Back around mid-2006, I got a headache.
No big deal, right? Everyone gets headaches. Well, most people do. I wasn’t necessarily one of them. In fact, I don’t really remember getting a headache until I was into my forties. Just didn’t ever really hit me.
Anyway, this headache turned out to be rather notable for two reasons. I’ll get to the second one in a little while, but the first reason the headache was notable was simply because it didn’t go away for quite a while.
About eight months, to be exact.
And no, I’m not joking around, calling one of my kids a headache or something. No, this was twin bands of pain that started behind my eyeballs and traveled up my forehead, across the top of my head and ended somewhere around the base of my skull.
There were times when it lessened, but it became my constant companion. Not one to take pills, the first little while I just toughed it out. It’s a headache, it’s gonna go away, right?
After a while, I started into the Tylenol. Then I borrowed some heavier ammunition from my wife, who is prone to migraines. Didn’t even make a dent. None of it, not even Tylenol 3s.
The next step was to talk to my doctor. After finding out loud noises didn’t bother me, nor did bright lights or any other sensory stimuli, he ruled out migraines. I could still function, I could still work and read and carry on conversations, but there were times when, for no apparent reason, someone stuck an icepick in the side of my head.
Then I started craving sleep. It was the only time I could get away from the pain, though the second I was there, it was right there with me. If I woke up in the middle of the night, it was right there with me.
After a while, just because I was getting worn down, it did start to affect my work. I took more sick days off from work in that span than I likely took in the last fifteen years of work.
I continued to check in with my doctor. We ran the gamut, tests of all sorts, blood, brain scans, you name it.
In the end, we put it down to stress and I found out the best drug in the world when it comes to headaches or kidney stones (a whole ‘nother story) is Toradol. Don’t know who designed those magic little pills, but they kick all kinds of ass. While they didn’t kill the headaches, they did manage to drop the hurricanes in my head down to thunderstorms instead.
But one of the tests was, if I remember right, an MRI of my head. And I’ve carried what my doctor told me ever since, the second notable thing I mentioned above.
He was quick to tell me the scan showed I was clear of tumours or anything untoward in my cranium. And then he held the scan up so we could get a good look at it. Then he pointed out that, apparently unlike the rest of you, my skull is extremely well-formed and free of unsightly bumps, potuberances and unusual thicknesses. Even more unusual, he told me, was that my brain didn’t have any clusters of capillaries. There were no unseemly clumps at all in my brain. All was nicely and cleanly distributed.
“This is really rare to see,” he said. “Usually there’s little knots or dark spots. Your’s is clean.” And then, to the Wife’s utter and eternal consternation, he said, “Tobin, really, you have a perfect brain.”
Now, let’s just stop here and savour that for the moment it deserves. Roll that around on your tongue. “You have a perfect brain.”
I have the perfect brain.
The perfect brain.
What does this mean?
My brain’s perfect and yours isn’t.
My brain’s cooler than peppermint, hell it’s cooler than a polar bear’s toes.
My brain’s the Beatles and yours is the New Kids on the Block.
My brain can beat Chuck Norris in an arm wrestle. Or anything else.
My brain’s Kung-Fu is stronger than yours.
Bow before me and bask in the brilliance that is my perfect brain, bitches!
Okay, I’m stopping now. I sound too much like Charlie Sheen.
In case you’re wondering, yes, the doctor really did say all that, but I’m really not quite as conceited as I sound.