Painting With Pain

The other night as I was falling asleep, I wondered if a headache might be blossoming. My sort of headaches operate on a system of pulses. I never seem to know the frequency or amplitude of these pulses, however. Sometimes I wax slowly toward a headache, only to wane away for some reason. Sometimes I barrel straight into the teeth of one, linger for some hurting days, then barrel back to normal. I never know, but remain forever hopeful if I am waxing that the event will stop short of a big one.

Well, that night the waxing was barreling, I’d say. I woke up in the middle of the night to get up as I often do, and when I got back in bed, I was pretty sure I couldn’t ignore this one. I dozed for a while, and sure enough, I was in the grips of a powerful one. As I was in my half-sleep daze, the phrase, “Painting With Pain” came to me. I could really feel two overlapping spherical lumps, one in each shoulder, a connecting “trunk” going up my neck and into my head, and a tree canopy of sorts inside my head. The pain made a picture that is probably only possible during the half sleep we sometimes have.

I finally got up and fumbled around for a Maxalt tablet, which I place under my tongue. Nothing I eat tastes anything like it, and I think I’ve begun to associate that flavor with optimistic feelings of getting better. I think I dozed on and off, but was mostly awake, until I realized the Maxalt had acted like an eraser. The faint outlines of the pain painting were there, but the pain was mostly gone. I clearly saw a shadow of a tree growing inside my head, painted by pain.

In the morning, the headache was mostly gone, but I didn’t get cocky. The ebb and flow could catch me unawares at any time, and I had to be ready.

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