Once we are far enough away from it, this past weekend will officially melt into the general haze of chaos and always-a-new-crisis that we’ve been existing in for several months now. But right now, with it barely 9 hours behind us, it feels like a catatrophe; a stunning failure; a defeat.
It started Friday afternoon. A migraine crept in and slammed me upside the head with all of the subtlety of an atom bomb. I get migraines, two or three times a week, which consist of a brief visual disturbance, somewhere between dizziness and seeing the blue spot after a camera flash, though it’s not blue – more like the snow on a dead TV channel, but in color. That lasts a very short time, and sometime later the pain rolls in; bad enough to make it hard to function, but usually responsive to pain meds and easy enough to push through to get done what has to get done. Friday’s was of a rarer sort, the type I get maybe twice a year: a very long and intense visual display, to the point where I wouldn’t have been able to drive or type if I had needed to, and then pain well beyond the reach of the meds I have on-hand.
I got through the night, and was grateful for the ability to sleep through some of the worst of it. Saturday I woke up to a continuation of the pain, but it seemed more manageable. Until after dinner, when suddenly it flared back and brought its good friend, nausea. Abruptly, instead of driving to our friend’s chorus concert with the kids, I was throwing up at the side of the Portsmouth traffic circle and then scrubbing frantically at the inside of the truck door, because I couldn’t get back in until things had been cleaned up. We did continue to the concert, and made it through the first act before I realized this wasn’t getting better and I really needed to be home. I made it as far as our driveway, leaving Willem to corral the kids inside while I leaned against the truck and cried. In subzero weather, thirty feet from my house, just completely useless and miserable.
I did eventually make it inside, and spent the next several hours on the bathroom floor. Other body systems decided to join in the revolt, and I would happily have surrendered if I could have figured out how. I finally made it to bed around 11:00, and slept intermittently, between bad dreams and various discomforts, until 9:00 on Sunday morning.
I had some glimmers of hope on Sunday, because it’s very rare for a migraine to stretch into a third day. But by 10:00, I was back in bed, fully dressed, and slept until 2:00 in the afternoon. Willem had to make a series of calls, cancelling three house showings with our Realtor and dinner with friends, and each time, their response was, “Oh, I hope she’s OK.” Well, she might get there, but she’s decidedly not OK now.
Sunday afternoon was a bit better, though despite the earlier glut of sleep, I was back in bed around 10:00 and slept until 8:00 this morning. For those keeping track at home, this adds up to something like 25 hours of sleep in the past 36 hours.
Now, this morning, I do feel OK. No more nausea, no more head pain. I feel, instead, a depression borne of mommy-guilt and sheer overwhelmedness. My sickness ruined a weekend, for more than just myself. Willem did his best to pick up the slack, but he was worried about me, too. And now I have dozens of tasks, small and large, waiting for me, and I’m feeling lost and incompetent. All of my dreams, during this marathon of unconsciousness, had to do with situations in which I was not in control, and was not able to make things better: war zones, missing children, inability to find jelly in KMart… the theme is there, of my basic inability to function in times of crisis. I hate a lot of the things that Freud has to say, but sometimes you don’t need to get all cryptic and analyzing to figure out the messages your brain is trying to send through dreams.
A big, embarrassing part of me wants to curl back up in bed, now that I’ve been awake for an hour. I’m fighting back tears, just out of anxiety and nerves and that nasty overwhelmed feeling, and trying to present a happy face and a level voice to the kids around me, who need to see me as stable and in-control, no matter how I see myself. I’m already tired, and I fully recognize that my brain and body are just trying to escape into sleep until the outside world feels more manageable.
But in order to make it to manageable, I need to be up and actively involved in various tasks. I can’t hide back in bed, at least for a few hours. So I’m going to go get a few things done, and hope that a low level of productivity helps spark a higher level of productivity.
“I hope she’s OK.”
Yeah, me too.