I really sympathize with your situation. I'm a pharmacy technician who has also suffered from very severe headaches, the worst of which have been recent. I've always had sinus headaches fairly regularly and plain ibuprofen and tylenol seem to do nothing for me. I started taking Excedrin Migraine and it worked great...for a while. Last Wednesday a headache woke me from sleep in the morning time. I was in between jobs (just started my new job Monday) so I didn't have to worry about going to work. But that had never happened to me before. I ate breakfast and took some Excedrin because through breakfast the headache seemed to worsen. By evening time my head was pounding away so I reached for the Excedrin again. I have a sensitive stomach and I'm very thin so this was a mistake. Over time, taking Excedrin has worn on the lining in my stomach, giving me a starving hunger feeling 24/7. Aspirin can be a risky thing. But that can be dealt with. Thursday and Friday came and went, no relief. The type of headache I was having was unlike any I had felt. At first I thought it was a sinus headache but they had never started that early in the morning or lasted that long. My nose didn't feel stuffy, no weather fronts moving in, allergies pretty well under control. Not a sinus headache. Saturday and Sunday were better. I quit taking medication altogether because nothing helped anyway and it was tearing up my stomach. Monday and Tuesday were pretty bad. I managed to start my job, but my head hurt so bad it was hard to concentrate on my training. Wednesday I was forced to call in sick. How aweful to call in sick my 3rd day on the job! They were so understanding though...I'm greatful. Tuesday night was the worst headache I've ever had. EVER. I was crying, vomiting. The whole works. I called my doctor and he called in some Fioricet for me. I tried that, it knocked me out but when I woke up, pounding headache still. I called in to work because I was so doped up. I'm really sensitive to stuff like that, could hardly walk. Well, by this time I was desperate. I didn't know what to do and I couldn't risk my new job over something like a headache. I got online and started doing some research on different types of headaches. Though it was the worst headache I've ever had, it didn't sound like a migraine. Migraines have more neurological symptoms than what I had. Sinus headache had already been ruled out. It definitely wasn't a cluster headache. Those are typically felt in one side of the head and is a severe, sharp, stabbing pain. Also causes sweating and neurological problems. It typically has to be treated with prescription medications. The only thing left was a tension headache. I started reading about it and here is what it described. With a tension headache, the pain is more constant instead of throbbing. It is usually felt in the temples, like your head is in a vice. Sore or stiff neck, pressure/pain behind the eyes (I also felt like mine were going to pop out of my skull, and it also felt difficult to open and close my eyelids). This described what I was feeling perfectly and it seems like it describes your headaches as well. My doctor told me that the word 'migraine' is usually just used as a label for a bad headache. It is a bad headache, but a very specific kind and is often incorrectly diagnosed. Working in a pharmacy, I've come to realize that there are a lot of doctors out there who simply don't know anything. Well, with the conclusion that my headache was due to tension, I gave my chiropractor a call. They worked me in the same day. I told her the exact symptoms I was suffering and without mentioning that I thought it was a tension headache, she diagnosed it right away. She explained to me why a tension headache makes certain parts of your head hurt the way they do. She showed me a chart of the major nerves that run through the body, particularly the neck and head. Starting from the top of your spine, clusters of nerves run up around the top of the head and spead out, they run directly behind the eyes, and also to the temples. When the muscles in your neck are stiff or spazing, they pull the vertibrae in different directions, pinching on those nerves. The worse the stress gets, the worse the pain. This made perfect sense. They did a 30 minute massage on my neck and back and then she adjusted my neck (popped it like 3 different ways). By the time I walked back out into the waiting room my headache was almost entirely gone!!! After a week straight I was beginning to think it would never go away. I didn't really even put much faith in my chiropractor to begin with but I was desperate. She gave me some stretches to do every night. That night I didn't do them and the headache returned, though not severe in any way, the next day. I went to work and came home. I did the stretches before going to bed and today? No headache!!! All day!!! Halelujah! Your symptoms sound like a severe tension headache. They can last for hours or days and because the bones are pinching on the nervers, pain killers can have little to no effect on them. Does this sound like what you have been experiencing? I think going to a neurologist is still a great idea. You can never be too careful. Especially with your own head, you know?
Also, as far as your memory loss and feeling of being in a daze or fog all the time, I think I may have some helpful information. Like I said before, I work in a pharmacy. From the sound of it you've been well medicated for quite some time now. Blood pressure medications are kind of a tricky thing. You have to experiment to see which one works the best so you can take the least amount possible. Taking 400mg of Toprol XL sounds like a lot, but then again I'm not a doctor. If you ever are unsure of something your doctor says or about medications he's put you on or how much, don't hesitate to get a second opinion. Even for something small. Quality of life is so important and taking 30 pills a day and dealing with the side affects of 15 different medications is no way to live. My experience which I think may be of most help to you however, is with my own father. In 1994 he had a quadruple bypass and since then has been on sooo many medications. He has heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, neurological problems from the diabetes, etc. You name it, he's taken it. He used to have the best memory of anyone I knew. And still does when it comes to long term things like his days in the Navy 40-some years ago. But tell him something, anything, and an hour later he won't even remember talking to you. He is definitely not the man he used to be. He is 62 years old, and while that's not anywhere near 20, a healthy person his age would have a far better memory. He also has become far more short tempered and sometimes just not all there. Its very sad. I don't want to discourage you. No matter how old you are its never too late. Don't let doctors push medications on you. If it is necessary for the moment, fine. But do some research about high blood pressure and other conditions you may have. Ask your doctors about herbal remedies/supplements. Try to get to the root of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms with tons of drugs. Doctors often see so many patients that they get in a hurry and don't want to sit down with you long enough to find out the cause of something that they can easily throw a prescription at. Your life is in your hands and its quality should not be at the mercy of a bottle of pills. I hope I've helped you and good luck with everything! -Jennifer