I look for you in the dark recesses of my mind, searching the corners, moving furniture and checking beneath floorboards. I follow echoes down the hallways and find nothing but the sounds of my own emptiness.
Are you gone?
I feel all at once relieved, yet abandoned.
My silent passenger. My invisible pain. Where have you gone? Are you just hiding?
After a week of hesitant searching, I wondered, did I want you to come back? Of course not, that’s crazy. But who was I without Mo, without this pain in my head that had been with me now for a solid year. We’d celebrated our one-year anniversary with a trip to the neurologist. An exciting day, the four of us – me, my doctor, my husband, and the never-ending pain in my head.
Only, you were quiet.
I looked for you. I was nervous if I looked too hard I’d find you. I was worried that if I stopped looking that you’d surprise me. I didn’t know what to do.
Hope. Relief. Loss. Confusion. HOPE.
Then I came down with the worst head cold in recent memory, and you raced back to my side. It was as if you’d never left.
“Don’t worry,” you said. “I’m right here.”
Medication did nothing to sway your enthusiasm. Ice merely temporarily dulled you. Sleep barely fought you off. Nothing kept you away.
A week went by, and all of the medication and tools up my sleeve would not put you back in your cave. We were stuck in what some would call an “intractable migraine.” A cycle that needs to be broken.
I started a round of steroids in the hopes that it would calm you down, curb your enthusiasm and keep you in check once again. This medication was supposed to keep me out of the emergency room.
Day Two gave me hope. Less pain.
Day Three gave me fear. I felt a pressure I hadn’t felt for a long time. A pain that came with medication overuse. With something wrong. A pain that meant the medication wasn’t doing what it should.
Day Four of medication, and now FOURTEEN DAYS into intractable migraines and not just my daily headaches, and I was starting to lose my mind.
It’s Day Five now. The last day of medication, and I am at a loss.
Pain like this does something to a person. It plays tricks on your brain. It tells you things. It makes you believe things. I’ve learned I have a breaking point – a point where I simply collapse on the floor, begin to uncontrollably cry, and beg to be taken to the hospital. As someone with a severe doctor and needle phobia, getting to this point is significant.
I had a conversation with you this morning, Mo. I told you that you didn’t have to come back with such vigor. You didn’t have to time your arrival in such a way. You didn’t have to try to break me completely just to show me you were still here.
What are you trying to prove?
The days of searching the dark corners of my mind, of turning down the next alleyway and not seeing you, of finding bits of dust and cobwebs in the corner where the pain once lived, those days seem like a dream.
I want the dream back.