Sunday, October 31, 2010

Seven Days, Seven Migraines

Tweaking my medication for a few days in the hopes of reducing the side effects was an abysmal mistake. Although I went back to the prescribed dosage (I had tried taking less) rather quickly, it must have messed something up. In seven days, I have managed seven migraines. Today's was the worst. I had planned to do eight hours of schoolwork and about five or six hours of work on my novel. Instead, I did two hours of writing and then spent the entire rest of the day on the couch, wondering at what point a human brain finally gives up and just explodes. Even the new pain meds were not enough for this one. In fact, I'm still in a lot of pain at the moment, and still having trouble remaining upright.

It's hard not to get discouraged and frustrated. Here I am, effectively working three jobs, with multiple important responsibilities, and I'm practically turning into an invalid because of my migraines. It seems that I have two unhappy alternatives: I can either spend the entire day completely doped from the preventative meds, or I can spend the day in agony from the migraine (and also doped from the pain meds). I decided on Friday that this is no way to live a life; next week, I'm making an appointment to see a neurologist.

I admit, part of this outbreak of migraines is probably my own fault for taking on too much. Besides my 25 hour per week job at the university (which is enjoyable, but also stressful), I am also taking nine credits of grad classes, which amounts to about thirty to forty hours per week spent reading and writing. Additionally, I do about twenty hours per week on average for Lantern Hollow Press. And on top of it all, I have both a thesis and a novel to write.

I was reflecting the other day that very few people decide to write a novel at the same time as a thesis. In fact, it seems rather an insane idea, considering the stress and tremendous work required by both. To effectively work two jobs and have classes just makes the whole thing seem ridiculous . . . and yet, here it is more than half way through the semester and I've been managing to do it all, without affecting my grades. I may be crazy, but God has certainly been gracious. It's He alone that has been responsible for any success I've had. So, despite all the pain and sickness, I could certainly be worse off. Also, I have a lot to be thankful for.

Thanks for giving me a few minutes to whine. Now I think I'll try to get a little bit more writing done before collapsing into bed.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"