Her doctor had told her that this day might come
– would probably come. But knowing is not the same as being prepared. It’s not the same as knowing what is really coming.
As the symptoms began to show themselves, she wanted to go to the hospital. To take some medication, have some surgery – anything that would alleviate the symptoms or cure her. But she was tired. And she knew that there would be no easy way out.
Why don’t diseases strike at a convenient time? Then again, what would a convenient time be? When I didn’t have that deadline at work? When I wasn’t planning to go out with friends? When I hadn’t planned that precious time with my family?
There’s no reason to think about that now. Even if there was a “good” time, even if I could choose – but I can’t. It’s now. And now always seems like the worst possible time.
I’m still with it enough to call and explain that I won’t be able to make it. No, I’m so tired. I’ll email.
They’re trying to be understanding. “Don’t worry about it!” They’re right – there will be other days. Not this day. But other days. If . . .
But how can they brush it off like it’s nothing? It’s a crisis.
I need help. Who can help? I can’t see. I can’t think.
Time goes by. My body shuts down. Everybody’s body shuts down over time, as they get old – but I’m not old. I’m young. I wish I had a wheelchair. It’s so hard to walk.
There’s a sound coming from outside. What is it? I wish it would stop. I have to get to bed. Where was I going?
Pain! Oh yes, my doctor told me there would be pain. I wish I could take something to stop it. Oh yes, he gave me something – it won’t stop the pain, but maybe it will be a little less.
No. I can’t even take the medication – I’m going to throw up. Was that the phone? Turn it off – someone turn it off!
Pain! So much pain!
When did I go to bed today? I don’t remember. I don’t care. It’s still light. I must make it. I can’t, but I must.
I should have undressed. Who cares? Pain! I wish I had undressed. So uncomfortable.
My mouth is dry. Pain! Why can’t I stop thinking about the pain? Think about something else. Ok – no – regrets – where I would have been in life if I hadn’t – no – can’t think about that – PAIN – can’t think – what is happening?
Need to go to the bathroom. No, I can wait. I can’t get up. Can’t even reach the light switch. If only I could turn over. Wish I had a glass of water. Would I be able to drink it?
There’s that noise outside again – why now? Did I fall asleep? Pain! I’m going to throw up. I know it.
I should call the doctor. But I can’t get to the phone. What was I supposed to do today? What day is it?
I must have slept. Nightmares. Always in every dream the PAIN. Sometimes it’s a person, sometimes an animal, or a fire or a bullet wound . . .
It’s morning. Less pain now. Maybe I can get up. I was supposed to work this afternoon.
Wait – how long has it been? Have I been sick weeks? Months? Why has no one called?
No – now I remember. It was a day and a night. I’m getting a shower. Just a day and a night.
How did I handle so much pain? I didn’t know I could.
I’m showered, dressed. I’m shaking. Still in a cold sweat. I need to eat something.
But I did it. Somehow. I can’t stand up. But I got something to eat. It’s a great victory.
It will take time to recover. A few days. Can I go to work? Should I call in sick?
So silly. Anyone who had lived through that would call in sick for a week. Why wouldn’t I call in sick? Why wouldn’t I tell all my friends – they will be amazed that I survived! Why wouldn’t I?
Most people would enjoy complaining about an experience like this for months – chatting about it in the lunch room while their friends listen with amazement and admiration. Why can’t I?
Because it’s just a migraine. I thought it was a battle with dragons, I thought I survived a medieval battle against incredible odds. I thought a sword had struck me in the head and I just barely made it through, by sheer willpower.
But they say it’s just a migraine. Just a migraine. One of many. Nothing to write about or talk about. Just another one. Is that what it was?