Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, August 11, 2008

The dreaded headache!

I didn't know whether to write this in Runnemede Remembered or The Fat Lady Singeth, but decided since it all started in Runnemede with my mother, I'd put it here.

I woke up in the middle of the night with the dreaded headache, something that hasn't happened to me for years. I dreamed I had a headache, I dreamed I was taking Advil to kill it, I could feel the actual pain in my dream, and woke up with a lollipaloosa (how does one spell that?) of a headache. It wasn't a hangover either!

I recall as a child -- a younger child -- before my teenage years, where my real memories began -- that my mother would NOT get up in the morning, and dad was the one who got us off to school if it was a school day, if not, he'd give us some toast and send us either outside to play or down the basement to play. We were NOT to disturb mom who was abed with a headache.

The shades in their bedroom were down and we were to be quiet, and I mean that quiet rule was enforced, if needs be by being taken to the church and reminded what it meant to be quiet with threat of, if not actual use of daddy's belt.

By noon, mom was puking, then by 1:00 p.m. she was fine -- it was the throwing up which cleared up the headache.

If any of you have suffered from migraines you know what I mean. My sister and I have had that affliction as do my children and hers. It must be something passed along -- yippee!!!

Anyway, when I hit my teenage years I began getting headaches -- really bad headaches. I head off to school (or later to work) with a headache that would build as the morning progressed. Then, most often I'd head to the school nurse, who would send me home. Dad would try to doctor me up with some little pills, asking me every two minutes whether I was feeling better. Please, dad, just leave me alone and let me die -- that's what I was thinking. Then I'd feel my stomach churn, but not wanting to throw up, even though I knew that was the solution to the problem, I would let it churn until, of its own volition, it would spew forth whatever was in there (usually just pills and chamomile tea) and then I'd feel better.

But the dreaded headache didn't really go away. I mean the pain was gone, but the thought of it returning lingered and every little pain or hurt in the eye because of light or stomach rumble would lead me to wonder, was the dreaded headache back again.

I recall that after my children were born the headaches were more frequent and I finally went to a real doctor (not my father) and he gave me something with codeine in it -- well, let me tell you, that cleared them up. But we moved and I found no other doctor that was willing to do that, so for the years through my 40s I suffered the dreaded headache often.

I found that Alka Seltzer Plus in orange juice helped -- so I kept a supply of them in my desk at the school where I taught and would be drinking those fizzies on a regular basis. Sometimes the remedy worked, other times it didn't work.

So, you see, this should probably be in The Fat Lady Singeth because of the subject matter -- aches and pains -- but because it all started with my mother, I put it here. Sorry to be so graphic.

And yes, I still have a bad headache, and no I haven't yet given homage to the potty.


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