Monday, April 5, 2010

Sound, Light & the Fury

Occipital Neuralgia sounds like some tropical disease that early explorers would catch from a rare parasite at the headwaters of the Nile. Actually, in my head it is many things: pulsing stabbing burning pain that spreads neatly along the right side of my head from my neck to my forehead and down to almost my ear; random stabbing pains in my right eye; and, in many ways, the worst is, sound and light sensitivity.
Sensitivity seems like such a namby pamby word. Although, when I check out the meaning, maybe it is a better descriptor than I first thought:

sensitive • adjective 1 quick to detect, respond to, or be affected by slight changes, signals, or influences. 2 delicately appreciating the feelings of others. 3 easily offended or upset. 4 kept secret or with restrictions on disclosure.

 1 Today a giant snare drum player has crouched over my home and loudly played intense unrelentingly beats on my roof—what everyone else calls simple spring rain. I have heard and counted every drop. The sound scratches and nibbles at the corners of my mind and nothing makes it go away. Last evening my husband dared to turn on the dining room light. I began to go insane. It is as if someone has taped my eyes open and I can't escape the penetrating persistence of it. When he shut it off, it was like diving into cool water on a hot day, the relief was total and instantaneous.

2 Delicate appreciation of others—bah humbug. Since I can't be nice I stay hidden in my cave and growl at the bridge crossers. Talking on the phone is hard, TV commercials are dentist drills, and crowds feel like my brain is in a blender.

3 After 24 years, I am still not brave enough, or is it foolish enough, to ask my hubbie if I am easily upset and offended right now. It is a fact. I am sure that if I am finding the world at large and interacting with people in general akin to running a cheese grater over my brain, I am definitely a witch at least two or three times a day. Nuff said.

3  If I could only weave a hat that others would slip on to experience this sensitivity. By its very invisibility, it becomes a secret. Certain sounds and lights can simply overwhelm me to the point that I can't think, or understand, or be rational.

And so, another day is drawing to a close. I have survived inspite of this maddening sensitivity. Sleep is a welcome respite. And, since I am a tough cookie, I will make it through tomorrow too.


Rick and Mary said...

I love you "tough cookie". You are more like a tasty gingersnap, even if you feel like snapping!

Bibliotekaren said...

Janine - I've never had occipital neuralgia but have heard the tales. The only thing I can semi-relate it to is the extreme sensory sensitivity that I had after my brain surgery. Someone could have tortured me by making me watch the evening news.

I hope there's some relief for you soon.


Ted J said...

Janine, sorry about the extreme sensitivity. You do a great job of explaining it. We missed you last night, but understand. We really enjoyed your presence when you could make it. Last night was our last night for this time. I plan to fly out in the morning. My prayers are with you.

Blessings, Ted

Janine said...

Comment from my brother:

You are a tough cookie and I think, like it or not, your life experience is teaching me and many others many things. You may be suffering for me. I don't know. And if indeed you are (and I don't expect you to know either) then gratitude and blessings to you. You give me something to pray for everyday. I love you. Mark