But we didn’t actually die there

By Mir
January 16, 2015

If you’ve been reading here since the dawn of time, you might recall that I had a hysterectomy at a pretty young age. My uterus was a complete asshole, and both of my ovaries were bitches. In the space between my first period and the triumphant day when I bid the plumbing good riddance, I dealt with debilitating cramps, excessive bleeding, countless ruptured cysts, infertility and pregnancy loss, and let us not forget the endless migraine headaches. Basically I was a mess. I am much happier without any rogue organs, and I love receiving a small, controlled (read: non-system-poisoning) dose of hormones via the miracle of modern pharmaceuticals. I take juuuust enough to stave off the hot flashes and a full beard.

I’ve had… maybe… two? three, tops? migraines since my hyst (over a decade ago). I kind of forgot about them. Maybe I did forget about them, kind of, until my darling daughter lay sobbing on the kitchen floor yesterday morning, moaning about how she could feel the blood pulsing through her head and the light was too bright and was she dying?

Ohhhhh, pumpkin. No, not dying. You thought menses was when you became a woman? NOPE. First migraine; that’s when shit gets real. Sorry, baby. Welcome to womanhood in our family! It sucks.

I did all of the things I could remember for her, yesterday, and many ice packs and hours of sleeping and Excedrin later, she asked to be taken to school for a test she didn’t want to miss. She made it through the test but didn’t look so hot, after. I put her to bed early last night, hoping she’d be better today.

Of course she woke up today with the migraine back at full-force, because if there’s anything my children love, it’s being as sick as possible on a Friday so that I have to decide if they need a doctor rightthissecond or if I’m willing to gamble on needing to hit Urgent Care over the weekend. (I kid. She certainly wasn’t doing it on purpose, and she has all my sympathy because migraines are the WORST.)

I decided to take her to the pediatrician because clearly she was going to need a prescription med for relief, as Excedrin was barely making a dent. And while I hope this is an isolated incident… well, probably it’s not. Better to get checked out and have some meds on hand.

You know how we have middle schools here in America? We should really have something like that for doctors, between a pediatrician and a internist. Chickadee smiled at all the babies and toddlers in the waiting room and then pointed to a cartoon poster that proclaimed “You’re our star patient!”

“Oh boy!” she said. “I’m a star!” I chuckled. “Also,” she continued, “maybe I am a little old to still be coming here?” I resisted the urge to tell her that just because she’s almost 17 doesn’t mean she’s not my PRESHUS LITTLE BABYKINS. I didn’t need to, though, because before I had a chance, we were whisked off into an exam room, and my grown child complained that there were no princesses on the walls like there are in the room she usually gets. HA.

Our doctor is very kind and patient, and both gave us a prescription for migraine meds and insisted I take Chickie to be evaluated by a neurologist, which is AWESOME, because Murphy’s Law teaches us that setting up such an appointment virtually guarantees she will NEVER have another migraine! I like how the doc thinks ahead like that.

Back in the car, I asked Chickadee if she thought she could handle 15 minutes at the pharmacy so we could get her meds, and she said she supposed, so rather than take her home and go out again, I went to get her meds.

This is where everything kind of went off the rails. I guess this was the first time I’d gone to pick up prescriptions since the new year, and even though we did not switch insurance this year, our insurance—which has, for the umpteenth year in a row, raised its premiums, copays, and deductibles, while covering even less than ever before!—magically infiltrated the computer system at the pharmacy and insisted we no longer had any coverage. At all. Of any kind.

Of course, we waited 20 minutes before the pharmacy tech told us this.

No problem! Here is her insurance card. Surely you can just update the info.

“This is your old card, ma’am.” Oh. Um. Whoops?

The tech called the insurance company while I texted Otto. Did he have our new cards? No, he gave them to me, he said. He did? I didn’t seem to have them. Was he sure? Pretty sure. WELL I DON’T HAVE THEM AND THEY WON’T GIVE US HER MEDS. Otto was delighted to hear from me, I’m sure. Meanwhile, Chickadee was curled up in a chair in the corner, just wanting her damn Imitrex.

In the middle of all of this, the tech also told me that a different prescription we’d dropped off was written incorrectly and couldn’t be filled at all. That was for one of Chickie’s daily meds and came from a different doctor’s office, where HER doc has been out on leave and the series of rotating fill-in docs have either messed up or completely forgotten her prescription EVERY MONTH SINCE, and so that was a great bonus on top of the rest of it.

Eventually Otto texted me a picture of HIS insurance card, which I was able to give to the tech, who was able to use it to convince the computer that we actually have insurance. “All set,” she said. “Just give us 15 minutes or so, we’ll call you.

It was more like half an hour, but no matter, at least we were finally getting her meds. Also, we had some other meds there to pick up, so there were kind of a lot of bags. A different tech started scanning them. I watched on the register monitor at they started popping up at $83… $225… $54.12….

“UHHHHHHHH…” I said, unable to form anything coherent with my mouth parts.

“Do you not have insurance?” she asked, finally, noticing the total.

Through a combination of strangled grunting and gesticulation, I somehow got THAT tech to talk to the OTHER tech, and after a brief consultation I heard a huffed, “Well no one told ME that the insurance had to be redone!” She came back over. “It’s going to be just a few more minutes to straighten this out.”

I pulled out my phone and texted Otto: “WE ARE GOING TO DIE HERE AT THE PHARMACY. I WILL MISS YOU.” (Always one to roll with the punches, Otto texted back, “You know what I wish you could do? Use some more of your dramatic training for day to day purposes.”)

By now Chickadee was leaning on my shoulder, looking decidedly pale, and asking if we were ever leaving. I stroked her hair and put on my most winning smile and caught the tech’s eye. “Is there ANY way we could get our hands on one of those pills while we get this sorted out?” I asked. She took one look at Chickie and brought the Imitrex right over (there is a God).

We ended up stuck there for about another 20 minutes, but eventually everything was received and charged correctly and paid for and there were only about 5 people in line behind us who hated our guts. So… yay?

And did you know that you can only get 9 Imitrex at a time? It’s true! That means we could potentially do this whole thing all over again before we even get in to see the neurologist. Like maybe tomorrow, because I think I feel my own migraine coming on….


  1. suburbancorrespondent

    I’m so lucky – the Excedrin Migraine still works for me. So glad I don’t have to go through all that for headache relief! My tween daughter has inherited the migraines, poor dear…

  2. Lisa

    As someone who gets them frequently, this is one more reason that I’m glad to have sons. Fingers crossed that the prescription works and that she’ll never need it again! I got a migraine on Saturday, another one on Wednesday (that felt like a stroke) and have had a headache every day in between until now. Wah wah wah. This was supposed to be supportive but I’m a delicate flower and am grumpy! Hoping it’s the first, the last and not her everything.

  3. Crickett

    Oh, dear. I never got migraines, but my sister did. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I also remember the advent of my personal miracle drug to take care of my PMS symptons: Advil, and how wonderful that was. Tell Chickie I hope she gets the right medicine fast, and she has my deepest sympathy!

  4. Paige

    I don’t know anything about your insurance (obviously!) but some DO cover doctors in the Adolescent Medicine. Our HMO has the Adolescent Medicine department right next to the Lactation Consulting office. I’ve always wondered what the teens think about this, as they have to walk past that and the pediatric exam rooms every time they head for the doctor.

    • Mir

      See, I didn’t even know that exists. I doubt we have anyone who does that here in podunk. ;)

  5. Mom24_4evermom

    I’m sorry, and that truly sucks, but we pay $500 a month for our family health insurance, through my hubby’s employer and we get asked at the pharmacy all. the. time. if we don’t have insurance because with a $6000 per person deductible our bills aren’t pretty. My son’s allergies meds alone were $400 a month before we said we just couldn’t do it. Hope Chickadee feels better.

  6. RuthWells

    Poor Chickie. Hope she’s on the mend.

  7. JC Murray

    My daughter is a pharmacy tech, and from what she tells me, you are not the only one to scramble for new insurance cards, and be shocked by the deductible rolling over. Luckily the techs could see your daughter was suffering, and were kind.

  8. another sue

    And my baby, PRESHUS BABYKINS, may be hitting menopause – but she’s too young! I, of course, neither looked at the clock nor the calendar and did not make a note of when I hit said milestone, so we have been on pins and needles awaiting test results that took forever, to tell us what we should maybe have been able to figure out on our own. Said daughter has always had more difficulty with her ladyparts than I ever did, so I just look at granddaughter with sympathy. SIGH It truly is always something. For every thank god I didn’t have that, there is an OMG, how can this be happening to me thing right around the corner. I am now at week 5 of flu, bronchitis, who knows what, no energy, I am now the whitest white woman you will ever see this side of the ghostly ones. Was this helpful? Yes?

    • Mir

      Aaaaack! Please get better soon. And I hope your daughter does okay. (Tell her I said early menopause is actually kind of awesome. I mean, aside from the chin hairs.)

      • Full Spectrum Mama

        You forgot the Pimples PLUS wrinkles benefits.

  9. Joy

    Actually, the restriction on Imitrex is usually 9 every 30 days! (Your insurance may vary.) I think Viagra is 3-4/month. (I’m a primary care prescriber, not a user!) I always wonder how insurance companies come up with these random numbers.

  10. Monica

    0h do I have sympathy!!! Been suffering with migrains since I was a teenager. Things changed so drastically with imitrex- thank goodness! I partially solved the limited number of migraine pills you can get by getting my MD to double the dose- then I cut the pills in half…

    • Megan

      Also ask the neurologist for samples! wagering a guess the pediatrician won’t though doesn’t hurt to ask. Free meds when they cost two arms and a leg are not something to be shy about asking for. Hopefully she avoids them too frequently.

  11. Elz

    I had THE WORST migraines for years. Debilitating. You know what stopped them?-Getting pregnant! I’m not suggesting anything of course…

    • Mir

      1) You know I love you, right?

      • Genevieve

        Ah, but I was one of the 1/5 of women whose migraines get far worse when pregnant. When you can’t take meds at all. This is part of the reason I have only one child.

        So tell that to Chickie if you want. (Just tell her it can happen – then when she’s actually old enough that it would be fine, tell her it doesn’t happen to most people.)

        Migraine advice in case you never discovered these – little adhesive pads called Migraine Ice, mentholated, which you can stick to the back of your neck. Dulls the pain, feels like you have a small ice pack with you as you walk around. Definitely recommended. Amazon has them (they used to be at drugstores but haven’t seen them in a few years).

        • Genevieve

          Wellpatch Migraine is what the patches are called.

    • Kim

      My migraines started with my first pregnancy. The last one, thankfully, universe, hear me being thankful? was when the 5yo was still on the boob, so I’m hoping mine were all hormonal-related (yes, universe? please?)

  12. Mkw

    Two Excedrin with a cup of coffee will sometimes stop a migraine if I take it early enough. If too nautious to drink coffee then it’s too late.

  13. Chelle

    Long time migraine sufferer, here. I don’t know if Chickadee’s migraines include nausea, but, if they do, Imitrix is also available in a nasal spray. I could never hold down pills long enough for the meds to absorb and the nasal spray has been a GODSEND. Works super fast, too. Whichever works for her, I hope she feels better, soon.

  14. Tess R.

    Oh here, let me interject some advice you didn’t ask for like everyone else on the internet… Taking a daily powdered magnesium supplement has helped lessen the frequency with which I get migraines. I use the Natural Calm (raspberry-lemon) brand in an 8 oz cup of hot water and it’s like having a slightly fizzy, fruity cup of tea. Bonus, it helps me relax and fall asleep more quickly. Of everything I’ve ever tried to combat migraines this is the most pleasant and it won’t cost an arm and a leg. I fervently hope that this was a singular occurrence for her.

  15. Meri

    Yeah, 9 per month, but they may come in a higher dose. I ended up getting ones that were twice as strong and cutting them in half at home.

    I hope she’s feeling better soon! Topamax and Botox and rescue triptans have worked wonders for me.

  16. Debra

    Ahhh, adolescent medicine. If you go to a teaching facility they will definitely have someone there who specializes in AM. Although you won’t be able to see the same MD every single time and sometimes it’s just a couple of dedicated exam rooms in the middle of all the babies. (been there, done that, got the plaque)

    If Imitrex doesn’t work well for her ask to try Maxalt. It’s old school but works for me every single time.

    I really hope she doesn’t have to live for years with that. My kid has her own PMS problems and birth control helped for a while but she tends to forget to take the darn things and so they don’t always work like they should.

  17. StephLove

    My daughter’s been getting migraines since she was 4. (She’s 8, going on 9 now.) The neurologist said they would get worse at puberty. I am hoping for a late puberty.

  18. Michelle

    I had my first migraine at age 3, and inherited my tendency from my dad and then passed it along to both of my daughters (ages 16 and 13) along with so many other things I feel terrible about–momma guilt it’s what’s for breakfast. If you have a chance (and I feel awful for suggesting this considering it limits choices) do a little looking into the connection between gluten intolerance and migraines. I don’t know for sure that there’s any studies or valid proof that it helps but we’ve significantly cut down on our wheat consumption and (knock on wood) the frequency of migraines among the three of us has also declined.

  19. Karen

    Imitrex in nasal spray form really helped me when the awful nausea set in.

    I used to get those godawful ovarian cysts too, and the migraines..and debilitating bleeding. What worked for me is a suggestion by my OBGYN – going on a birth control pill and never taking the GREEN pills.. like, never getting a period. I’ve been doing this for about 12 years now, almost 50 and will quit when menopause hits, (not yet apparently) but this has enabled me to avoid a hysterectomy, which I asked for several times until we figured this one out.

  20. Carol

    Pubic Service Announcement regarding teens and Excedrin:
    My 12 year old son gets bad headaches fairly frequently. I’d been giving him my Excedrin Migraine, which worked great for him. But his doctor reminded me that kids and teens should not have aspirin due to the possibility of causing Reye’s Syndrome. Excedrin contains aspirin. She knew someone whose child had died from Reye’s, so she very persuasive. My son now takes Aleve.

  21. Jeanie

    Oh, !*(&*&&**#! I would have been soooo stressed out. I’m very glad everything’s straightened out and hope Chickie never has another migraine.

  22. andrea

    My son’s neurologist let us know that there is actually a migraine season… Roughly Dec-Feb/Mar. He sees a spike in migraines every year during this time. Doesn’t really help you get through the pain… but at least there’s hope that they will taper off in a month or two. Hope she finds relief soon!!

  23. karyn

    I get tons of migraines. Have since I was 15. So I feel her pain. I mitre has to be taken right at the slightest feeling of a headache or it won’t work as well. If they are more than two days in a row ask for a steroid to break the cycle. If they are more than 3 times a month, ask for a preventative med. But don’t let them give her depakote. It you are already on mood stabilizers, or an emotional type person to begin with it is awful (don’t know ththe situation but it seriosuly messed with my medication routine). Try a peppermint scented lotion and gentle neck massage, dark chocolate, and even mountain dew as relief aids. Also ice packs at the base of the skull, or those little gel masks you can keep in the freezer. They work wonders!! I am now on an injection called Sumavel and it’s like a miracle drug. Maxalt is also a good one!

  24. Lizneust

    Excedrine Migraine had never worked for me, but Aleve is pretty good. Poor Chickie – I hope this was a one off.

  25. Mary K. in Rockport

    Oh boy. We have been on the migraine freight train – my mother, me, and my older daughter. For my mother and me, menopause was the answer (that and codeine for me – but the headaches were so frequent for a long time…) My daughter just started on Imitrex and it’s working for her. I couldn’t take it. We call the phenomenon “the M word” because just saying “migraine” out loud can bring one on. Full sympathy.

  26. Another Diane

    Ooooh, I am dying to know which pharmacy this was. I can only get my scripts filled with a certain pharmacy that rhymes with Be Our Guest, and for half of 2014 they billed my prescriptions to some random insurance I don’t have. I can’t even…i recouped a fair amount of the dollars unnecessarily spent, and then I just gave up because I was going to need another prescription to manage the stress.
    I’m sorry for Chickie. I started getting migraines after having shingles on my trigeminal nerve a few years back. I take Fioricet and find those happy lamps extremely helpful as a preventive measure. Fluorescent lights are a huge trigger for me (Also, low blood sugar and dark chocolate. Ah, the irony.)

  27. Barbara

    Migraines are THE DEVIL.

    Have you tried Butterbur? No, not the drink in Harry Potter ;)
    It’s an herb, you can get it in capsules and it’s pretty awesome at knocking out migraines. Scientifically proven & everything! Research potential drug interactions, etc – but it may help.

  28. hokgardner

    My insurance only gives me three Imitrex per week, so I carefully hoard. I’m sorry Chickadee has migraines. I’ve had them since childhood, and I live in fear that one of my girls will end up having them.

  29. Heather

    Migraines are the worst! I remember getting my first one when I was 5 years old. I hope she is feeling better…. By the way, I only get 9 Maxalt per month too on the insurance.

  30. Sassy Apple

    Poor Chickie! I’d say poor Mir, but I’m jealous of your ‘no lady parts’ status. I’m hitting pre?,peri? menopause and I now have migraines AND a billy goat beard. Anyway, I have a daily prescription for Topamax and if a migraine ‘breaks through,’ I now have Imitrex to take. No one wants to see their child on a lot of meds, but the Topamax really helped for a long time, and I usually only need an Imitrex once a month or so. Good luck Chickie :)

  31. Karen.

    Why? Why so many people with migraines? I seriously think migraines should be a focus of medicine because SO MANY.

    I had and pursued medical advice for headaches for years and had taken both Maxalt and Imitrex and sometimes they helped and sometimes not.

    Then I got pregnant and discovered that it was the ortho tri-cyclen causing the problem, not migraine at all. Micronor to the rescue; end of issues.

    I feel for all of you. I am so sorry.

  32. Peggy Fry

    I’ve only ever had 2 migraines in my life…. and I hope to holy hell that I never have another. the pain was unbelievable. It had something to do with stress and caffeine addiction. My mother, God bless her, went to the QuikTrip in her houseshoes and got me a diet coke. That and drugs made it loose its ugly jaws from my skull. I can’t believe that people endure this so often and Big Pharma hasn’t come up with better ways to take care of it!

    You have my deepest sympathy. Want some tea?

  33. 12tequilas

    When I was a kid, our pediatrician practice was all dudes, so when we got to be in-betweeners my mother switched my sisters and me to a practice with two ladies specializing in adolescents.

    Hope the meds work, and quickly!

  34. Navhelowife

    So sorry about the migranes. I work with someone whose headaches are triggered by lights. Another whose migranes are triggered by smells. I feel so badly for them. I had really awful headaches when I was a teen – don’t know if they were migranes, but they were pretty awful. I’ve had a few since I had children but not too many.
    Anyway, I hope they go away. And stay away.

  35. Lisa

    i know this is weird, but I found that taking an allergy med in winter made my migraines MUCH less debilitating. Doesn’t help in summer – but it goes with some else’s comment about migraine season.

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