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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Streak Ends

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
Greatest athletic streak since Joe DiMaggio ends with a migraine whimper

Jun 5, 11:28 AM (ET)

by Jim Thornton

SEWICKLEY HEIGHTS, PA (AP) Not since Joltin' Joe's 56-game hitting streak in 1941, which the New York Times called "perhaps the most enduring record in sports", has so a serious contender for a new record emerged as Jim Thornton's "continuous daily exercise regimen."

Thornton, a nondescript balding 56-year-old (FINA 57) swimmer from suburban Pittsburgh, was finally forced to end his amazing run yesterday, June 4, 2009, at 3 p.m.

The cause: the first migraine he had suffered in years.

[ame=""]YouTube - migraine art[/ame]

Medical disorder or involuntary trip to an "outsider art" museum?

"At least it indicates I must be in pretty good shape," said the ever jocular Thornton from his fainting couch the next day. "A headache specialist once explained to me that migraine frequency decreases with advancing years because the arteries supplying the brain tend to harden with atherosclerosis. To have a healthy headbanging migraine headache, you need flexible, youthful arteries that have the elasticity to spasm.

"I guess all this exercise I've been doing recently has restored some flexibility to my carotids," Thornton concluded.

His streak ended after 29 days of continuous daily exercise--arguably enough to meet his goal of a full month. Thornton technically achieved his own self-imposed goal a day earlier with a "normal February's 28 days worth of exercise." By making it to the 29th day, he guaranteed he'd exercised all permutations that February can throw at a person, both it's non Leap and Leap Year quantities of days.

"It would have been nice to make it one more day to cover September, April, May, and November," says Thornton. "Two more days and I would have covered all the rest, including February."

Ironically, Thornton had just recently made tentative arrangements to travel to Mexico to pick up medicinal drugs without a prescription and reimport these, hopefully legally and without any kind of bureaucratic rigmarole at the border. He was about to ride his Honda Metropolitan motor scooter to the YMCA and do weight lifting when the telltale "scintillating crescents" and tunnel blindness of a migraneur's early stage symptomatology began overtaking his visual field.

As always, he hoped he was deluding himself and that these visual anomalies would pass. When they didn't, and he found himself unable to read, he knew what was coming.

[ame=""]YouTube - Optical Migraine[/ame]

The above might help you simulate what these scintillating crescents look like.

He quickly went upstairs to his bedchamber, located a bottle of Roxicets, took a leak, dimmed the lights, turned on the radio to a very low volume to distract himself from woeful imaginings and other dire verbigeration that tends to run through the head of an active migraineur, popped a Roxicet, and launched into a body posture he'd developed as a much younger man as a way of coping with the intense one-sided agony of head pain to come.

Thornton's technique, which he is trying to trademark under the name Body BloodLock (TM), is simple and may well provide relief to millions of other self-treating migraneurs across the country whose health insurance is inadequate (do not get him started!) to pay for actual treatment.

Directions for Body BloodLock (TM):

  1. Lie down with head elevated (i.e., use several pillows)
  2. Do not move, not even the slightest twitch imaginable. Do not flex a toe nor point of finger.
  3. The only motion allowable is blood engorgement of the urogenital tract, if such can be facilitated by un-exciting thought alone (virtually impossible--Thornton, for his part, did not even try.)
  4. Once you have entered into the Body BloodLock (TM) posture of absolute muscular immobility (though movement through penile or vaginal blood engorgement, again, is allowable but only if achieved without any physical or mental stimulation whatsover), remain this way for the next four hours minimum, eight hours is preferable.

  • Explanation for the efficacy ofBody BloodLock (TM) migraine-ameliorating efficacy: As most of you will recall from high school biology, the venous blood system depends, in part, on the contraction of skeletal muscles to propel blood through veins back to the heart. Veins, of course, have one-way valves that prevent blood from moving backwards. There is usually enough blood pressure alone to ensure that circulation continues without muscular contractions, however, as fainting soldiers forced to stand for hours at attention will attest, immobility does cause a certain stagnation of blood in the circulatory system. TheBody BloodLock (TM) maneuver operates similarly. By remaining absolutely still, more of your total blood pools in the lower body and extremities, which means there is less available to be pumped to your brain where the crimson pressure would otherwise make the migraine pain even more unendurable that it already is.
  • That and the roxicet seem an excellent one-two punch.

Despite his setback, Thornton hopes to start building a new streak soon, beginning as early as today.

"I hope to swim at Trees Pool tonight," he says, massaging the eggplant colored blood clots that have appeared in his calves after 16 continuous hours of Body BloodLock (TM). "I'm not sure I can drive, and I know I can't walk. I will keep you posted."

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  1. scyfreestyler's Avatar
    I think I saw something about this on MSNBC this morning.
  2. RustyScupperton's Avatar
    The combinationof athletic excellence, medical genius, and deep compassion for life's sufferers makes me want to nominate Jim for the Mahatmas Gandhi Award. Namaste, Jamesuardoji!
  3. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks to both of you fine fellows.

    The hell of it is that I feel I am now completely out of shape.
  4. swimshark's Avatar
    Hm.. was there something in the air? I had a migraine yesterday, too.
  5. qbrain's Avatar
    I am really sad to hear that you ran out of steak. It will go on sale again, and you will be back on track, fear not.
  6. jim thornton's Avatar
    Alison, Alyson, Allison, and/or AlLyIsSoNn, I do also wonder if you might be right. I think sometimes atmospheric pressure can trigger migraines, or at least set the stage for one. Usually, low pressure, humidity, and a certain amount of heat--almost the same recipe one needs to produce a thunderstorm--seems to create vulnerability to migrainal attack. Yesterday, at least here in Pittsburgh, had all those factors save heat. It was clammy cold and oppressive.

    Q, I suspect you may be suffering a migraine, or at least the preliminary aura that prefigures an attack, yourself right now. My first migraine, I thought I was going blind. I could see parts of words on a page, but not the entire word. Letters were missing.

    You have clearly suffered from "r" cloaking in your reading of my vlog.

    I suggest you re-read, and if you are still convinced that I am talking about a meat shortage, get thee to a headache doctor for an evaluation!

    Alison, do you get the aura? I found the migraine art movie kind of fascinating, but it is awfully hard to watch without worrying that it will induce another migraine.

    And nausea.
  7. Bobinator's Avatar
    Hi Jimby!
    Your migrane art is fascinating! I never thought of m-aura's as art but you are exactly right. Like you I'd be afraid to watch them for very long, it surely might cause the dreaded headache.
    I think migrane bouts cause muscle/body fatigue and feelings of uncoordination. I blame that for your "out of shape" feeling.
    I hope you feel better tonight!
  8. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, Bob. Actually, I was pretty tired but managed to do 4900 meters long course. It was my first time in a long course pool since the Colony Zone meet last summer.

    During the first several lengths of the pool, it felt like swimming to Europe. I thought I should pack a meal just in case I got hungry mid length.

    By the end of practice, the distance was starting to feel, well, not normal exactly, but a bit less odd.

    Congratulations on your head wound life saving. How'd the victim fare?