Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Once Upon a Migraine

Once upon a time, there was a princess whose perfect forever indulged sight and senses. She wanted life to be bubbles and homemade applesauce. She imagined days that were the sweetest, coldest watermelon and still warm, fragrant herb bread slathered in butter. Her forever meant sitting on the deck of a cruise ship in Alaska, the wind whipping her hair away from her face, the sun slipping into the water. It meant her lap covered in a warmed flannel blanket, a friendly waiter bringing her warm split pea soup in a mug, polar bears snuggling each other on an iceberg across the glinting water.

Then the princess faced her dragon. She was attacked by a never-relenting migraine headache. There was no sensation, warmth or cold, that could rescue her; all the migraine exorcists in the kingdom had been given the night off, apparently, and must have all gathered at the local pub, singing drunken bar songs that would have, inevitably, hurt her head, anyway. (And, since this is a princess story, they probably would've tried to use leeches to bleed the migraine out, anyway, so isn't it a blessing they were gone?!)

She tried her own remedies. She guzzled coffee, cola, anything with caffeine, hoping that it might ease her pain--to no avail. She covered her eyes with a lavender pillow. It smelled good, but her head still hurt. She submerged herself in a warm bath, praying the pain would abate, but knowing that the migraine would leave her only when it was ready. In a last, pathetic effort, she downed 2 Tylenol, knowing all the while that she may as well have taken sugar pills. 

She was crippled, dazed, existing in a fog that presented itself to others as consciousness, but the reality was that she had completely lost the ability to think. Her two girls, tiny and demanding princesses in their own right, would ask her questions in a normal voice and it was as if someone had pounded her head repeatedly with a meat tenderizer. Periodically the princess would retreat to the bathroom, turn off all the lights, and sit on the floor, next to the toilet, with the door locked, massaging her temples and hoping for a miracle. Silence, darkness, still no relief. She pressed on, in spite of light that shot needles into her temples as though she were an alien's test subject, mainly because she wanted to keep up the faltering illusion that she was carrying on with her life. 

Her husband, the prince, looked particularly beaten by the migraine, because he knew the princess was rendered helpless and useless as she met her destiny for the next (extra long) 26 hours, which meant he was stuck with many of her princess duties: meal planning, endless child shushing, laundry; this wasn't the first time the dragon had attacked the princess, and this left the prince with his noble vow to help out in sickness and in health. Bummer for him. Bummer for the princess, too. Everyone in the castle was mourning the princess' inability to carry out her duties, even as she went through the motions of carrying them out.

Finally, satisfied it had completely obliterated its host, the dragon moved on.  

When a princess enters the calm after the migraine, she feels light-headed, hung over, like her head was squashed between cinder blocks for well over a day. Everyone in the kingdom is ready for her to assume the normal responsibilities from before she inconvenienced everyone with her migraine, and she is keenly aware of that. They are ready for her to juggle puppies while painting frescos on the castle ceiling again; after all, that IS her job. But she is not ready. Relief has to take its time, too. The princess feels beaten, abused. She is not yet whole. She needs to recover. Sometimes a princess needs a fairy godmother to intervene, even after the dragon goes away.

Bibbity, bobbity, boo, Migraine! Thanks for ruining what could've been a perfectly wonderful day.

They say a mommy never gets a day off...yet sometimes, nature intervenes and there's very little we can do about it. Have you ever had a day like that?