Thursday, January 8, 2015

Breaking Point

I had the worst night of my life two nights ago while at work due to cluster headaches that would not stop. I had contemplated calling in sick for the shift earlier in the day because I was feeling off but I figured I'd be fine. It wasn't because of headaches.

I got to work feeling good and ready for the all-night shift. Everything was going well until around 11:05 when I was preparing to go back into the sector and let Jason out so he could go home. I could sense a headache developing. I didn't want to burn through an Imitrex so I let it ride to make sure the pain I was feeling was the real deal. It wouldn't be until I was standing behind Jason in the sector before I knew it was. He unplugged and left the area while I quickly unpackaged an Imitrex spray and shot it into my nose, inhaling it deeply for the quickest relief possible. The relief never came.

I struggled through the next hour of steady but routine traffic, trying to focus through the sharp pain behind my left eye while desperately waiting for the headache to abate. It had been many years since I was in the sector with a headache such as this and I'd hoped to never again find myself in this position but there I was.

The headache finally began to subside an hour later. I finished out my time in the sector and went on break for the rest of the night when Harrold got me out at 2:10.

I found an open couch in the break-room and laid down but I was awoken by another headache around 3:10. This can't be I thought to myself! I struggled to put my shoes on and find my badge in the dark then made my way down to my locker where I had another Imitrex waiting for me. I quickly took it in deeply then headed for the bathroom by the lockers and sat on a chair with the door locked behind me waiting for the Imitrex to kick in, but just like the last time, it was a no-show. I rocked and quietly moaned while the headache took its toll on me. I'd remain there for an hour before collecting myself enough to go back to the break-room and gather my things.

Once I got back to the couch I laid down and immediately fell asleep only to wake to the beginnings of another headache not more than 30 minutes later. Just unreal! Why won't they stop?! I had no more meds and this headache was building. I left to go to my car and the sub-zero temps of our coldest night of the winter so far to ride it out there. The pain contorting my head at times with its intense and unrelenting jabs. I just wanted out of the building and away from anybody who could see me in this condition.

I left the parking lot a few minutes early at 5:25 and made my way back home. I called Tammy, crying on the phone to her that I couldn't do this anymore. I was at my breaking point! My eyes were bleary with tears. She would be waiting for me when I got home.

I got onto Highway 50 and cursed God like I've never cursed him before. I screamed so fucking loud at him for allowing this to happen to me and for quite likely even taking glee in seeing me suffer. I didn't try to make any deals with him for the pain to stop. I was a mess and emotionally out of control. I cursed him for all of the atrocities he presided over in the Old Testament, something I'd been in a discussion about on a forum the previous day. It wasn't pretty and by the time I was done yelling at him, I could tell that my voice was hoarse. I was spent but I was still in pain. In a moment of clarity not far from home I realized how selfish I was and I began to thank him for the countless blessings in my life and to please excuse me for all I'd said.

I got home and Tammy was at the back door waiting to guide me up to my room. Tears streaming down my face and shaking from what I'd been through and was still in the middle of. She's seen me in bad shape before but not like this. She got me to the edge of the bed and adjusted my oxygen mask over my face. I was in complete agony, rocking in pain and moaning. It would be more than 30 minutes before I'd begin to experience some relief.

I told Tammy that I can't go back to work if this is going to happen again. It's not worth it. I'll retire today if necessary. We can manage. I made a comment to a friend a few years ago about retirement and that my headaches would probably be what decides it for me. I hope those words aren't prophetic.

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