My marathon training and general all round exercise came to a sudden and unexpected halt on Monday night as I was taken to hospital suffering from a severe migraine. One moment I was all happy and fine at home in the evening then suddenly I was laying on the floor with terrible head pains and Mrs Dan frantically speaking with the good folk at NHS Direct before finally calling for an ambulance.

I was taken to Ealing Hospital A&E where I was given some stronger pain relief, since the combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen had done little for me at home, and also an injection of some kind to deal with the nausea. Mrs Dan had made sure to arm me with some cash to get a taxi home but I ended up staying for the rest of the night and then also the following night while the doctors reviewed the results of a CT scan, which were fine, and then waited for the results of a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap) that also turned out to be fine. They were checking for any sign of a haemorrhage and thankfully everything was perfectly fine but they just had to make sure given the level of pain and the lack of history for migraines for me or my family.

I have to relay my thanks to all the NHS staff that I came into contact with as they were fantastic although hard put upon by the facilities and the attitude of some of the other patients. There was one guy in A&E who have suffered a seizure through his epilepsy but was quite clearly hammered even though he was protesting that he had one can of beer only. We later had the pleasure of one guy wheeled into our area at 5am who then proceeded to shout out “HELP ME!” every 10 minutes even though a nurse came and saw him each and every time but he then proceeded to shout that no-one was coming to see him.

The only other strange part was my resting heart rate. Everyone who took my blood pressure and heart rate was worried that my resting heart rate ranged between 45-55 bpm rather than the expected 60-80 bpm. Eventually I was asked if I played a lot of sport or exercised a lot sine I have the resting heart rate of an athlete. I explained that I am training for a marathon and have been running at least 4 times a week plus going to karate training. I later had a look online and came across this nugget of information via Wikipedia:

The typical resting heart rate in adults is 60-80 bpm, with rates below 60 bpm referred to as bradycardia, and rates above 100 bpm referred to as tachycardia. Conditioned athletes often have resting heart rates below 60 bpm, with values of below 40 bpm not unheard of. For instance, cyclist Lance Armstrong has been known to have resting heart rates to as low as around 32 bpm; cyclist Miguel Indurain had a resting heart rate of 28 bpm. The low pulse in conditioned athletes is due to the reduced demand on the heart by the peripheral muscles due to their greater efficiency.

So on the positive side I now know that my brain is in good working order and that all my tests reveal a healthy individual with the resting heart rate of a conditioned athlete. It’s just a shame that I had to spent a couple of days in a hospital eating dreadful food to discover this. Thankfully my doctor was also bit of a runner having run the VLM and a number of other 10k’s so we had a good chat about running in general and he confirmed that there was no reason for me to stop or delay my running and that it was perfectly fine to get back out there again whenever I wanted.

In terms of the actual migraine itself I was told that it could have been a one off linked to a virus and it may never happen again or it might happen again one day. Just one of those things it seems.