Tag Archives: headache

What Happened Yesterday

Random art work unrelated to subject because the alternative was a photo of an actual human colon.  You're welcome.
Random art work unrelated to subject because the alternative was a photo of an actual human colon. You’re welcome.

It’s been a long morning for me, thanks to Lacie, the amazing alarm clock dog.  The neighbours next door let her out in the early morning to do her business and she barks her fool little head off at….I don’t know….snowflakes, fence posts, air.  I wonder why she can’t just go for a quiet pee like a normal dog and let me sleep.  But this morning was better than yesterday morning, so I have forgiven her.

Today is a good day because it’s Friday, it’s snowing, and I have nowhere to go!  And no gigantic four litre jug of vile laxative to consume!  I’m going to tell you my colonoscopy story, so if you’d like to skip on to whatever you were going to do next, now’s your chance.

For the three of you who have decided to stick around because you love old people medical stories, here we go.  I have a family history of bowel cancer, and a colonoscopy is something doctors have strongly advised me to have done to detect any potential problems.  The day before the procedure is spent cleaning out the colon, eating nothing, drinking clear fluids, feeling sorry for yourself and staying close to the bathroom.  Black coffee is allowed.  Thank God for small mercies.  For the last eight hours you can have nothing by mouth, not even water.

The first colonoscopy I had was done in 2003 and I was instructed to come back for another one in ten years.  But because of my superior procrastination skills, I was able to stretch that to twelve.  If the results are fine for this one, I may set a fifteen year goal for the next one.

The procedure was scheduled for 11:45 a.m. yesterday.  I like to be insanely early for things and W likes to be a minimum of five minutes late.  The morning started off with a dead battery in my car.  This was all my fault for not driving it enough.  And we could not take the truck because W was having way too much fun making a big production of recharging the battery and slicing a finger open in the process.  This required much swearing and a bandaid.  Then we took a long convoluted route to our destination, slowing down for green lights in the hope that they would turn red before we got to them.  There is no parking at the hospital.  Well, there is, but every parking lot is always full and we know this, but drive around through all of them just to make sure.  There’s lots of parking spaces at the mall nearby, because it’s better to inconvenience sick people than to piss off shoppers.

W dropped me off at admitting 80 minutes instead of the required 90 minutes ahead of time so that I could check in and fill out a form and sit on my ass for a bit thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong and wondering if he would make it back from wherever he finally managed to park.  I also thought a lot about food and being incredibly thirsty and how much my head was aching.  Eventually I was taken to a prep room where I signed a consent form and donned one of those beautiful back-open hospital gowns I’m so fond of.  The nurse told me to leave my socks on, because just the gown by itself isn’t funny enough.  Then they inserted the IV paraphernalia and told me to lie down and wait.  W had shown up and taken off and come back again while I studied the ceiling tiles.  He told me he went to the hospital cafeteria for soup and a sandwich.  I was going to say “I hate  you” but I didn’t because, although that is a perfectly acceptable thing to say when you’re in labour,  in this case I was faint from hunger and simply didn’t have the energy.

The procedure itself took about fifteen minutes.  The IV is for sedation.  They don’t like to give you too much because it’s a busy place and no one wants you hanging around too long afterwards waking up.  So I was sort of aware of what was going on.  Trust me when I say passing out completely would have been my preferred option.  I was then wheeled to a recovery area where I studied some different ceiling tiles until they removed the tubes and tape and let me get dressed.  Then the doctor popped by to tell me it all went well and although there were a couple of polyps discovered, he wasn’t anticipating they were anything to worry about.

Because you are not allowed to leave on your own, the nurse pointed across the room at W and asked me if that was my ride.  Normally this would not be a funny thing to say, but when you’re coming out of sedation all bets are off.  I imagined introducing him to strangers as “my ride” and thinking that was the most freaking hilarious thing I’d ever heard.  She quickly told me I was free to go.

On the way home “my ride” stopped at Swiss Chalet and watched me eat a huge plate of chicken and ribs and sweet potato fries, washed down with two cups of coffee and three glasses of water.  Then of course I felt sick, but also happy.  It’s hard to explain.

And here you thought nothing interesting or exciting ever happened in my life as a retired person who never starts her car.  I am so glad that today is another day exactly like that.  Even Lacie the yappy wonder dog can’t ruin it.

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The Way It Seems To Me

Qualia
Qualia (Photo credit: RalphJB)

Prompts for the Promptless:  Qualia (single form, quale) is a term that refers to the individual, conscious, subjective elements of experiences. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky.  In other words, qualia refers to “the way things seem to us”.

I’ve been procrastinating and avoiding this subject because I like to think I’m perfectly normal.  Who isn’t reluctant to admit the possibility of some sort of inner weirdness.  But I suppose if I never admit it, I’ll never know if there are other people out there who experience the same thing.  I have made vague references to it in conversations, or given out random hints, but the reaction is always confusion and skepticism, and then we just talk about the weather.

I’ve already admitted elsewhere that I think of spider webs when I spritz my perfume.  My honey yogurt soap to me smells exactly like the beach, although when I’m at the beach I never think of that particular soap.  Large bodies of water make me want to stop breathing.  I have to remind myself to inhale and exhale and stay calm and think about something else. My moods are associated with colors.  When I’m happy I’m yellow.  Green is super charged.  Pink is perfectly lazy.

All of that is curious enough I suppose, but there’s something else I’ve felt several times in my life.  I will tell you about one of my quale experiences, and then you can look all confused and skeptical and go check out the weather channel.

At some kind of Christmas party or dance (I don’t remember exactly what it was)  many years ago, W and I were saying goodnight to my brother-in-law and his wife when I was suddenly hit by a thunder-clap of doom.  There was no noise, but it was deafening.  I was knocked off my feet, but I didn’t fall over.  The feeling was black and overpowering, like a severe electric shock with no physical pain. It lasted only seconds and then it was gone.   I hugged my brother-in-law a little too hard, and held on to him a little too long, knowing that something really bad was going to happen to him, although I couldn’t have said what that might be.  I remember telling him I’d see him again because those felt like magic words to ward off some terrible disaster.  He laughed and said of course we’d see each other again, we were all going to be at his parents house the next day.I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

I felt like crying, and sat in stunned silence on the drive home, thinking they might be involved in a car crash, or their house would burn to the ground, or they’d be abducted by aliens.  I also thought that quite possibly I’d had way too much to drink and was being completely ridiculous.  But I did tell W about my bad feeling, almost like a premonition, that something awful was going to happen to his brother.  Then I reminded him of that a few months later when his brothers headaches had become unbearable, and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Now here’s the strangest part, if that’s not strange enough for you.  When we got the phone call with this sad news, I felt almost euphoric.  That was the bad thing that was going to happen, but it wasn’t that bad after all.  The surgery would go well, and he would be fine.  I knew this.  I kept saying, amidst all the worry and the sadness, he’s going to be okay.  And he was, for a lot of years after that.

This was not the first or last time for me, having this bizarre experience, but I don’t think it can be called an ability when I really have no control over it.  The feelings are always extreme.  I don’t know where the crazy joy or the devastating sadness comes from, but when it happens I think those few seconds will kill me, but I don’t die.  Or haven’t yet anyway.  It has made me try to put up a sort of invisible shield around myself when I’m with people so that if they are sending out bad vibes I won’t get them.  It has made me stay away from places I should have been where I might have given comfort because to me, ignorance of the bad things is equivalent to bliss.  It has made me try hard not to feel anything too deeply, or get too involved, or be too empathetic.  But inevitably this avoidance seems to build up to my quale, my personal internal sonic boom, the explosion that shatters me and no one sees me break.

This was all so hard to admit, because, like I said, I prefer to have people think I’m normal with normal quirks and eccentricities, with qualia that might be considered a little out to lunch but not psychotic or insane.  I don’t tell anyone any more when I have the gloom and doom experience because I don’t understand where it comes from or what it might portend.  It could be nothing.  I always hope it’s nothing.

So what’s the weather like where you are?  May your whole day be nothing but shades of pink and yellow.

Complex and Tricky Book Reviews

Folks like what you’ve got to say today and you should be able to get them to keep listening for a lot longer than they would otherwise. If you’ve got anything tricky or complex to get across, go for it!

Yeah.  Feel  free to copy and paste that somewhere if you think it might apply to you, because for me it’s just one big astrological blunder today.  What they should be telling me is something like this:

It’s snowing, you have a killer headache, you probably should call work and tell them you’re sick, and for pete sake let go of those tricky and complex thoughts, they’re making you crazy.  Go back to bed. 

Yep, I should just start writing these stupid things for myself.  I do have something interesting to share though, because I’ve read two and a half books even though my aching head is being all stubborn about processing information.  So if these mini reviews are less than stellar, consider the source.

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy is a story about a poet and his wife and daughter on holiday in a rented villa in the south of France.  It’s also about the sexy, mysterious, quite possibly crazy Kitty Finch who walks out of the pool naked and into their holiday, invited to occupy a room in their suite by the poets wife.

And after that it just gets more complex and tricky and weird.  It was hard for me to understand anyones motivation to do anything they did.  The characters were all confusing as hell.  However, I guess that’s why the book was short listed for the Man Booker Prize, because the writing is allusive, elliptical and disturbing and it’s a stealthily devastating book.

Well I did read the whole thing, so something kept me going, although I’m hard pressed to figure out exactly what it was.

After that I needed something simple for the brain-dead, a minimum amount of thinking required, just entertaining enough to keep me awake.  And that’s why I read Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye.  It won an award for Juvenile Fiction in 2005, has one of the best named heroes ever, and is great fun.  The fate of the world lies in the hands of a fourteen year old boy.

Leven, a.k.a. “Lev,” lives a wretched life at the Rolling Greens Deluxe Mobile Home Park in Burnt Culvert, Oklahoma. But his life is about to change and his destiny be fulfilled as he learns about a secret gateway that bridges two worlds — the real world and Foo, a place created at the beginning of time that makes it possible for mankind to dream and hope, aspire and imagine. “Foo is an entire realm hidden in a fold of the mind, a very real place,” says author Obert Skye. (Amazon Book Description)

Where do I find these things? you might very well be wondering as you scratch your head and roll your eyes.  But seriously, this book was just what the doctor ordered.  Some days you need to escape to a different realm.  Well, I do, anyway.

Last but certainly not least (and I’m only part way through but could not wait a second longer to recommend this one) is The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days by Ian Frazier.

I’ve been laughing since the first page and it’s the kind of thing where the more you read the funnier it gets.  So when you share an excerpt from it with someone who doesn’t know what’s going on, they will look at you with a complex combination of confusion and fear for your sanity on their faces.

It’s the journal of a housewife and mother of pre-teen boys who tries to offer tips on doing various things around the house, is eternally optimistic, but invariably ends up in a complete mess, cursing and swearing (often from the floor) about the frustrations of everyday life.  You can’t help but love her.  Unless you’re offended by foul language, but I didn’t have a hard time forgiving her for that.  Because for some situations those are the only words that can make you feel better.

You know what?  My head isn’t quite so achy now.  Apparently it was just full of crap that needed to get written down.  There’s your health tip for the day.  My shift at work is a short one – surely I can survive six hours knowing that there’s three days off coming up when they’re done.  I’ve had my spinach cocktail and its no longer snowing, so I guess I’m good to go. Happy American Thanksgiving, happy reading, happy cursing, happy whatever you’re up to day.