South Seas

The neurology PA is not much of a negotiator.  “No coffee, dairy, or alcohol,” she says.

“All my life I have worried that some doctor, somewhere, was going to tell me I couldn’t drink coffee or red wine, and this is that time,” I said.  My third round of weeklong headache.

“There are all kinds of fabulous teas out there,” she said.

Tea is for sissies.  And I am a writer.  I’m already not an alcoholic, so how can I compete with say, Ernest Hemingway?  Not with tea!

“And would you mind a B-12 injection?”

I would not.  After paying a $50 copay, I feel a little let down if they don’t stick me.  Let’s go.

Afterwards, I went to Whole Foods and bought an outrageously expensive vat of something that is supposed to make me feel better by putting it in the healthy smoothies that I don’t want to make.  This vat, with its somber, copious scrawlings, practically screams, “Cures mysterious illness!”

It was the product intended for every shopper at Whole Foods with mysterious symptoms or diagnoses.  It was something you could buy to make yourself feel better.  You could buy.  You could consume.  You would be okay.  Glug glug.

“Ooh, how many carbs are in that?” a woman behind me in line asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.  And I didn’t care.  I might be being scammed, but then again, I didn’t really mind.  When a crazy drunk in a bar tells me a great story, which is probably a terrific lie,  I’m happy because it was so entertaining.  I don’t give a damn if it’s true.  Likewise,  if the protein powder made me feel like I was fixing myself, then I guess it was worth as much as a very nice bottle of wine.  Truth is in value, in the moment, not literalism.

The world of migraine is a world of fear.  My morning juice is too sugary!  My coffee is poison, further polluted with half and half!  My house could be crawling with mold!  Walking around the grocery store, everything looked delicious and forbidden.  Glorious, thick cow’s milk!  Aisles of red wine, each bottle’s heart beating fondly for me!  I popped a cute champagne-blonde cheese sample in my mouth, even though I’m not so fond of cheese, just to show my doctor who was boss.

No, not fear: adventure.  I spent 33 years in the dull realm of ibuprofin and Excedrin, and near-perfect health, but now my body is an exotic pharmacological playground.  It’s like I’ve moved from Kansas to the Caribbean.  Wild new sensations, vocabulary, landscapes, characters.  I may have moved there permanently– hard to say– so await further dispatches.  There is a giant whale of occasional head pain that swims by, and I am attempting to kill or capture it.  With greater success, I hope, than the protagonist of my dear hero, Mr. Melville, but with all that vim and vigor, and enthusiastic wordplay.

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2 thoughts on “South Seas”

  1. : (

    the contemporary universal sign of compassion. coming from a linguaphile, this should mean something else.

    something else would require different and cloudy vocabulary. and i’m not here to judge. i genuinely feel sad for your head. pain is unendurable, regardless of its locus.

    “they” don’t ever get migraines right.

    my friend started a new med (and “seems” to have been helped by eliminating caffeine before that and now can’t drink wine [she was ultra moderate] at all b/c it makes her fall asleep asap). her headaches are gone so far; we shall see.

    as a ___, i recognized the side-effects immediately. loss of interest in food (a “good” thing, right?) and a giddy attitude that reminded me of lower-order-drug takers (or even some regular one who has suddenly discovered the uplift of sudafed).

    oh, e., i feel for you. i am being dramatic, but.

    has yoga or any similar physical/vascular-cerebral thing been tried?

    maybe it’s just the kids … maybe you just need to be at home and writing your books (though i know you are helping them immensely).

    1. Much thanks for your sympathy– it helps. I secretly think my late publishing success (the Star columns and another couple of very positive rejection letters– you know what I mean) contributed to my brain’s seizing up, strange as that may seem. Success is stressful, unfortunately.

      I’m back on some coffee now, thinking that any possible caffeine withdrawal isn’t worth the heavier meds that weren’t working. And trying out the preventative, thinking I am willing to take a pill a day to earn my wine and coffee. Side effects are: “difficulty with word retrieval.” Hilarious. That might improve me.

      It made me especially mad because I already meditate and exercise and do a little yoga (a very little), get massages, sleep plenty, don’t eat meat, so WTF?

      I’ve felt great support from my coworkers, and even the kids, at times. They drive me crazy, of course, but they also make me laugh, and make my life so meaningful. I love my job so much that I’m mad I don’t feel well, when I can’t go to work. It’s true that it drains me a lot, though. I’m too introverted for the job. If I won the lottery (or made a good deal of money writing!), I’d only teach part-time. Sigh.

      But thank you again for : ( ‘s. : )

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