Friday, January 6, 2012

Past Deadline: Headaches Past and Present

On New Year’s Eve morning, I had a pounding sinus headache. I had gone to bed with it, woke up with it and spent the day with it, and as I struggled to stay awake until midnight to usher in 2012, I knew there would be no champagne for me.

Fortunately I am not a big champagne fan anyway.

So the new year began with a monster headache, which seemed like a major rip off considering I didn’t earn it by partying the night before.

As I popped headache meds and lay down with an ice pack, I mused for a while upon the symbolism of all of this. Leaving 2011 with a headache seemed appropriate in some ways, but waking up with one in the brand new year – was that foreboding?

Nah. Waking up with a headache on New Year’s Day is far from unusual.

It occurred to me on New Year’s Eve that there was something very familiar about this scenario, and then I remembered.

Ten years ago on that very night I was lying in bed with ice packs and missing out on a New Year’s Eve party, thanks to a brutal headache. The big difference that year, and I do mean “big,” is that I was rather enormously pregnant at the time with my first child.

That night, instead of tackling the monster with various drugs to make it go away, I was lying there wishing I could take something – anything! To make matters worse, I was worrying about what the headache could mean. High blood pressure? Preeclampsia? Some other mysterious bad-news pregnancy ailment that would inflict doom upon us all?

(I worried a lot with the first pregnancy. I am a worrier. It is what I do.)

Despite a learned friend’s advice that Tylenol was okay, I opted for suffering to be on the safe side. After all, I was on the brink of this amazing thing called motherhood and I was trying to go by the book: no drugs, no alcohol, no caffeine and only good food. (Probably I ate too much good food – but I would pay later (still) for that.)

Anyway, before midnight we decided to telephone the maternity ward at the hospital (where we would be headed mere days later) to ask for advice. The nurses basically said, “You’re 40 weeks? Duh. Take some Tylenol and get on with your life.”

I think the fact I hadn’t taken any sort of pain relief medication in nine months made that Tylenol something of a miracle drug. It worked really fast and I felt immensely better almost right away.

Different times, different headache 10 years later, but what hasn’t changed is the fact I still feel as if I am on the brink of something amazing and mysterious – and it’s still motherhood.

By the time this is published I will have been a mother for 10 years – a whole decade – and even though I feel as if I am a pro at some things (such as tying shoes and helping with homework and soothing booboos), just like 10 years ago I realize I have so much still to learn, so many challenges to face, lots of new and different and as-yet-unknown worries to navigate.

Such is motherhood.

Fortunately, with the current set of New Year’s resolutions I discussed last week, I feel somewhat prepared to embrace the next decade of motherhood.

Let’s see how I am doing a few days in:
1. Get more exercise – Unless you count lifting heavy holiday food from the plate to one’s mouth as exercise, then this one needs a little work.
2. Hair Management Program™ – Cut and coloured in time for my New Year’s Eve headache! Yes! Now I will look great in the face of the motherhood challenges on the horizon.
3. Don’t freak out in the face of change – So far so good, mostly because of my hair.
4. Save the world – I think part of my strategy will be to groom the 10-year-old to help accomplish this.

Happy birthday, Boychild!

Published in The Perth Courier, Jan. 5/12

No comments: