Friday, July 10, 2020

Melbourne, Migraines and the Meaning of 42

Good evening.

It is a good evening for me for it is post-many things that were not so pleasant in quick succession.  For me.

On the sliding scale of good evenings available in the world, however...

It is a great evening for those who had lockdown imposed upon them who have been released into the relative freedom of Stage Three restrictions.

It is a confronting evening for those the that marvelously followed all restrictions at all point, observed the relaxation of rules in a reserved and sensible manner and were blasted out of the water by the wandering ways of an underpaid casual labour force and cultural divides being fanned through wilful ignorance and educated guesses.

I had something today that was not a contemplation when we first set to shield ourselves from the current scourge that is Covid-19.

I had elective surgery. 

Something that I chose to do on a whim as I have been banned from giving my most wonderful O Negative blood to the Red Cross Blood Bank for being too low too long in iron.

I mean, they weren't as severe as all of that.  They were nice about it.  But my Dr had to sign off on my paperwork before I would be allowed to darken their comfy chairs again.  And the free food after.

So once things were open enough again to see the good lady in person, I took my piece of paper and my anaemic self to see her.

In the good old days, I would have just taken a longer lunch-break and done it on a work day.

The only downside to working from home is that this now requires me to take a 1/2 RDO to fit in appointments.

And therefore it is so much more noticeable when you have an appointment, as it no longer feels like a holiday.

Anyhoo, after much "a lady your aged" and "rule out other possibilities" and something about a large needle of ferrous matter in the fat layer, I had a promise of a phone call for a specialist appointment.

Came the day (managed to make it coincide with a re-scheduled dental cleanse to make the whole 1/2 day RDO worthwhile) and met with the man.

Again, after discussions of the kerfuffle-valve, menopause, medical statistics and one attempt at humour - the man does not do humour but is intelligent enough to recognise it very dryly.

I was sent to talk to Alana.

Alana was very friendly and business-like about the whole deal.

Apparently Endos are done on a Thursday and a Friday.  How about next Thursday - the 2nd?

Did you hear me scream?

I mean, besides the fact that she was talking about a date 8 days ahead, it was also the week most feared and loathed (with a twist of sheer exileration) in the various roles that I have held over the last thirty-mumble years.  End of Financial Year - the 32nd of June is a most exhausting day, generally - and the last thing that I could ever do to a job would be to leave them in the lurch in that week.

So no.

And also, what is this "we can do your non-urgent stuff next week" about anyway?  I live regional.  I expect delays.

I could find no valid excuse to dodge the next week though - I mean, other than it being a really crappy end to a wonderful long weekend with 'Salina for the first time in months, and an enforced extension of my "holiday" for elective surgery.

It meant that the last day of my holiday with 'Salina was one that comprised entirely of food that is not in my general repertoire.  Both 'Salina and Paris were incredibly bemused by my voluntary purchase of white bread. 

I did manage some yummy food from the limited list available to me, surprisingly.  I made a pumpkin soup with just chicken stock and pumpkin with a swirl of cottage cheese - and white bread.  And for dinner, while the others had Chicken Enchiladas I got some poached chicken, mashed pumpkin, white pasta and cottage cheese and inefficiently smooshed them all together (or as is referred to on cooking shows as "rustic") and baked it with the Enchiladas.  A mighty fine concoction.

The drive back from there to here took over 5 hours, courtesy of roadworks.  I was fuelled soully (oops, solely) by 5 hours of sleep, black herbal tea, black coffee, water, chicken stock, fantasy fiction for pre-teens and Radio National.

I had a date at 3

with some convolutedly-hard to get medication at 3 and made it within echoes of it chiming.

I will leave from that time until the knowledge that my day ahead was going to be horrendous roused me to your imagination.

I don't know if you suffer from migraines

, but there is modern medicine out there that can change SUFFERING to suffering and allow you to escape having to live EVERY SINGLE SECOND of a migraine - but as I had this other medication on board, and because there was no bit of literature that I could lay my hands on once in the throes that advised me that I could access that recourse, and because the Endoscopy Unit weren't answering their phones during the period that I could have possibly used it (and as it hit during the wee hours of the morning, I awoke with it in full swing and no chance to catch the bolting horse anyway).

The worst bit is, I had fore-warning.  I am on a message-board where I mentioned it as an aside in a conversation and several members told of migraines.  I was just (as usual) too blithe and (as usual) unprepared for the ferocity.

The best thing about migraines is the emergence at the other end.  It is like no other feeling in life.  It is rebirth after a glimpse at hell.

This one was one circle of hell lower than I had ever met before.

For a start, under medical instruction I was not to imbibe in any more clear fluids after 7am.  So when I got out of bed at 6, already 4 hours into a migraine punctuated with urgent requirements induced by the medication, I proceeded to guzzle 2 bottles of water in the vain hope it would wash away the migraine and stave off too much thirst in the ensuing hours.

Vain hope.

Instead, my head, my entire food-highway and my energy all got into a bit of a bingle, and I was this shattered shell of my former self, constantly dissolving further and further into patheticness.

Paris went to shelter with Queen Jean, and V valiantly drove me in, ice-cream bucket in hand (reminding me of my childhood with a propensity for car-sickness and a family-propensity to long trips on dusty roads).

The first place we went was the wrong place. 

Of course.  I mean, we were relying on the navigation of a woman whose mind was currently not at its usual address, instead being wrestled to below ground by pain and nausea, so it is possible that it was bound to fail.

Luckily, I had managed to get through to the Endoscopy Unit (in time to find that the time that I could have taken medication for the migraine had passed) and so they were ready for me and my complete inability to be a functioning human-being and whisked me through as fast as the machinations of a day surgery unit in a Private Hospital can run.  Yes, I had a headache.  No I didn't have a fever.  No, I haven't been overseas or in Melbourne in the last few weeks.

Now, what is it about Christmas movies and hospitals?

I mean, we got V's knees done in April - which was were we got to see most of a grainy rendition of Arthur Christmas while in a far-away from civilisation family waiting room.

Today it was A Christmas Tree or some such twee.  I think.

Finally the ball got rolling, and I got my lowest reading for well over a decade on the scales, which was a brief blessing among all the misery!

The pain level, I told the aptly named "Joy" was about 9.  They inserted a drip and injected pain-relief.  It barely registered before the put me to sleep.

And then they woke me up.

If you have ever suffered a migaine, you may know the term migraine-shadow.  It is where there is a hollow in your brain where the pain resided and has not yet retaken its shape.

Let me just say that, while you are relieved that the pain is no longer in residence, you are both cautiously happy and terrified at the same time - because you still remember it being there and cannot quite believe that it is gone.

Add to that the layer of post-anaesthesia what-the that occurs.

So, that has been my day.

Oh, that and then getting told that I am to start working back in the office from next Monday.

But Melbourne, I really feel for you right now.

Because while some of us imagine this absolutely unruffled Melbournian, I think that the very least that we can do is give you whatever support that we can because it would be so hard - but if you guys weren't doing it for us right now, and we hope to goodness that you have it right and we aren't too late then this is our own futures.

I lived in Melbourne for one year in 1997.  It was wonderful as the people were wonderful.  It was pathetic because for all of the wonderful people in Melbourne, the city was too small for an ex and I.  Well, that and the weather.

But the people were absolutely wonderful.  And the people that I knew in Melbourne were even more-so.

So 42 days people.  I am pulling for you every step of the way.

(Although, I do hope that not all - or any - of those 42 are going to be migraine level suffering)