[Sober Living] Pain’s No Worse

“My pain’s no worse than yours.[1]” Day 9 of my migraine. A few hours later, I’d have to leave work early, and a few hours later, I was waiting in an urgent care, waiting-waiting-waiting-waiting, waiting-waiting-waiting, waiting-waiting, waiting… eventually to be seen. And yet, if there’s anything this life has taught me, just because I’m going through this pain with my head doesn’t mean I’m any more deserving of sympathy or any worse off than anyone else.

The only thing would be that we should respect each other.

The pains you endure are just as difficult for you as the pains I endure. I may be able to tolerate migraines more because I’ve accidentally lived my whole life with them – and I say accidentally because I didn’t have the words to describe these sensations until I had to argue with unsympathetic doctors, unwilling to focus for more than two seconds to hear me out, until I was preparing to talk to Doctor-Number-Five, and now I can talk to some degree of medical education on headaches because I must in order to get the care I need – but that doesn’t mean that if you have a seemingly minor headache or a minor scratch, seemingly comparatively, that my pain is superior to yours. We all bleed.

I’m just bleeding more than you right now.

I’ve been thinking about how headaches are a more subjective situation than a cut on the arm. If I had a big cut along the side of my arm, everyone could see it, so it is more objective. A nurse could prep it, a doctor could treat it, and non-professionals can see it. Headaches are less apparent. Migraines have probably been the most “popular” headache because you can see someone wince in pain over over-exposure to light. – I’m currently wearing sunglasses, which will probably be my default computer glasses for the remainder of my life, even if the optical-neurological aspects of these headaches get sorted out. – Short of a brain scan, you can’t really “see” a headache, and even with a brain scan, well, my insurance initially denied that until I got a doctor’s referral, so I sit here, waiting.

I went back to see Doctor-Number-Five today.

I explained that my insurance declined my inquiry about asking for a brain scan and they haven’t been prioritizing getting me a primary care physician or neurologist referral. The doctor’s note outlined specific requests for them. We’ll see if that helps. Meanwhile, I won’t be risking my eyesight or health. I’ll continue writing at the paces that I am, but I’ll have to adjust some of my life plans over the next few months. I had planned to start working on the publishing business. I may need to defer that depending on the effectiveness of these two medications that I’ll write about later. Even if I need to defer the officiality of the business as a legal LLC entity until after tax season, I do at least have the ability to research the legal aspects to make sure I won’t get legally screwed over for distributing my second novel.

I’ll focus on reading more this year.

I had wanted to watch more anime, play more videogames, and more of that perspective, but these sunglasses represent a sort of eye exhaustion that I shouldn’t risk more than I must. I never really used to blink my eyes while playing videogames growing up. Maybe that caused subtle eye damage? I am now trying to be more careful not to stare at the screen for extended minutes at a time. I try to blink and close my eyes. My doctor’s note states that for the next two weeks, every hour at the computer must be given a 15-minute rest. I’m still learning to balance this out. When I write like this, I tend to stare blankly at the screen as my mind completes each sentence and as my fingers do the work.

I may need to practice writing without sight.

It might be awkward for me to write this way for now, but the more practice I have, the better I can get at resting my eyes throughout my writing sessions, especially as I continue my goals toward writing professionally. I think this will be good and necessary. If I were to experience these headaches while being an independent, self-published author, then, well, I could probably have the downtime to rest until I felt more like writing, instead of now where I have to write with the remaining time I have before I need to prepare to leave for work… but this is probably the best time to get these headaches.

I still have insurance. Unless I’m fired for some reason.

If so, then I’d take the time off to rest, recuperate, regenerate, then reorganize my life. When I close my eyes, I still see the firewires of lights indicative of overworked eyes with prolonged exposure to light. I’m sure there will be more people like me in the future. Maybe in the next ten years, we’ll have doctors that have seen enough cases like mine to move that consideration from subjective to objective pain? Maybe there will be easier ways for non-doctors to measure the objectivity of headaches other than visually seeing a migraineur’s wincing? It won’t be as objective as blood, but anything is better than having to have argued so loudly for my health. That’s why if you come to me with any woes or pains that are inflicting you, I will not look down on you, just as long as you are not telling me these things to inflict pain on me. If you are lost, confused, worried, scared, and unsure of how to proceed, I will only want the best for you, and I will try my best to empathize and guide. In that way, my pain is no better than yours.

Whatever you’re going through right now, no matter how subtle, is valid so let’s wish each other good health.

Quotes: [1] I told this to a supervisor at work after my second day of wearing sunglasses at work. This supervisor had just had some difficult car troubles. Who am I to feel that I’m better than someone else for having these headaches?
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I was going to include a note – since I try to focus these Wednesday evening Sober Living essays on the health aspects of sobriety – that I probably won’t be exercising for these two weeks. That would have been two weeks before this essay’s publication. My publication schedule requires me to write as a time traveler, so don’t mind that much… I suppose that note is obvious. I’ll have to focus on counting calories and nutritional information more throughout these next few weeks along with closing my eyes more and doing less digital work. I can still write, but I just won’t be spending hours at it. I wrote most of this section alternating between looking at the screen, blinking, and wincing…
Related: Other Sober Living essays.
Picture: At least I’m not a UI designer or someone that needs to stare at screens with no light filters.
Written On: 2020 January 06 [28 minutes, from 8:04pm to 8:32am, while listening to Vendetta Red, written in WordPress.]
Last Edited: 2020 January 06 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.