Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Scare and a Lesson?

Traditionally, the President's Day Holiday is the day I gather all the forms Hubs needs to take to our tax preparer (along with two boxes of shortbread Girl Scout cookies--we have that kind of longstanding relationship). This past Monday, DD#2 was actually working on several homework projects, DS#2 was stuffing envelopes for his upcoming Eagle Court of Honor, and I was going through my box of bills and receipts, trying to keep the dog and the cats off the paperwork. I bent over to pick up a piece of paper and my head felt like someone had sent a meat cleaver through the top. Whimpering, I went to bed, while DS#2 found one of my migraine pills.

No good. The pain was so intense I couldn't keep anything down, including the anti-nausea meds that had been prescribed when I broke my arm. Tuesday I got out of bed long enough to call in sick. Wednesday I got up, started to work from home, and realized that I couldn't focus on the computer screen. Hubs called to check on me and asked if I needed to go to the hospital. I did end up calling the Advice Nurse, who chastised me (very nicely, though) for not coming in to the Emergency Department Monday afternoon. But my doctor had an Urgent Care appointment open and I took it.

My doctor did some neurological evaluations and concluded that what I was experiencing was, indeed, a migraine, albeit more the onset was more sudden and the pain was more severe than usual for me. I was also dehydrated. He ordered two injections: one for the pain and one for the nausea and told me to contact him if the shots didn't help.

I got the shots and Hubs bought me some Gatorade (I usually hate the stuff, but this wasn't bad). Once home, I fell asleep for about an hour and woke up to a migraine of more manageable levels.

Today I have a slight "migraine hangover." But I can actually focus on the task at hand and reading the computer screen is not a challenge. Not being able to read was what scared me most about this whole experience. It's been a long time since I've had to parse out each word, consciously decode its meaning, and work to make sense of the sentence. To lose that ability would be devastating to my sense of self--it would mean a radical shift in self-definition.

Sleep while in pain is more escape than refreshing and in the twilight where I lived for about 24 hours, I mused about pain and Lent, specifically on the idea of "offering it up for Jesus." I'm not sure what that really means. Does it mean that I go on as if my life was normal, even though I can't see straight? Am I allowed to curl up quietly in my darkened room and not make demands of the rest of my family, trusting that they get along? Does it mean allowing Hubs to do what he does best and take command of the situation, dragging me off to the doctor even though I'm not sure I want to go? I don't know--I was focusing on not moving. (Although I did forget about my broken arm.)

I don't know how Jesus--the human part of him--made it through the Passion. I can't imagine carrying a cross on a back scourged raw. Forget Simon of Cyrene. I would have fallen after a few feet and not gotten up. Ever. I thought my head was going to explode just walking from the parking garage to the doctor's office.

Now that my pain is considerably subdued, I feel like I'm living again. I have the energy to be interested in what my family is doing. I can think coherently. I am grateful to God for the miracle of modern science and wonder drugs.

I feel like Easter.