As I have mentioned before, I have a rare type of Migraine called Hemiplegic Migraine. My aura symptoms include stroke like symptoms and includes vision loss, right side paralysis, Transient Aphasia and right side facial numbness (includes tongue and sometimes throat tingling). That is on top of the excruciating headache, light and sound sensitivity. These symptoms make being safe in my home a challenge because our house has 2 stories and my bedroom is upstairs. Recently, I was reminded how important migraine safety is.
I went downstairs to freshen up my drink (My Yeti cup helps but eventually the ice still melts!). What was intended to be a quick trip downstairs turned into a bad situation very quickly. I had a Hemiplegic Migraine attack in just those few minutes. My medicine wasn’t in reach and I couldn’t get to it because going upstairs with impaired vision isn’t safe. I have had fallen on the stairs a few times during attacks.
Over the past 3 years, my husband and I have developed a safety plan or a plan of action. It is something that constantly changes as we see a need to improve my safety or to have a plan in place. Here are some of the items that we have in the plan.
- My husband puts my rescue medications on my nightstand every morning. I can’t open medicine bottles when one arm is paralyzed especially if the pain is severe and I cannot concentrate. So, this one is very important and learned the hard way.
- If going downstairs to stay for a bit, I have a tote bag with everything I need in it. My medications are in a pill organizer and I also put my phone and iPad in as well. Once downstairs, I put my rescue meds into the lid so I have no trouble getting them. This has allowed me the freedom to get out of the bedroom on my good days.
- Never try to manage the stairs until the vision issues subside. I have attempted to do this in the past and each time it has resulted in pretty bad falls.
- Keep dark sunglasses on the coffee table. If I have an attack downstairs, I won’t be able to get upstairs to my dark bedroom. These will help with the light sensitivity until I can safely go upstairs.
- I never go anywhere in my house without my phone! This one is VERY important!
- I have the SOSoneclick app on my phone. This app is free and allows you to configure the person to text and what the text says. The app allows me to send an emergency text to my husband with 3 clicks instead of trying to type a message. It will also track your location, so if you are out by yourself and you have a migraine and need help, your emergency contact can click the location link in the text and it will open Google Maps!
- Always have 1 dose of my rescue medications in the downstairs medicine cabinet. This means my medicine is easily accessible during quick trips downstairs when I don’t have my bag with me.
The latest addition to my Migraine Safety Plan is my Apple Watch. The new Series 4 has a Fall Protection feature that will allow the Watch to contact Emergency Services if I don’t respond to the watch alerts after several attempts. The Apple Watch is also good because it is attached to me and will not be dropped out of reach if I do have a fall. The SOS setting allows me to contact my husband with 1 touch. This item makes me feel much safer in my environment and I can monitor my heart rate if I feel like I need to.
Our Migraine safety plan has developed over time and each time something happens we make it better. Each time we make an improvement, I feel safer during and after the Migraine.
What things would your put on your Migraine safety plan?
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