Monday, August 30, 2010

Pain and Shadows

I suffer from Migraine headaches, been suffering from them since I was 12. Well, at least that’s the earliest memory I have of those wonderfully painful vacations of daily life. Over the years I’ve come to know what triggers them, what helps prevent them and how to take care of them once they make their ugly, black, pain encrusted existence known to me.

It aint fun and if you suffer from them then you know what I’m talking about. We are an odd group of people, us Migraine-Masters; once we meet each other we quickly trade medicine knowledge, dietary suggestions and a metric-ton of home remedies. Which we all say we will try out and let the suggestor know if it works or not. (This rarely happens. Simply because what usually works for one person does not work for another.)

Now, if you don’t suffer from these blessings from hell then you need to get on your knees right now and say a prayer to God, Allah, Yahweh, Eros, Cthulu, Zeus, Set, Ptah, Mother Mary, Jesus, Odin, Thor, Nodens, Ob, Buddha, or whoever it is you worship and pray to. Because they have sparred you from locking yourself into a darkened room with the shades and curtains drawn, all the electrical and electronic devices unplugged from the sockets in your abode, buckets of ice and cool, damp wash cloths the eventually get hot and fall off your face and make your pillow too wet to sleep on, ear plugs in your ears and noise suppressor ear muffs on top of them to help tune out the noise the housefly’s are making on the pile of steamy dog poop in the neighbors back yard. They have saved you from cold sweats, nausousness and the feeling of stabbing pain in your forehead every time you blink, breathe move or even try to form a coherent thought.

I know that not all migraines are equal; some suffer in different ways and take different medicines for them. Shoot, do a web search on the many different types of medication available and it will literally give you a headache just reading through them. From Acupril to Zoloft. Yes, that Zoloft! And those are just the oral forms. I won’t go into the injections too much but I have had to take the “Shot” on occasion just to keep my brain from turning into tapioca pudding. Those “shots” will turn you into a Zombie quicker than you can say George A. Romero. (And if anyone steals the idea of injecting people with a Zombie Virus I expect ROYALTIES from the book and movie sales!)

So, where am I going with all of this?

Simple, I felt the oncoming black clouds of pain headed to my mental shores on Sunday afternoon and I had no medication with me. This was one of my first migraines in quite some time. You see, I figured out what my particular triggers to a day or two of seclusion and hermitude and I have been avoiding them. One of my biggest triggers is what I call “over-stimulation” and I simply need to have some down time for my brain to digest all the information it has collected during the day, week, month or year. This year has been ridiculous for information overload but I have been managing it quite well and I usually keep my meds close to me or at least on my body.

Not Sunday.

I had to take a trip to Williamsburg to see a brother of a cousin in law of mine at a restaurant that is also located here in Hampton Roads. On the way to this historic city I got lost, which is really nothing new, I am an Ocean Navigator not a land navigator and I don’t have a GPS system to assist me where to go. I hate those things, especially the snarky; know it all voices that are pre-programmed into them (“Please perform a U-turn while doing 76 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour school zone so I can laugh at you while you die in a fiery car crash.”) You know, somewhere in an underground bunker there is a computer programmer with the I.Q. of 1,000 laughing his ass off at us all for not being able to read a map as he uploads all those wonderfully angry tones.


So, I got lost and I was in overload with information being screamed at me through my cell phone, the street signs, the helpful gas station attendants and the clerks at 7-11 as well as the clerks at Advanced Auto. Yes, I believe in tertiary knowledge, something the military taught me. I got back on track and arrived at the eatery with my daughter in tow. That is when I felt the first aches of the upcoming roller coaster ride of pain my brain and body had in store for me.

There were 16 people in our group and the conversations were overwhelming, I could not even concentrate on my food order and I know I must have read the menu 4 times and each time I made a choice I forgot what it was. Finally I just kept my menu open with my finger on my choice of palatable flavors of fried food.

I tried to tune things out. I tried to ignore the couple that was fighting with each other behind me. I tried to ignore the kids yelling, screaming, whispering and fighting. I tried to ignore the smells of food mingling in with the sweat of the waiters and waitress’. I tried.

I sort of succeeded.

As soon as the food was finished and the bills paid I grabbed my daughter and left in an attempt to cool my head down in “TrnMan’s” air conditioned cock pit and I even rooted through all of his storage areas thinking I had stashed some meds in him. I found nothing.

So we drove in mostly silence. The pain continued to grow in my head, the storm clouds amassing like an electrical storm in the Midwest. I tried every trick in the book to keep it at bay and I was somewhat successful.

We made it to my brother in laws house, we were the first to arrive. I was disappointed. I sat on the porch, eyes closed, pain growing and a joyous daughter playing on a tree swing. Her laughter and delight sending lightning bolts of pain through my ears and into my frontal lobes. Who said parenting wasn’t painful?

Eventually others arrive, 4 Advil gel-caps were located and dry-swallowed quickly chased by a glass of water. Children and animals were banished to the back yard and all the adults to the garage. I dozed on the couch. Once I felt good enough to drive I was sent home while my daughter stayed behind.

I drove home on autopilot and avoided causing any accidents to the best of my knowledge. But, by the time I did arrive at “The Heart of the South” the pain had returned and I barely stumbled my way into the house. Found my shot and injected my leg. The veil of sleep descended quickly and the couch beckoned for me to sit down and be enveloped into its overstuffed cushions. I complied.

When I awoke about 40 minutes later the pain had receded from the shores of my mind, leaving behind the shadows of blinding pain. I hydrated and tried to remember my thoughts on what I was going to write this week. I couldn’t remember. So…

This is what you got instead.

And, yes, I have rambled on again but I also have done some mental editing as well. I could have gone on and on but I didn’t. Well, time to sign off and post this. You all have a great week.

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