After my last blog post, which was about leaping into 2016 ready to squeeze the most out of every minute, I went to bed on 31st December and essentially didn’t get out of it for the next week, in fact, until this morning. Not out of choice. First there was a random flu bug I thought I had winningly avoided whilst R and LG coughed and snorted through December. I shook that off with my usual concoctions of lemon and ginger, and epic amounts of garlic. But then things took a nasty turn..
Okay – just a pause here to say I too can hardly believe I am taking up your time by telling you about my illnesses. That I have become THAT person. But bear with me, because honestly it’s sort of relevant…
I got a migraine that lasted five days. Five days and nights of extraordinary pain and vomiting bile and generally feeling like waste at a nuclear incinerator. Migraines are not for the faint hearted, and someone who survives a five day one without taking their afflicted noggin out to a passing fairytale woodchopper (or Lars Mytting) and asking them to do the right thing should at least get a medal of some kind. Now, I am here, normal as can be, but yesterday I was in the wasteland.
Being the kind of person who has been to the doctors once in ten years, I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely and efficient they are. I was whisked up to an Acute Unit at my local hospital where they took bloods and talked about a CT scan (but I was bit scared). The NHS – jeez, I mean, really. It’s incredible. All that care for free. Yeah, I sat around in a waiting room for a long long time clutching my head, but at least I didn’t have to sell my house to pay for the care. It blows my mind every rare time I use the service and I do wish people would just say how INCREDIBLY LUCKY we are to have a free health service even if it gets it wrong sometimes. In my case, there was plenty of kindness and an urge to help me get out of my fathomless pit.
And eventually, as I had hoped, the migraine went away, just the last hints this morning. There were a few ‘silver linings’ about my time over on the Dark Side – yes, actual good stuff came from a migraine!!! One was that I couldn’t sleep much at all because of the pain so I would lapse into these strange snippets of sleep where I had the most extraordinary ‘dream’ visions – I was a bee flying directly inside a flower; I knew how to completely dissect a human cadaver; I could see a whole family in close focus talking and all their thoughts and feelings kind of running around amongst them; at one point I was flying, another swimming. All very visceral experiences. Other times I was writing; I could see the words flying across the page in front of me though I was lying motionless in bed. I drew pictures, detailed anatomical drawings of plants and animals. I heard scripts play out. It was as if a door had opened somewhere in my mind. The only drawback was that it was continual and insistent, a bit like tuning into another frequency of gabbling noise and activity, and I could only lie there in bed and sweat through the early hours.
I got to thinking of Frida Kahlo and her terrible, bed-ridden days tortured with pain, but how vibrantly creative it made her. Those virile pictures that seem to scream with injustice and rage and presence – hear me ROAR. It made me wonder about pain and whether it takes us into a deeper consciousness, or a more creative consciousness. I don’t know. It’s also mind-fuckingly awful and sometimes it’s just so bad you can’t think. So.
Anyway, the other good thing is this wonderful feeling of freedom on the OTHER SIDE. I felt so much joy to see a little snowdrop this morning; to sip a tea in my sunlit kitchen; to tickle the cat’s whiskers.
Life’s beautiful pleasures, and I guess if I’d leapt into 2016 as I’d planned I wouldn’t have stopped to smell the roses in quite the same way this morning.