Feb. 13th, 2011

lemon_says: (Brain)
I had my tonsils out when I was 15. The doctor had told me that I should expect two weeks of pain and general sickness, and I'd improve after that (this was back in the olden days, when they cut your tonsils out, and recovery gets worse the older you are). For two weeks following the surgery, I was a good patient. I ate soup. I sat quietly and read magazines in bed. I missed New Year's Eve without complaining, although a few sad tears escaped when all my friends called at midnight so I didn't feel left out. For two weeks, I was an outstanding example of a recovering invalid. On the 15th day I woke up and I didn't feel better. After that I became the patient from hell.

I threw things at people who came in without knocking. I had silent, stomping tantrums because I was hungry and still couldn't swallow solid food. I lost weight and was skinny to start with. I was angry. Finally I decided to ignore the lingering pain and misery, and I choked down a can of Chef Boyardee cheese ravioli, sobbing with every bite. It had been two weeks and I was not going to be sick anymore.

I am not so good with being told how long a recovery might take. Many of you remember my disappointment when, a year from my accident, I did not bounce out of bed with my well-knit bones acting like it was just like old times.

Nonetheless, I continue to fail to learn my lessons. I have read and been told repeatedly that the first two weeks are the worst for discontinuation syndrome, so some mornings when I wake up and feel a zing in my head before my eyes are open, I despair. That said, I am not sure whether I am at one week or two. It feels rather like an eternity. It has been two weeks since I cut the dose in half, and one week since I stopped taking it entirely. Honestly, it feels like months. It feels like my head is never going to return to normal, although I am grateful for the times I have been able to leave the house and function for at least a few hours. I am gamely attempting to be a good sport for another week, thus making the two-week schedule from the time I stopped completely. Yes, I have actually thought this through practically down to the minute, because that is what you do when you are trying to wait this out. It feels like it has taken so long that I'm sure people are wondering if this is real or if I am exaggerating or something--hell, I'm starting to wonder if I've lost my mind or a reasonable ability to keep track of time.

I saw the acupuncturist on Wednesday, and the greatest relief I have felt recently was when she slipped those tiny needles into my shins, wiggling the nausea away in seconds. Since then it has been better, and I see her again tomorrow and Thursday to try to get me over this hump.

I feel nauseated a great deal of the time, with splitting headaches at night especially. Oddly, what I really feel is that like a snake I have outgrown my skin, but it won't split and let me out. It feels like my brain is swollen right up against my skull, my stomach distended up into my throat and making it hard to eat or drink. My skin is dry and tight, and I cannot take deep breaths because my lungs can't expand enough inside my too-tight ribs. I feel like I must look like a parade balloon, bobbing clumsily down the road, grossly overinflated. It surprises me to look in the mirror and see that I am not actually swollen. I can't sleep enough, yet if I nap I am awake half the night.

Friday is two weeks. I will not count down the minutes as if there is a timer. I will not, this time.

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