I have a headache, unlike any I have had for a long time now. I am sure that I am wrong, as they say that we have no actual pain sensors inside our brains, but when I get a headache, that is so focused on just one small spot, that can come and go, but still return in the exact same position, I can’t help but wonder. It feels as though someone is pushing a fine skewer into my brain. Increasing both the depth and pressure on each pass. As I said, it makes me wonder, and if you add in my main medical condition, PRMS, which has left my brain not just covered, but with deep set lesions, could this pain actually have a reason and a message. It is a pain that doesn’t just make my head swim, but makes me want to retreat to my bed, feeling both tired and sorry for myself, something I’m not known for. I’ve never really been someone who has headaches, but I have known many women who along with their makeup, hair brush and spray cans, carried aspirin always in their handbags. Mind you, I never carried a bag much bigger than needed for money, keys, and cigarettes. I was a great lover of the bumbag, not one of those horrid nylon, gaudy, looking things, but the neat little black leather ones. I just never saw the logic of stuffing all your worldly goods, in something that would happily hold a littler of puppies, and often weighed even more than that when empty. Some spend their lives, lugging these overloaded monsters around, and are shocked and surprised when it gets stolen, because, they left it on the floor. Without a doubt, and several minutes of scrabbling and digging, ask one of these women for an aspirin and they will produce a handful, each apparently for pain located in different places.
I know that the pain I have, can’t be a new lesion growing. If I said that was what I was thought to a doctor, he would laugh me out of the room. Yet, they are so focused and so sharp, you simply can’t ignore it, as you would, any other normal everyday pain. Neuralgia is a monster, it creates pains that we are almost powerless against. It takes little imagination to come up with a vision of it sitting there munching away at my brain. When a nerve decides that it is going to send a lightening bolt into any part of us, painkillers or not, even when taken in advance, you will still feel it. Their nature leaves you powerless, never sure if it was a one-off, or if you need to prepare yourself for a series of its friends to also visit. On the good side, unlike spasms that leave a shadow behind, an ache that continues for a number of hours, an electric shock, happens then disappears. There are numerous medications, all supposed to remove them, but when you still feel them from time to time, can you be sure it’s doing its job? How do you gauge something that was never an everyday event? And when you suddenly feel it for the first time in ages, does that mean the meds have stopped working, or that this one, is just of an exceptional level? I would give almost anything, just to have something happen to me, that doesn’t have a list of options attached.
On one hand, chronic illness takes away all the normal choices in life. Having a career, making plans and arrangments, the choices that we all expect in an average lifetime. On the other, it opens up an array of them that we never knew before even existed. Apportioning blame is all about choice, and not ones as simple as what clothes will I wear today. Unlike all those identical Aspirins, that claim to work on different things, we have to choose from our list of possibilities, manage our symptoms and work out what will really help us the most. We have to become our personal unpaid doctors, as, we eventually know more than they do about our health. In many ways, our doctors most frequent use, isn’t to diagnose, but when we turn to them, to write our prescriptions. All too often, when we ask for their help, we actually arrive not with a great description of what is happening to us, but frequently with the name of our chosen medication to make our lives comfortable again.
I, along with everyone else out there, living with conditions that affect and control our nervous system, know all to well the array of pains and their favoured places. For me, those lightening bolts have always favoured my head. Not just burrowing their way into my brain, but also taking away the pleasure in eating at times, as they are triggered, from somewhere deep in my jaw. It doesn’t matter from which area they are born, they have a one thing in common, they stop you in your tracks, make you cringe in a way that means the world can see your pain, and at their worst, often make you wish, for a millie-second, that you were dead, or if not make you wish for it, suspect that will be your next stop. I have been known in the past to land up slumped forwards, holding my head in my hands with tears rolling down my cheeks, just from the pain. I had forgotten those moments, I guess there is the proof I was looking for, my medication is still working. It has been many years now that I have been taking drugs to subdue those pains, and I have no wish for the return of their once regular presence either.
This morning, is nothing but a reminder, a run of pains that make me shudder, flinch and wait for their power to pass. Remembering their big brothers, has put a smile on my face, as I might not like or be happy about their presence, but if this is the worst they can do, then I can smile. The fact, they have been shooting at me now every few minutes, for the past three hours, has also removed my natural fear. PRMS wasn’t foremost in my mind when I had the very first one this morning. Just because I’m already ill, it doesn’t mean I don’t fear the same things that anyone else would. Yes, the word stroke, did enter my head, just as severe pain in my chest, makes me question the condition of my heart, after all, I’m still human and I still fear what I don’t know. By the time I started to write today, I had dismissed such an idea, and relegated them to their true position, but that alone leaves me, with one question. If I were to have a stroke, would I ignore that too? Would I or you, actually land up dying, just because we’re so used to being ill, so used to being in pain, that we would dismiss the one most important pain of all, that one we shouldn’t?
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 21/01/2014 – The sight of what
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