So on the occasion of a cluster headache returning from exile, I offer a look back on my five most-memorable cluster headaches.
No. 5 - May 1998
You never forget your first time right? The newness of it all. Fumbling around, wondering what is happening and what is this unbelievable sensation that feels like a drill boring through your right temple, right behind the eye socket, and why won’t it just break through already and stop this pain. Is it an aneurysm? Why can I almost feel the blood trying to snake its way through a shrunken artery on the side of my face?
No. 4 - Marquette Men’s basketball game in 2004
My best friend had an extra ticket for a Marquette game and I tagged along. Sometime in the second half my head exploded in pain. As I am want to do, I dealt with it as long as I could before I had to get up and leave. I found refuge in the stairwell, and I think I missed the end of the game because the headache wouldn’t go away.
No. 3 - December 26, 2004
I had driven my grandparents to Minneapolis for Christmas, and on the way back to Wisconsin a headache struck. We pulled over somewhere around Eau Claire I think and we sat in the car until the attack subsided. Thankfully both were understanding, though concerned.
No. 2 - New Years Eve in 2004
We had big plans for the night, and we gathered at some friends’ apartment. Wasn’t long before I was completely debilitated from a headache. While everyone else went out, I writhed in pain on the couch, waiting for it all to stop.
No. 1 - When I met my future in-laws and relatives for the first time in 2003
Shawn had just graduated – middle of May again – and we all gathered at a Madison bar for drinks. Maybe an hour after we got there the shadows headaches started to creep in, and before long it was a full-fledged cluster. I dealt with it as long as I could, but eventually had to take refuge in the car in a parking garage. Needless to say I missed the rest of the night. But I made an impression. More than a year later when I next saw Shawn’s uncle he asked how my headaches were.