I've always had headaches. Lots of them. Way more than normal people. Sometimes I go through good stretches; sometimes, I go through bad stretches. And it always seems that the bad stretches last way longer than the good ones. I'm in a bad stretch right now. I wake up with a headache. Daily. Sometimes it stays with me all day; sometimes I can shake it. This one, I couldn't shake.
It started on Thursday. And kept pumping on Friday. It didn't feel like a migraine, but I took a migraine pill Friday night anyway because it was really important that I lick this thing. My weekend plans were kayaking, kayking and more kayaking. And driving. Lots and lots of driving between rivers. And camping. I was particularly excited (scared?) because we were going to paddle a new river; a bit bigger and more technical but a good challenge for me since the other rivers have become a bit boring and mundane. I spent a good portion of the night organizing and packing up the car, making sure I had everything I needed for two days of paddling, one night of camping, meals and enough drugs (all legal, if not slightly abused) in various shapes and sizes to keep me going.
My alarm went off at 5am on Saturday. Yes, I am insane. And my head still hurt. I finished packing up the car with my assorted camping gear and food, popped 2 advil, 2 alleve and 2 sinus pills, grabbed some coffee and hit the road at 6:15.
At 7 am, my stomach ached and my head throbbed. I was almost halfway to the river. I drove 15 more minutes, and the tears started. I couldn't do it. I couldn't paddle like this. I couldn't even drive; let alone put a helmet on my head and try to avoid slamming into rocks. But I didn't want to quit and be defeated. Especially this weekend. So I passed exit after exit, my head hurting worse and worse as I got closer to the mountains. And me feeling more and more conflicted and indecisive.
I finally pulled my phone out and called the prof. It was 7:30 am. Why he was awake and answered the phone I will never know; but he did. And I think I about bawled. "My head hurts. I can't do it. But I have to do it. I don't want to quit."
And he said the best thing: "Kayaking is supposed to be something you enjoy; not something you suffer through." Yes, its common sense, but I needed to hear from someone else that it was ok to quit this one time.
So, I pulled off at the next exit; turned around and came home. Well, home to his house anyway. He had never seen me so upset; if there's one thing that will make me distraught, its quitting. If there's something that will make me even more distraught, its letting someone see me distraught. He held me for a really long time, and that's what I needed. I was absolutely miserable. I crawled into his bed and took a migraine pill. He laid with me for a little while until I feel asleep, then went off to do something more productive. He got me chocolate and full sugar coke, because he remembered that I said (weeks ago) that the combination was good for headaches. He earned so many points that day, I can't even count them.
The pain in my head eventually subsided to a dull thud, and I crawled out of bed to eat a sub, chocolate and coke. Even though I could barely get off the couch, we had a nice day together. I sat and read, and tracked the water level on the rivers I was supposed to be on. He sat and read and played guitar and watched stupid crap on youtube. We watched two segments of Blue Planet - so at least I got my nature fix, if only from tv.
The day at his house went so much better than the day would have gone if I had come home to be with the cats. No one would have brought me coke and chocolate. And no one would have reassured me that I wasn't a loser for not paddling class III rapids with a migraine. But it wasn't just that. The unexpected time to just be with him made up for not being able to be on the river. How's that for a strange turn of events?