When you are born to family with a history of sub-arachnoid hemorrhages, waking with a headache is always a moment to pause and reassess. Headaches are familiar territory for me and like most headache sufferers, the various manifestations of my headaches are a small stable of well trained horses. I can ride them all. But when a maverick shows up, I hesitate. Just because I broke and mastered what’s in my stable doesn’t mean this young buck is like the others. So…I watch. No visual disturbance. No cognitive delay (attested by this post, right? Someone will call if I am writing jibberish, right?) I think about what I ate yesterday. Not very much and I managed to skip dinner, having just a bowl of Chex around 10 pm and then 2 (okay 4) Dove dark chocolates with schmears of peanut butter. I figured…protein, right? So, maybe this headache is food triggered or hunger triggered. But, those ponies I know. This weird pain emanating from behind my eyebrows and deep behind the bridge of my nose is odd and unfamiliar. After getting vertical, it gets worse. Take Advil and a Sudafed. Eat some toast and have some coffee, too. Now, two hours later, the headache abates. It is a sinus thing. A weird, alien inside my sinus thing. And that is different from the twin leprechauns that sit behind my eyeballs and try to enucleate me. Those little f%ckers I know and when I have eye banging headaches like that, I look for my ice cream scoop and dream of plucking my own eyeballs out. But, headaches are familiar ground. They pass and until I watched my sister knocked to the ground and then splayed in the ICU for six weeks from a “weird headache”, I just rode them out. I ignored them because while I wish I were dead sometimes from the pain, a headache won’t kill you. Except when they do. My sister is fine and her brain is fine….at least as fine as it was before she had the aneurysm….but my grandfather dropped dead. And while my MRI/MRA was normal nine years ago…I laid in bed this morning and wondered….what is the screening recommendation for aneurysms? Colonoscopy at 50 then every 3 or 5 or 7 years depending if they snared anything. Mammogram every year after 50. Change your A/C filter monthly. Change your oil every 3,000 miles. When might I want to get my head examined again? When you have blood pressures in the low 110/70 range, cholesterol levels requiring eggs and bacon daily to maintain, no diabetes despite a few extra pounds on the chassis and no smoking since giving up shot gunning beer over 15 years ago…it’s easy to ignore stuff. Except when your 45th birthday approaches and you think….something has to kill me and I don’t think it will be a heart attack or stroke. And with the extensive medical knowledge I have…..I can get creative.
But, the headache is gone, at least 97% gone. It always leaves a residue, like a ring around the bathtub. Maybe I just have a new pony to add to my stable. So today, let’s be good. Avoid the chocolate. The alcohol. Eat well. Maybe exercise. A romp in the hay would help, but exercise will have to suffice. And getting away from this computer. While writing seemed like my intention today….this headache wants otherwise. Have a good day folks.