Sunday, April 15, 2007

Friday 13th

Migraine-free and feeling well but for a slight earache which reminded me that I was supposed to use antibiotic eardrops on the rare occasions this developed. The doctor had provided me with an extra prescription for these after the last episode during which swabs were taken and tested to identify the culprit organism and select the most effective lethal agent. Sainsbury's pharmacy made up the script at lunchtime and on returning home I opened the packet to use the drops.

Drops? This time the Ciprofloxacin was in tablet form - a course of seven 500mg tablets to be taken one a day. Had Dr Watt changed the prescription or had Sainsbury's made it up wrongly I wondered, but took the first tablet at about 3pm. By 730pm a headache started and by 830pm I felt as if I had flu with aching joints and an elevated temperature. The headache got worse, my skin started aching, and then I started shaking uncontrollably before the first of many urgent visits to the loo. Breathing was becoming difficult and my top lip was swelling. My husband decided to check the Ciprofloxacin literature for side-effects which after the usual "these are generally well tolerated" comment mentioned all of the above as a reason to seek medical advice. So, he phoned NHS Direct (930pm) who asked to speak to me and took all the details before telling us to stand by for a call-back. The call back was another nurse who took the same details and told us to stand by for a call from a doctor "within 2 hours". When this came, around midnight, the advice was to go to the nearest A&E hospital for unspecified treatment.

Driving 30 minutes to A&E, in my condition, in the early hours of a Saturday morning did not seem like a good idea, and as by now my breathing was getting easier and the shaking had slowed down, we decided to stay at home, go to bed and review the situation in the morning.

The Ciprofloxacin side effects list included "increased pressure in the head" and "very severe headache with visual disturbance" and by 2 am, visual disturbance excepted, these had arrived. My temperature at this point was just over 100, I vomited a small amount into the bowl usually kept at the bedside during migraines, but breathing was no more difficult and the shaking had stopped. We got a few hours sleep and during Saturday the symptoms gradually subsided. For the record the headache was significantly more intense than Wednesday's.

Had it not been for the shaking, the high temperature and the swollen lip, this could have been just another migraine and I began to wonder if antibiotics, maybe traces remaining in intensively farmed meats could be a trigger factor.

The relationship between diet and migraine had impressed me since July 2000 when an article in the Daily Telegraph caught my eye. At the time I was worried that migraine would ruin my daughter's wedding which was planned for August 2001, so, clutching at straws, I adopted the diet with enthusiasm. In retrospect, the year on this diet was the most migraine free period I'd had, but the least gastronomically satisfying. After the wedding I gradually returned to a normal diet and when the migraines returned I was advised to go on to amitriptyline which seemed to work well - for a while. More of this in a later posting, but I now resolved to give the diet another go.