the massive rebound headache of death

How I Ended the Massive Rebound Headache of Death

How I Ended the Massive Rebound Headache of Death

(and the rise of a new beast-killing weapon)

by Josh Turknett, MD

If you recall, this was where we left off, 5 days into the most massive, unrelenting headache I’d ever had:

the massive rebound headache of death

 

In other words, I was in the deepest depths of despair.

I also knew that I was probably the only person who could get me out of this predicament.

Time to evaluate my options:

#1: Take another medication. I knew full well I was in rebound. While there was a sliver of a chance that taking something would provide some short-lived relief, I knew it’d just prolong things in the long run.

VERDICT: bad option.

#2: Go to the ER. Not really something I’d consider, but I figured I’d include it since some readers may wonder.

As a doctor who works at hospital, I know too much. Don’t get me wrong, ERs are a great place for specific situations, this just isn’t one of them. I also know all too well that there wasn’t really anything they could do for me that wouldn’t end up prolonging my agony in the long run.

VERDICT: not gonna happen.

#3: Status quo. Trudge onward hoping that at some point this would relent.

VERDICT: better than options 1 and 2, but demoralizing.

So, yeah, my options sucked.

Back to the drawing board.

One thing I’d noted during this episode was that, every time I ate a bit of something, things worsened shortly thereafter. Food, especially if there were carbs involved, made the beast stronger.

Perhaps, then, there was another option…

Stop eating.

At some point (I hoped), my body’s survival mechanisms would have to kick in. In the fasted state, the body shuts down all non-essential tasks to conserve energy.  Surely maintaining this head pain would qualify as non-essential.

This shouldn’t be too hard to pull off, I thought. My discomfort from the hunger would be nothing compared to the pain I was in.

Heck, I’d not eat for a month if it meant this pain would go and stay away.

By starving myself, I’d also be starving the beast. The war of attrition was on, and this would be a battle to the death. One of us wouldn’t survive. ***

Within 12 hours, things started looking up. I could feel him getting weaker.

By the 36 hour mark, he was down to just a whisper.

When there was no trace left, I began eating again, though didn’t touch a carb for a few more days.

I’d found a way out. Maybe the only way out. And in so doing, I’d unearthed a previously unknown beast-killing weapon, a strategy for particularly effective for those in throes of rebound, when your back is against the wall, and the options are bleak.

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