Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Of ice picks, brain cell failure, and 500 words

Yesterday, my eye exploded.

I jest, of course, but only in a literal sense. My eye didn't actually burst--it only felt as though it was about to. For a couple of hours.

And the eye pain was just the central gem in a complete jewelry setting of head pains in the form of "ice pick headaches," for which the official term is "primary stabbing headache." Both names are sufficiently and accurately descriptive; these are sudden, sharp headaches that seem to be focused on a specific point in the head that feel exactly the way I imagine it would feel to have an ice pick thrust into the skull.

Apparently, ice pick headaches are predominantly experienced by people who also suffer from migraine *raises hand* and cluster headaches, but they are not actually migraines or cluster headaches, so treatments for those ailments don't work for these. There is, in fact, no known treatment yet for ice pick headaches.

The eye pain was repetitive, but variety was provided by the fact that the other ice picks were scattered around at various cranial locations. It was a lot like having a fireworks show taking place inside my head.

Perhaps in part because cerebral functions are not optimal under these conditions, I elected to go to bed for the evening... after I had met my daily quota of 500 words. I was starting out with 33 words for the day, so that meant I needed another 467.

By the time I reached the end of the scene I'd been working on, I had racked up 869 words.
Ironically, when I was finished, the pains had mostly subsided, leaving a dull, light-headed feeling in their place. I got into jammies and let Terry Pratchett comfort me for a couple of hours (via Jingo, which I'm loving), and then I went to sleep.

Today, I opened that scene with some trepidation, not entirely convinced that what I'd written under those unusual circumstances would turn out to be worth much. Surprisingly, it was fine--unless yesterday's episode caused some brain damage which is preventing me from being able to tell quality from crap, but if that's case, one of my beta readers will alert me.

Actually, last year somebody told me that every migraine causes minor brain damage. This assertion was later discounted by my doctor, but my personal empirical evidence in favor of it is mounting. This morning, I needed to leave a note for my son before I left the house but was unable to locate the refrigerator-mounted notepad. My son has since confirmed that the pad was, in fact, right on the refrigerator in plain sight. There have been numerous similar incidents that tend to suggest that I am running out of fully-functioning brain cells, so maybe all these migraines are taking an insidious toll beyond wrecking my quality of life while they're in progress.

But as long as I can squeeze out those 500 words a day, I'll just try to live with the damage.


Jo Eberhardt said...

Fabulous work to get those 500 words done in that condition. I don't know how _sane_ it was, but it was definitely fabulous.

Oh, and I love Jingo. It's oe of my favourite Pratchett books of all time.

Leanne D. Baldwin said...

I just finished it last night and loved every syllable. :)