Gravity's Rainbow

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This is the drug that works

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Sick Time by Sarcozona is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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I get the aura, I take the pill, I lie down. The pain starts, increases, becomes everything. Two hours later it has quieted to a throb that consumes most, but not all, of my attention. The ice pack doesn’t help, but it’s comforting.

This is the drug that works.

It feels like there’s a knife in my right shoulder. I imagine the pill lodged under my shoulder blade, transformed into something jagged, slowly sawing at the bone as I shift. I put the volume down and listen to a book, one I’ve read before because I’m hoping one of these waves of fatigue will carry me away.

This is the drug that works.

It’s 6 hours later. I can get up. Slowly, carefully, for a few minutes. My knees have a tendency to fold under me. A glass of water, some crackers, perhaps a moment sitting on the stoop. Back to bed.

This is the drug that works.

8 hours later and the pain is like the reverberations after a gong. I move carefully, awkwardly to avoid jostling the knife in my stomach. I’m still trembling, but can sit upright and eat leftovers (thank goodness I have some). I sit for a long time starting at the window, messaging my sister, my partner. I get up and my kitchen is scattered with dishes, spilled bits of juice and broken crackers. It is a quiet relief to tidy it, to be able to tidy it.

It is 7:30 and I’m exhausted. The pain isn’t bad but it hovers around me. I go to sleep.

This is the drug that works.

Triptans have a 50% chance of causing a rebound headache.

When I wake the next morning my head doesn’t hurt. The vision on my left side seems strangely smeared and I move carefully to avoid the lightest brush on my stomach. Breakfast, some fresh air, slowly, slowly. I feel hopeful. I sit down and start working. It is hard, but my work is hard. I start to calculate a probability. It is simple; it is impossible. I am crying with frustration when the pain starts.

This is the drug that works.

My stomach is so sensitive I am leery of taking another pill. The more often I take them, the worse the rebound effect is. The pain is not as bad as it could be, but it is enough. I lie down. The day passes.

This is the drug that works.

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