There’s nothing like sickness to help put things into perspective. And, no, I am not talking about the coronavirus today. Instead, I am considering my recent experience with a migraine headache. I am no stranger migraines; however, this recent episode was particularly long and agonizing.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning, however, before I even opened my eyes, I could feel a pain raging deep within my head. It was the pain, in fact, that had awoken me before 6am that morning. It was as if the first sight I had that morning was a visualization of what ‘pain’ looked like projected behind my lids. I imagined a great green knot that expands and contracts like a Hoberman sphere but with pulsating pain. I looked over at the time and decided that some water and a few more hours of sleep could be my remedy. However, I awoke again about two hours later without any relief to my agony.
Migraines are not just strong headaches. They are a particular type of headache that some are plagued with and others may never experience. For me, my symptoms have run the gamut from a pulsing pain on one side of my temple to the room spinning and uncontrollable vomiting. Even as bad as my migraines can get, I remain lucky that I do not usually have any photophobia, visual auras, or vision loss. The pain, however, is enough to put me out of commission for at least a few hours or a day without the aid of medication. Today, because I had no plans, I decided that I would not take medicine and rather see whether I could “heal naturally.” I have read about natural treatments such as ginger for nausea, lavender oil for pain, and, of course, sleep and water to relieve symptoms.
For several hours, I lay in one place trying to sleep and when that did not work, listening to an audiobook. I thought a lot during this long, short time, where I was unable to stand without fear of puking, or move without a deep, painful pulse in my left temple. In these moments, I literally lose all of my ambitions. In these moments, to me, nothing in the world matters except my health. During these low periods, I pray to no one in particular for the ability to walk without pain again and to be able to eat without feeling totally nauseated. At my most miserable, I don’t want to blog — what is the point anyway? I don’t want to excel — who cares about success when one could not possibly enjoy it in this state? I would not care whether stores ever open again. All my mind can think about is how wretched I feel and how nothing in the world can make me feel better expect an antidote for my pain.
When my partner stubs his toe, pricks his finger, or incurs any other sort of minor injury, I sometimes joke and say, ‘it will hurt less if you let me stomp on your foot.’ Just teasing, but the point is,—we humans like to focus on one pain at a time. Even though the pandemic has gotten all of us down, this burden means nothing to me when my head feels like it is throbbing like a jackhammer. Our health is our basest concern. When we lose it—even temporarily and with certainty that we will regain it—getting it back becomes our top mental concern. When I feel like I am in such a state, I can without a doubt tell you what the most important things in life are—health, loved ones, shelter, security—and easily condemn frivolities like nights out with friends, expensive jewelry, designer clothes, etc.
Pain and sickness can really put things into perspective.
Hopefully, Dear Reader, you are in good health as you read this and have good perspective on the things that matter most already. However, a little self-reflection from time to time can help you pursue the priorities most meaningful to you.
With that — I wish you good health and happiness.