I now take a preventive medicine and so shouldn’t need them again, but as a previous sufferer I always carry an emergency supply of the drug that treats the pain associated with gout. The fact that all the pain was currently emanating from my head and not one of my big toes was of no concern to me. Willing to try anything, a glass of water washed the indomethacin down. With tears in my eyes I cradled my head and laid back on the bed.
Indomethacin is from the same family (NSAID) of drugs as Aspirin and Ibuprofen. It’s a prescription only drug that is used to treat severe pain symptoms such as those experienced with Gout/Arthritis. Unpleasant side effects can and often do develop if the drug is taken over a prolonged period of time. E.g. high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems etc. For these and many other reasons it is used sparingly.
In-between fleeting thoughts of ambulances and hospital waiting rooms I began to notice the pain subside. The last clear thing I recall was a three o’clock clock.
Jolted awake by the sound of my alarm I felt shattered but extremely thankful there was no sign of the pain from the night before. I skipped breakfast and sat down to provide the final touches to my presentation.
Finally finished there was still two hours to go before my talk at 11am. I reset the alarm and tried to get more sleep. Some 45 minutes later I was awoken not by an alarm but a growing sensation of pain. I started to panic as I considered the consequences of cancelling my talk at this late stage. I gathered my senses and went straight for the indomethacin. I took one and prayed that it would be as effective as the one before.
I tried to rationalise what was happening. What if this was not the pain of a new headache but a continuation of the same? Maybe the pain relieving effects of the indomethacin I had taken had simply worn off and the same pain was now representing itself? I didn’t have time to think, I headed downstairs to the function room to prepare for my presentation. All the time wishing that the pain relief would not only be as effective as before but also in time. Fifteen minutes to go and thankfully the pain had all but gone.
Three hours later I was welcoming applause from the assembled audience but my thoughts immediately returned to my headache. The pain I experienced in the morning hadn’t been as intense as the night before which made me think I had caught the pain in time. My thoughts were leaning towards a single headache whose presence was being masked by the Indomethacin. I would soon be able to test my theory.
From my experience with gout I knew that the pain relief from Indomethacin lasted roughly 6-8 hours and by my reckoning if the headache was one of the same it should start to show through between 4 and 6pm. Like clockwork the pain arrived at 5:30pm.