Brain juice leaks are a real pain in the neck. Literally.
You know that feeling when you think you’ve recovered from an illness or injury, and then all of a sudden you projectile vomit? That’s how I felt two weeks ago when I stood up and realized my headache was gone. Hooray, no more bedrest! I leaped around my condo tackling all the things I hadn’t been able to do. Less than ten minutes later, a web of pain shot up my neck and into my skull. I paused, rolled my neck, yelped, and puked.
Although the CSF leak had healed, the injury severely strained the right side of my neck. Searing pain sent me back to bed. I cursed my luck – I can accept a sports injury, but a muscle strain while on bedrest?!
I know I should be grateful that I am healing, but honestly, I feel empty and trapped. I’ve mastered the Zen of kidney stones and anaphylaxis, but 38 days of pain and isolation are wearing on me.
Some people are graceful about pain and bedrest. Good for them. I turn into a monster. Constant pain induces desperation and bedrest invites me to ruminate about my mortality. Books and movies are temporary distractions at best. Nothing brings me joy, not even prednisone. I tried practicing gratitude, but acknowledging “at least I’m not a giraffe” did not make me feel better.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned three things about my shitty feelings:
- Pain and mast cell reactions can induce shitty feelings.
- Fighting shitty feelings is futile.
- Shitty feelings are temporary.
I know this pain and these feelings will go away, even though it’s hard to be patient with recovery when I’ve already faced a shitstorm of health issues. So tonight, I will pop my muscle relaxant, wrap myself in a blanket, and embrace my shitty feelings.
“Simply be present with your own shifting energies and with the unpredictability of life as it unfolds.” – Pema Chödrön
“Acknowledge your shitty feelings when shitty things happen.” – Hell’s Bells and Mast Cells
P.S. Pain also makes me swear more. Not sorry. It’s a natural form of pain relief.