Our asylums are full of people who think they're Naploeon. Or God.
My neurologist's name in Dr. Ngo. The "g" is silent.
I was pretty worried going in this morning. I've never been to a neurologist. My brain feels like it's rotting away, what if my brain is rotting away? And I was pretty sure there would be bloodletting, and I've never been much for that.
Fortunately, I was locked in the examination room full of brain illustrations and informative posters long enough to determine I don't have alzheimer's (yet), epilepsy, Parkinson's, or Multiple Sclerosis. Though I have to admit, the poster for Alzheimer's was a little amusing. It was a series of dramatic-looking illustrations of old people doing silly things, like putting a clock in the refrigerator, or giving a man a present in front of a tree and wishing him "Merry Birthday, Dear." I think my favorite was the old man jogging through a void where a woman was shoveling imaginary void snow. On that one I was a little confused as to who was in the wrong until I noticed another coat-cladded woman further into the void. Joke's on you, running man!
Alzheimer's runs in my family, I have to laugh at it now, because one day, I will be putting clocks in refrigerators. But I digress.
It took me awhile to explain to Dr. N about my situation, I guess that's because I've had plenty of time to rehearse it explaining it to every member of my large family, my work and school associates, my professors, five other doctors, their twelve (and here the number is not the usual arbitrary number of choice) nurses, and their 5 receptionists.
"How old were you when your headaches started?"
"Well, it's just the one headache, see. Started six weeks ago."
"Yes, but how old were you when you started having problems with headaches?"
"Ummm....six weeks younger than I am now?"
"So you've never had problems with headaches before?"
"ummmm, not for six weeks at a time, and usually not without an overindulgence in drink. And it's just the one headache. Six weeks. Today is its birthday. We've become quite close. We're going shopping after this. (psst)Don't tell it, but I'm secretly seeing someone else, and I'd really like to break things off, but it's just not taking the hint. I was hoping you could take it aside and break it gently. Maybe it would understand, coming from you. You've got an honest face."
And here's where I expect to get "well, I'll send the nurse in to suck all your blood, leaving just enough to keep you alive." Instead he suggested a nerve block. Like an epidural for my greater occipital nerve! He dangled the term "almost intantaneous headache relief" and I was on the phone to find someone to pick me up after it was over. Anna Rockanova, who just put up her show and is having a fabulous party, along with Ross, and Breanna this weekend, had nothing better to do (see aforementioned completed senior show) so she was more than happy to do it.
Now, somewhere along the way I missed the part where this involved injecting a very long needle on the end of a very fat syringe into the base of my skull at two points, but I was so hungry for relief I didn't even let that get me down. I hate needles, but I've hated my life for the last six weeks so much I'd have cut off my own head with a ceramic soup spoon if that was what Dr. ordered. I thought I was being a pretty good sport, but my nervous system betrayed me and I hyperventillated after the first injection (which. took. forever.) Intead of breathing fast, I wasn't breathing at all, and I almost passed out.
It's not so much that the needle hurt after the initial poke. It was coated in lidocaine after all. It was just the thought of a fucking huge needle stuck in a bundle of nerves that controls my head. Like when I was a freshman at UT and had zero disposable income and hadn't been on my own more than a month and I got an ingrown toenail. I ignored it until it was all black and filled with green puss and I lost the ability to walk from Presidential court to, well, the Presidential food court. So I called my mom and she took me to a foot surgeon. He was very considerate and put a drape over my foot so I had no idea what he was doing down there, but my mom was sitting on the other end of things, and her face was horrifying at times. Finally he left the room "while it was cauterizing," and my mom looked like she was going to wretch, so I swung my foot out from behind the drape, and there, jammed deep in between my big toe and the skin that housed it was a huge wooden stick. Jammed down in my toe! At that point, no amount of anesthetic could keep me from feeling it. I continue to mark as one of my greatest victories that I didn't run screaming down Kingston Pike in a backless operating gown with a giant stick in my toe. Well, the needle thing was akin to that. A little.
I also got a new prescription, to keep it suppressed. Walgreen's is loving my ass this month. Nortriptyline. Sounds like it should be illegal, if you ask me, but it's apparently just a trycyclic anti-depressant that for some reason is also used to treat chronic pain. Side effects, among others, are listed as increased hostility, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and....wait for it....
To make a long story short (too late), my neck now feels like there is a hatchet wedged in the right side, and I.....
have a fucking headache.