There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which Captain Picard gets a headache, and though he pooh-poohs it — “It’s just a headache” — Dr. Crusher points out what he should probably know, regardless of his lack of medical training: by this point in history, headaches have been largely eradicated.

Sounds like a good idea to me. I’ve had headaches since I was a teenager, almost never migraines but throughout my life, almost every week. Migraineurs I know go through life planning for but never fully prepared for the probability of lost days and get a lot of useless input from people who know nothing about migraine. I’m probably guilty of some of that; I hate to see people like my sister, my mother, my brother, my son, and my husband simply suffer, and I keep hoping that if they plug away, they’ll find a successful treatment. Or a doctor who really understands pain.

In grad school, when stress and reading took a toll and I went headache-blind too often, I saw a doctor at the student health center who recommended a medication her husband had tried, and it had no side effects for him, so I shouldn’t be worried. This careful bit of scientific rigor resulted in me taking a drug that did in fact make me quite queasy, a side effect of having an intense headache, so hey, what’s the difference?

I mention this now because the headache I have is the first one that has really persisted long enough that I’m writing a blog post with pain as my companion. My pledge to write daily for 90 days, no matter what, means I can’t roll over and catch up tomorrow. Understand, this headache is nowhere near that realm, perhaps on the level of what Picard felt when he was under the influence of a thought-maker. It’s only bad enough that it makes me think I might be either getting sick or experiencing some of the random hormone fluctuations of peri-menopause.

Tolerance for low levels of pain is something a majority of medical practitioners I’ve consulted in my life have suggested as a response. Yet pain is a communication tool between processes of the body and the conscious mind. I’m going to stop ignoring that voice and lie down again in darkness.