chapter 8: paused

that first night back from the hospital, i was at home by myself.  i wanted so badly to take a hot bath, but i was afraid i would pass out in the tub and drown.  the pills were constantly necessary, and i wasn’t sure how much my need for sleep was being caused by the meds and how much was due to the lesion in the center of my head.  the doctor had told me that the mass was no longer bleeding, and that the blood would eventually re-absorb into my system, and as it did, my headaches would subside.  so hopefully, in time i would feel normal again.  but at this point, normal was still a long ways off.

for the next several days, i continued my routine of sleeping, waking up for 20 minutes, and then falling back into much-needed unconsciousness.  personal interests, career dreams, even relationships…they all disappeared from my mind.  the world took a back seat to my chronic need for sleep.  my brain felt swollen, and i desperately wanted peace.  i couldn’t take any stress from ANYTHING.  NO STRESS.  if ANYTHING caused stress, i had to cut it out.  because i felt every moment as if i could die, like something might frustrate me, and my head would explode.  i am nothing if not relaxed;  but i was at a point where i literally couldn’t handle ANY stress.  NOTHING.  AT ALL.

imagine you are bent over, and trying to pick up a heavy weight.  you squint your eyes.  you hold your breath.  you strain every muscle in your body.  air escapes from your mouth involuntarily, as you unintentionally grunt and moan.  at this moment, whether you realize it or not, your head is filled with pressure.  and if you think to notice, there is a sound in your head, not too unlike the low rumble in an action movie or a big-budget thriller, the sustained bass that fills the room from subwoofers tucked away inside the walls or floor of the theater.  it’s the sound of dramatic weight.  tension.  suspense.  importance.  that is the sound that fills your head at your most physically tense point, in your most strained and halted moment.  that is exactly the sound i heard, exactly how my head felt, EVERY moment.  just sitting down.  doing nothing.  it felt as if i was straining my guts out, as if my head was literally one extra flex away from blowing up and killing me.

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