Insomnia, migraines and in-flight sickness: A great way to start a week!

So here it is, midnight in a hotel just outside of Pittsburgh and for the third night in a row, I can’t sleep. It’s not that annoying roll over, sleep for a little bit and wake up a lot type of insomnia, but the type where your eyes have long since become irritable and burn.

Laying here in the dark staring into nothing, it’s odd the places your mind wanders to. As a guy, the whole thinking about se thing every 7 seconds is a myth. I’m thinking it’s more accurate to say every few minutes, likely because a good romp would in fact help me sleep. No, self-service doesn’t have the same effect if that’s what you’re thinking. In between those thoughts come the other thoughts, like wondering which series on netflix would be worth binge-watching until I maybe fall asleep. Probably something I’ve seen before so I don’t get sucked into the series thereby dooming any chance of sleep.

Other thoughts include wondering of there’s a way to tame my increasing amount of gray hairs which seem to be at the front of my hairline with an entirely defiantly different texture than the rest of my hair. Then I wonder how my wife is going to handle her new job. Her patient for her second day was a 7 month old baby with a trache and vent for assisted breathing, 11 separate IV drop machines going into a central line and some horrible illness I can’t pronounce, but the name sounds horrible enough for the actual condition. She had to run another IV for the baby today, and all I could think about was when she was in nursing school and she had taken some supplies from some place she was doing clinicals in to practice on me because I’m a good husband and a good sport. This practice session didn’t go well, as she got the catheter in, but didn’t get the rest of the process done in enough time for my arm to start spurting blood everywhere. I just gave a look thinking that this look was usually the one meant in jest as it was a completely inauthentic look that almost always makes her laugh, then looked down at my arm as she looked like she felt guilty and was pressing gauze on the fresh wound trying to get it to stop bleeding. It seems like just yesterday and I still chuckle when I think back to that. It was years ago, but still seems like just yesterday.

Anyway.. I’ve felt horribly depressed the last couple of days. I think this was partly by my own doing. I had missed a dose of medication 4 nights ago and had felt “odd” the next day. Physically odd, I mean. Lamictal isn’t one of those medications that you can just take a missed dose if it’s many hours later and still take the next dose at the regular time. There’s risks with that, so in my case, with the time that had passed, I just missed the dose.

Adding to that was the rather large hassle of getting here in the first place. I was on my way to the airport about 2 1/2 hours early for my flight Monday afternoon because I had reached a good stopping point at work and traffic to that particular airport sucks later in the day. I received an automated call from United telling me that my flight had been canceled, but there was no “… press 1 or stay on the line to speak to a customer service representative” message at the end of the recording. It just hung up. I get to the airport about 20 minutes before our corporate travel team ends their day, but decide to roll the dice and go to the check-in desk to see if they can do anything. Luckily there was a flight just about to leave if I booked ass through the airport, willing to shove over nuns and old ladies that might be standing on those moving walkways whist running at a pace that’s unhealthy for someone with the combination of a gut worthy of a man who owns his own keg cooler and the cardiac stamina one would expect of someone who sits around in hotel rooms at night rather than using the available exercise facilities. You know, because running hurts.

I get to the gate a few minutes before they close it for boarding, then once we are on the tarmac the pilot comes over the PA and says “Expect a rough takeoff, landing and a choppy flight because of wind and weather. Please keep seat belts on at all times during the flight.” Great.. I’m not someone that’s nervous about flying, but other people usually are, and there’s a family who clearly doesn’t believe in birth control with their small tribe of children seated in the rows in front of me, most of which appear to be under the age of 10. As expected, the takeoff had 4 of them crying from fear, then the choppy ride to the cruising altitude had 2 more crying. The flight attendant comes down and is handing out soda/pop to everyone and hands the kids some of those bags of mini pretzels which chills them out. I drink my Coke and get that tell-tale taste in the back of my mouth and the nausea that is the precursor to my migraines. I reach into my backpack and get out my nasal spray migraine medication. For anyone reading this that gets migraines that come with extreme nausea, this is good. One less thing for your stomach to churn about with. Anyway, this was a rapid onset one.

I start to feel really ill and incredibly hot. I don’t know about other people, but when I feel like that, it’s usually when I’m on the edge of puking. I don’t usually puke from migraines as I’m able to hold it in, but no, not on a plane that’s about to descend through turbulence with the captain reminding everyone over the PA that it’s very windy, so we can anticipate a potentially hard landing. About three minutes before touchdown I realize I’m not going to be able to avoid this one, so I grab one of those vomit bags that are in the back of every seat. I’ve never used one of these, nor have I witnessed one being used. They are like a thick version of a paper sandwich bag with an extra margin at the top for a stiff bread tie that extends a little past the sides so you can fold the lip down, then fold over the wire area to keep the bag relatively closed.

I don’t just vomit a little, and it’s not one of those quiet burp-played-backward sounds.. No, it’s one of those really loud retching sounds that you usually hear from freshmen at college being away from their parents the first time after their first kegger. It’s not over in one pass, either. No, I do this through the entire landing, even as we’re taxying to the gate, much to the horror of those around me. Luckily, not one of those kids was a sympathetic puker, but they wouldn’t stop staring. One of the nearby passengers asked if I was ok and I just said “bad migraine” and everyone around me seemed to let out a sigh of relief. Luckily I’m not someone who gets embarrassed in public, even when I daw a lot of attention. I used to be incredibly self-conscious, but that left when I simply stopped giving a shit about what people thought about me. Side note: a carbonated beverage right before a migraine seems to help the projectile quality of vomiting. Side note 2: those bags hold up incredibly well. I wait for others to exit the plane so that I’m the last passenger out. I’m not quite sure what the protocol is with used vomit bags, and in spite of the beautiful line work illustrations showing the rather obvious steps of proper punk-in-a-bag technique, no further instructions are given. So, I wait for the flight attendant to come up the aisle. When I held up the bag she took it from my hand and gave me a look that my ex wife used to give me leading up to, and especially during the divorce. Like I fucking planned on puking to ruin her day or something.

The migraine wasn’t going away anytime soon, so I took the second dose of the medication and ate some airport food. It was still there through the many delays for my connecting flight to Pittsburgh. I finally was checked into the hotel at around 1:00 a.m. A couple of hours of sleep later, the insomnia started in. So, here I sit in a lonely hotel room, wide awake, now hungry and waiting to see my first client at 9:00 downtown. The clients today both asked if I was ok, mentioning in a rather politically correct way that I looked like hell. At least the migraine is gone.

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