Nocturnal Musings #17: Flashbacks

Nocturnal Musings #17: Flashbacks

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. Not that I’m having problems with insomnia currently, just that I’m sleeping from roughly 8 am to 4 pm because that’s what my body does when left to its own devices. So indeed, at this hour, I am still awake.

I need to get some disturbing memories and emotions out. Don’t worry, they likely won’t be disturbing to anyone but myself. But if you also have flashbacks to troubling medical memories, proceed with caution.

I’m in the process of working on a series of blog posts for the end of the month summing up my year through only direct quotes from my own personal, handwritten journals. I think they’re going to be pretty cool when they’re done, and I hope people will be intrigued enough to read them. But of course, this requires me to reread literally every page of every journal (that’s all 16 of them) I’ve had in 2016 to make sure I get the best bits that most fully reflect the events of the year without any further explanation needed.

In the wee hours of the morning, around 4 am or so, I picked up the journal that contains the last two weeks of February (I was literally going through a journal every 2-3 weeks at that point in time.) This was a challenging time for me. I might go so far as to say it might have been the worst month of the year, except perhaps June. I of course remember all the major things that happened, but once I started reading the details I had forgotten, I was suddenly transported back to those troubling days, and I wasn’t expecting what I felt.

Just prior to the start of this particular journal, I had gone on my first continuous medical leave of the year from work for two weeks. I had finally seen a neurologist and been diagnosed with status migrainosus, which is a debilitating migraine attack lasting longer than 72 hours. For me, it was going on six weeks. Oral medications (Depakote and ketorolac) were unsuccessful in breaking the headache cycle, so I underwent three days of migraine infusions (DHE, magnesium, valproate, and metoclopramide.) As I was reading about the three days of sitting through these four-hour long infusions, I suddenly remembered the infusion room. How I hated the smell of that room; IV tubing, IV bags, alcohol swabs, the hospital blankets…not to mention the subtle crunchy clock-like sound the IV pump made as it infused the medications at a specific rate. I still remember the slightly cool and chilling sensation of the drugs going into my body through the IV. It’s an almost sickening feeling.

I remembered the headaches that refused to go away, even after the migraine infusions. While reading the journal, the headache, which I’ve been free of for almost two months, literally started. It went away for a bit, but now as I’m remembering again, it’s back and my face is starting to go numb as it did back then as the migraine would progress. Memories literally come back to life.

And there was no relief. Nothing worked.

I remembered the ED visit that almost got me admitted to the hospital, how the pain was so bad I was throwing up in the car on the way to the hospital. I talked the neurology team into letting me go home on a steroid taper instead. The same ED visit where I had a CT scan of my head that ruled out a brain tumor. When we asked the attending about my elevated prolactin level, which had just come back three days before this, he said, “It would have to be a really small growth on the pituitary gland to be missed by the CT scan.” Well then. We all know how that turned out.

And there was no relief. Nothing worked.

I can still feel the pain. Literally, the headache is hitting me now because I’m remembering how bad it was for so long.

And I’m mad. So mad that I had to suffer for eight more months before finally being headache free, six weeks after having the tumor removed.

And I’m sad. I lost so much of my life to those stupid headaches and that stupid tumor. And I’m still losing.

I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to throw things.

I need to grieve.

Finally. Tears.


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