species of headache
Saturday, April 3 2004
Just a month or two ago Gretchen was talking about how strange it was that we don't have any friends up here in the Catskills. But now something has happened, some criticality has been attained, and we have scads of friends. Two of them were over today to walk their old dog with ours on the uphill neighbor's property. They are the couple from Eagle Nest Road.
Later, after the walk, we were talking mostly about medical procedures. Ms. Eagle Nest is recovering from soem recent abdominal surgery, but we ended up talking more about Mr. Eagle Nest's terrible migraines and the cyst on his brainstem that may or may not be responsible. Using a fig, he demonstrated what was done to his cyst during an operation performed 13 years ago. A shunt (or "sewer pipe," as he described it) was routed through it from one pole to the other to relieve fluid pressure accumulating on top of it. As for the migraines, he's had them ever since he was old enough to remember anything and the operation wasn't successful in eliminating them.
Interestingly, though, these migraines may have actually helped Mr. Eagles Nest's photographic career. He told us that some of his best pictures were shot during intense migraine attacks. During an attack he feels like his head is being pulled asunder by an enormous donut-shaped magnet. There's little he can do about the pain except search around for a scene that is perfectly balanced. If he happens to have a camera in his hand, he photographs whatever he finds. His pictures routinely end up on the cover of National Geographic.
Coincidentally, I experienced a headache all day today starting at noon, though it was nothing like the aforementioned migraines. I'm convinced it was symptom of caffeine withdrawal. I've been experimenting with abstaining from caffeine every other day, and today was a day that I should have drunk caffeine. But I abstained instead. At just about the time I would have begun drinking caffeine (I always abstain until afternoon), the headaches began and they never relented. It's interesting to observe that a physical addiction can be this flexible, accommodating a 48 hour cycle as easily as a 24 one. Now I'm curious: how long can a caffeine abstinence cycle be and still cause withdrawal when the scheduled caffeine dose is skipped?
Tonight Gretchen and I went into Uptown Kingston for a mild does of urbane culture.
It the first Friday of the month, and (as in all small American towns having a modicum of civilization), all the galleries were open to the public, serving free wine and finger food. I wasn't as impressed by the art as I was b the quality of the wine and the impressive turnout of people. The throng was so dense in two of the galleries that I could barely pick my way back to the vino. Who knew Kingston had such a motherlode of attractive middle aged white people?
We had dinner at Stella's, the Italian restaurant we only go to for its delicious pre-entree salad. I ordered the spaghetti with garlic and anchovies and it was wonderful, the first good entree I've ever had there.
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