What Happens in Vegas…

They saying goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but for people who suffer from chronic headaches (migraines, clusters, whatever you label them) this slogan is FAR from true.

Vegas appears to be a wonderful playground for adults.  Shows, shopping, food and drink all with the back up of playing some games and possibly winning some money.  But something that comes along with that playground is a potential nightmare for someone like me.

I will start at the beginning and tell you all the things that crossed my  mind as potential headache triggers.  For some of you this laundry list will seem point on and for some it might be eye opening to a world unimagined.

The Sounds

The dot matrix printer at the airline checkin desk, all the papers, the machines banging, the music in the terminal the multiple TV’s oh and did I mention the damn dot matrix printer.  Holy hell, can I buy them a laser jet?

The Flight  

The change in pressure in the cabin and even the speed of decent is a MAJOR trigger for me.

The Voices 

This one comes in to play anytime you leave your secluded space in the world but on a plane it is magnified.  The load talker sitting two rows away combined with the excited toddler near the back and the never ending announcements from the flight staff combined with the fact that you can’t escape the sound is not only a trigger for a headache but also for a smidge of anxiety.   Setting off the headache/anxiety perpetual loop of hell is a whole other story.

The Sun 

Oh how I love the sun and the warmth but oh how it can do a number on me.  The bright sunshine in Vegas is a stark contrast the overcast clouds of most fall days in Michigan.  I couldn’t find my sunglasses fast enough when existing the plane, nor could I strip of enough clothing to be cool yet still legal.

The Airport Shuttle Train 

A necessary part of the travel plan but defiantly not a smooth ride.  Can’t say I enjoy the jerky adventure that throws me into the cologne (or sweat or booze) scented gentlemen standing near me.

The Taxi

Combine the brightness and heat of the sun with the jerky ride and add a splash of stale cigarette smoke.

Anyone’s head exploding yet?

Anyone throwing up yet?


I was near migraine meltdown mode by the time I walked into the front door of the hotel.  “Thank goodness” there was a long line to check in as it allowed me to dig out some rescue meds from my bag and chug them with the 10 dollar bottle of water I had refilled before leaving the airport.

I thought I was at the end of my travel road and thus nearing the quite space of my trigger free, quite hotel room but nope…NOT in Vegas baby!!

The Casino

My walk to the guest elevators was like walking on a tight rope over a open pit of quick sand.  The voices…so many people talking, some loud, some soft, some english, some not.  Add in the sounds of all the machines, beeping, buzzing, ringing, dinging, clanging (any any other sound you can think of).  As if that was not enough, we have to layer in the smells.  Even at 11am the scent of carpet cleaner was so strong my nostrils burned and then they caught on fire as I passed a group of lively old ladies smoking at the slots.  Really, they still let people smoke in publish places.

The Hallway

I rode the elevator up and found myself staring at a long (I mean like football fields long) hallway with crazy ass carpet that is not good for anyone, migraines or drunk alike.  It was similar to a floating floor fun house walk to make it to my hotel room door.

Once I found my room I realized that nothing in Vegas is free.  I quickly ordered caffeine and a sandwich from room service so if I got to the point of throwing up it wouldn’t be the dry heaves.  GROSS!

There I was in the bed by noon on a Sunny Wednesday in Vegas.

Worst place EVER for a conference on Migraines but…

it was so worth it.  I tell you more about that next time.


So needless to day, I left Vegas with a Migraine.  It happened in Vegas but it didn’t stay in Vegas.  I am home now and at the tail end (hopefully) of this attack so now I can just sit back and enjoy a level 4 headache looking at the Michigan fall rain and clouds.

Wherever you are….whatever your pain level, sparkle on…


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