Sick In Bed

Woke this morning with a headache at three in the morning. Go back to sleep, I told myself. I tried to relax my closed eyes but clenched them against the ache, bringing it on even more of course.

I woke next at ten to four, headache still there. A not-so-dull aching that pulsed with my slowly beating heart. I remembered signs on the highway saying that if I'm having a stroke say, take me to Crouse. In the midst of a stroke I doubt I'd speak or think so clearly. I drifted deep into that thought.

The alarm sounded at four-forty. I turned it off and closed my eyes against the headache and the morning. My stomach felt clenched. The word swoopy came to mind. What does that even mean? I wondered. I lay there, swoopy, for half an hour, my head beating like a second hand.

Out of bed just after five I went downstairs. The cat said it was time for food. No deal. Learn to read a clock, I told her. She meowed in time with my headache and the swirl of my stomach. I skipped coffee, grabbed my pen, and went down to the basement nook to write my Morning Pages.

I wrote about whether or not I could make it to my job and through the school day. My headache made its argument, my stomach concurred. I finished the three pages, went upstairs to the computer, wrote and sent in lesson plans.

That done, I returned to bed with the computer thinking I might write. I got as far as the title of this then, squinting at the screen, felt myself sliding, maybe falling. I set aside the computer, lay down, closed my eyes, and tried not to count the beating of my pulse through the ache in my head. Last I saw, the clock said 7:55.

Then it was eight-thirty-something, then quarter to ten, and finally ten minutes to noon. The headache had mostly dissipated. My stomach was still off balance. I got out of the bed, changed out of pajamas into khakis and a sweater. I went down and ate a toasted bagel, drank a cup of decaf, sat on the couch and read for an hour and a half.

Then I picked up the computer again. I had the urge to write something. Who knows what? It wasn't this. This came much later, after dinner, when the headache had begun its return. I wondered what the point of it was, the long writing I had done in the afternoon, this shorter piece at night. It had me thinking of the Morning Pages. My 1,735th day in a row of doing them. That number has to mean something. Maybe with a clear head and stomach I would be able to say what that is. Probably not, but when I'm feeling sick and so unsure, it's nice to think that all I need is a clean bill of health and the mysteries of the world will open enough for me to write them down.

Until then, I'm going back to bed.