Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Cluster" (read: "genius") headaches

It was 3 AM.  I was at work.  I was about to watch the latest episode of a television program I've been following on line when suddenly my head began to swim a little.  This became a milky dizziness, which became a fairly extreme and generalized headache.  This was accompanied by vertigo and nausea.  The nausea became so extreme that in a matter of minutes, vomiting was unavoidable, despite the fact that I hadn't eaten in more than 12 hours.  I stumbled down the hall, hand on the wall, to the bathroom, where I experienced the worst dry heaving of my three and a half decades on the earth.  The old axiom about retching did not hold true.  I did not feel any better when it was over.  A few minutes later I was ensconced in the office chair, trying to figure out a reason to go on living with my skull in a vice.  One hour later it was over.  Aside from a lingering haziness, it was as if it never happened.  I chalked it up to something I ate, or some fume inhaled, something.  And I let it go.  

A couple weeks later, I was at my parents' house, having consumed a wonderful meal, capped off with oreo ice cream.  I began to feel a little dizzy.  Then the pain.  Then the nausea, which, this time resulted in vomit splattering all over--ALL OVER--their bathroom.  I still don't know how I achieved that kind of blast radius.  The remainder of the evening saw me lying helpless in an easy chair, where I spent the night.  The next day all was well.  A little hazy, but fine.  

Since then, I've had blood work and an MRI (with and without contrast!).  I don't fret one second about the results of the tests, which are forthcoming.  But I do live in abject, absolute fear that the headache will return.  The Doctor called them "Cluster Headaches."  (Options two and three were Tumor and Slow Leaking Aneurysm, listed in order of likelihood.)

I don't care what it is.  It might even be, as illustrious artist/poet J. Sadler has hypothesized, "Genius Headaches."    Whatever it is, curses be upon it.  May it never recur.