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It Had to Happen Sooner or Later: Therapy and Migraines do not Mix

Posted Sep 06 2010 6:53pm

I take pride in having my clients’ sessions run uninterrupted. While brazenly unprofessional, there are shrinks will answer their telephone in the middle of an appointment or excuse themselves to get coffee without batting an eyelash. None of this occurs with me. In fact, in 8 years of private practice, I have yet to even need to step out to use the bathroom. Good planning with liquid consumption can’t be underscored enough.

I had mentioned previously that I experience migraines a few times per year. They are, in fact, brutal. Fortunately I had never struggled with one during the work day. Until now.

People report various symptoms when a migraine headache begins its slow, deliberate attack that makes you want to remove your own brain with a spoon. For me, what starts out as a simple tension headache turns into a pounding John Bonham slugfest in my cranium, followed by intense nausea and a need for darkness. But with a client sitting right across from me, anything other then digging an aspirin out of my pocket wasn’t about to happen.

As she talked about financial issues, I sensed beads of sweat beginning to accumulate on my forehead and I could actually feelmy face changing from its usual color of Rosacia Red to white. The client noticed immediately as well.

“Are you alright?”

“I…I’m not sure. Would you excuse me for a moment?” Damnit, my streak of 9,843 uninterrupted therapy sessions if fucking over!

I slowly rose from my chair and, being the sophisticated gentleman that I am, calmly walked out of the office, past the waiting area, and into the hallway. I then proceeded to sprint down the hall toward the bathroom.

I actually got a hand on the men’s room door when the first wave of vomit exploded up into my mouth. Streams of the hot, semi-liquid mess spewed onto the door and onto the sleeve of my shirt, with chunks of who-the-hell-knows what hitting the floor. I almost slipped on it as I bolted for the stall, where I proceeded to eliminate my entire insides for what was probably five minutes.

I got up, shaky, and went over to the sink to wash my hands and face. I then noticed little pustules just under my eyelids, and when I pulled the skin down, the blood vessels had seemingly exploded. I had vomited so hard that I actually broke my eyes.

Looking like an uglier version of Freddie Kruger, I walked back into the office, took out a breath mint and, with forced dignity, simply said, “I’m sorry for the delay. Now where were we?”

“My God, you look fucking awful,” she said.

“Thank you. I mean, I’m sorry. I just, I had a very bad headache and I needed to use the bathroom.”

“You sure you can continue?” she asked.

Actually, the vomiting had helped tremendously, and what was once trumpets blaring in my brain was now simply a dull pulsating sensation.

“Absolutely, I said,” my sleeves rolled up more than usual to hide the vomit stain. If I were a smoker I could have put a pack of cigarettes up near my shoulder, claiming it was “1950’s Day” in the office.

I completed the session with her, followed by two others, all the while thinking about how I would have killed multiple children for a toothbrush.

When I finally left for the day I took stock: ruined shirt due to emesis, Defcon 1 headache that was downgraded to low tension, pale complexion, a streak shattered and two broken eyeballs. That, my friends, is what we in the business call “professionalism.”

Related Post: Delayed Gratification

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