your image? And the stigma associated with opiates you cannot see past it to see how much they suffered? You would not have tolerated that sort of pain... and you expect someone else to? You caused this.' But of course, they don't see it that way. They don't see pain as a problem. Chronic migraines when daily and so very few can be treated and no effective preventative... a massive problem.

So I have had many, many status migraines not properly treated... any of which could potentially have caused me permanent harm or death... one of which has caused me permanent harm... one in the future of which may cause me permanent harm... the lack of understanding in this is pretty dangerous. And the suicide risk from pain alone is pretty dangerous when you consider how ambivalent some doctors are about treating pain. And that is just Two examples I have experienced myself. Ellen mentioned things like car accidents related to auras... well that could have happened to me as well... when you have no choice but to work, have persistent migraine auras and migraine associated vertigo, that is not a good situation to be driving at times. Medication side effects... my issue with NSAIDs had it been more internal, as in if I had not noticed the bleeding... a person most definitely can die from that.
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