I want to be done. That is what keeps running through my mind as I lay in the fetal position on my bed, gently coaxing myself to breath slow and deep from the oxygen mask that covers my face. Tears puddle in the corners of my eyes as I try and force my mind to think of something other than the throbbing pain in the side of my head. All that swirls around me beyond the sounds of my household are thoughts of I want to be done. What does that even mean? I want to be done. Yes, I want the headache to be done but it is more than that. I want to be done with everything that has anything to do with my headaches, only I don’t what those things are! Isn’t that a big cluster fuck of a problem?
August 14, 2000, I was on a plane flying from Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia for a job interview. It felt a bit elusive and sneaking since I was still working at my first “real job” after college and being flown off for an interview was big business, at least in my opinion. I remember this day so well not because of the excitement and potential but because as I sat in the scrubby van that takes you from the airport to the hotel, my head started hurting like nothing I had ever felt before. I remember exactly where I was sitting in that van, I remember the view from the window as I waited for the other passengers to board. I must have been staring like a stoned ghost because I had no clue what was happening.
For the next two days I stumbled through interviews, dinners and cab rides all while popping Advil like it was pez. The only headaches I had experienced prior to this were the brown bottle flu related kind of headaches. This was so different. I don’t think I even remember the flight home. It seemed the further I got from the onset; the less my brain was actually functioning.
I called my primary care doctor once I was home and I was brought into the office to be seen by a Physicians assistant, I think my Doc was on vacation or something. Looking back now, this was a red flag right out of the gate. When you call the Doctor saying you are having a horrible headache, one like you have never had before, they should pretty much send you to the ER as you brain might be exploding. Lucky for me, mine didn’t explode but the PA was not much help. I think she said something about cluster headaches (which I had NEVER heard of) and possibly migraines. I was sent home a script and all was to be right world.
HA, obviously that was just the beginning of my now 17-year journey that has taken me all over the state (one trip to NY) and gifted me with 45 pounds of MRI film under my bed. My hope with the whole Headache Hell section of my blog, I cannot only write to relieve some of my frustration but to also provide some insight for anyone else in the world that might be struggling. I have been down many paths; maybe someone can learn from what we have or have not done, maybe someone can feel less alone in the pain and know that someone else out there understands “I want to be done”.
More to come….
Digging deep to find my sparkle today, it has been a rough one.