My Country Western Song/Fucked Up Children’s Book

A few weeks ago I got a migraine and wrote the following:

You know those stereotypical country western songs in which some poor sap is down on his luck? Maybe his dog just died and his woman just left him, and his boss is getting him down – that kind of thing? I’m having one of those evenings, only substitute the dog and woman and boss with illness and other absurdities.

Let’s see, what are the elements to tonight’s country song?

Well, to set the stage, I was lazily researching school-related info for my kid online when I realized with dismay that I was getting a migraine. I haven’t had a migraine since around April, so I was pretty bummed out about it.

I’m not sure what brought this migraine on. My theory is either stress, the extra coffee I drank today, the apple I ate at lunch, dehydration, or the perfume my new coworker sprayed in the bathroom today. This may sound odd, but trust me – these are all potential migraine triggers for me.

I should note that I had/sort of still have MCS, that pesky condition (understatement of the year) in which a person reacts to various foods and low levels of chemicals in the environment. I used to be extremely ill because of MCS. I suffered acutely almost every single day for 3 years, with migraine being one of my main, most troublesome issues. One day I will write more about that whole ordeal, but not tonight. Tonight I’m writing about my fucked up country western song.

Here goes:

So, once I realized I had a migraine, I got depressed. Anytime my MCS status is relegated from “former problem” to “shit, this might still be a problem”, it fucks with me. I tried not to think about it, but I got depressed, then moved quickly into uncontrollable crying – a PTSD reaction to the horrid memories of those 3 years suffering with this unacknowledged medical condition. My fear and despair from those years just flooded back to me as the familiar vice grip of the migraine tightened its hold on my skull.

I composed myself and started doing these breathing exercises that help with MCS (long story). While doing the exercises I decided I needed to eat dinner, so I dried my face and began cooking a frozen fish fillet and zucchini. Then I discovered that the heating element to my oven was broken, so I had to use the broiler. Only, you’re not supposed to broil this fish, so I decided to use it just to heat the oven to an acceptable temperature. This meant I needed to cover the fish, but I realized I was out of foil. So I covered it with a cookie sheet, which ended up emitting a smoky, stale grease odor as it heated.

While this ridiculousness was going on, I decided to wash dishes. Because of my broken thumb, I wear a brace and glove while doing the dishes. I must have pressed too hard while scrubbing, because I felt a snap when the end of my thumbnail pressed against the brace. I then realized that my thumbnail was beginning the process of falling off. Super. The doctors told me it would happen, but the warnings didn’t render the event any less cringe-worthy.

So anyway, in the span of 30 minutes the following occurred: migraine, PTSD, broken oven, out of tinfoil, baking with broiler, smoky kitchen, thumbnail falling off. I actually laughed and wondered what on earth could possibly go wrong next, then begged the universe to leave that question unanswered.

So, that’s tonight’s country western song. It’s not really a song, though. Perhaps I should’ve used a different analogy, like from the children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Have you heard of that book? It’s about a series of events that occurs after a person gives a mouse a cookie – a seemingly minor act which leads to more and more minor acts, eventually culminating in mayhem and total exhaustion for the frazzled giver of the cookie. That was my evening.

Here’s the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” version of my evening:

If you eat an entire honeycrisp apple at lunchtime, you’re probably going to get a migraine later. When the migraine begins, it’ll trigger your PTSD and you’ll begin to cry. While you’re crying, you’ll remember you need to eat dinner, so you’ll decide to bake yourself some fish. After turning on the oven, you’ll notice that it’s broken and decide to use the broiler instead. You’ll discover you’re out of tinfoil, so you’ll find an old cookie sheet to cover the fish. Then you’ll do the dishes while waiting for the fish to cook. While you’re doing the dishes, you’ll feel a snap on your thumb. When you realize the thumbnail is falling off your previously-injured thumb, you’ll notice the kitchen is beginning to smell. You’ll open the oven and a cloud of noxious fumes will rise from the cookie sheet and assault your senses. You’ll close the oven and leave the kitchen, pondering how to care for your dangling thumbnail, when the food timer will go off. Then you’ll eat dinner while composing a blog post. Writing will cause you to stay up too late, making your migraine worse. As your migraine worsens, it’ll trigger your PTSD again and you’ll begin to cry…again. You’ll give up and collapse in bed, vowing to finish the blog post some other time. When you finally resume writing, you’ll realize several weeks have passed with very little time to write. This will depress you, so you’ll shake your fist at the sky cursing the gods for giving you a passion you have so little time and energy for. But you still won’t write much, because it’s Saturday, and time to take your son to his annual birthday sushi buffet lunch. Hopefully your lunch won’t give you another migraine.

There. I think I’ll call it “If You Give a Floxie an Apple”. If I could illustrate, I’d make a cartoon out of it, or a small graphic novel or something. Do illustrations of migraines and thumbnails falling off and PTSD sound as awesome to you as they do to me?

My life is so ridiculous sometimes.

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