Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Vigil and Easter - Not the Holiday I had Planned

My journey through the rest of Holy Week and Easter did not turn out as planned. I last wrote on Good Friday, and though I had the best of intentions of completing my meditations on Easter Vigil/Holy Saturday and Easter, a big thing got in the way. Easter Vigil began like any other Saturday before a Sunday holiday - preparing good food, enjoying the time puttering in the kitchen with my husband. I wasn't feeling my best, but not so bad that I could point out that I was feeling any worse than usual.

We gathered up our bells and went to church, where I realized something might not be right. The Easter Vigil service starts in the dark, out on the porch of the church where the priest strikes the new light of Easter and lights the Paschal Candle. The congregation lights their own candles from this great big special and beautiful candle, and then turning to share that light with their neighbors before filing in and filling the church. The first part of the service is then conducted solely by candlelight, as we read and sing together of the salvation history, from creation through the resurrection. Just before we read the Gospel, the whole church is lit up, we sing a beautiful Holy, Holy, Holy while ringing our bells and removing all of the black drapes that have covered the flowers and dressing the altar and clergy in their glorious golden Easter vestments. Easter has arrived!

With my uncertain balance, I waited inside for the rest of the congregation and choir. I had a bit of a headache, but nothing too horrible. I did notice myself flinching from the brightness as the lights came on and we completed the service, but I put it down to being tired and late at night. Joining the feast after the service I still felt a little odd, but again put it down to eating a light supper at 11:00 at night which is totally outside of my usual routines.

I went to church on Easter morning with a headache, thankful for my Easter bonnet that shaded my eyes from the direct glare of the overhead lights, even though I was still staring into the bright stained glass window that forms the wall behind the altar. Later, at brunch with my parents I noticed that the headache hadn't eased and that I did not eat as much as usual.

It hit that afternoon after the earthquake. My husband and I had gone back to our bedroom to lie down for a while and enjoy the quiet. Suddenly the quiet was shattered by the unmistakable sound of the house shaking with an earthquake. No big panic, but the intensity kept growing and the shaking kept going. At one point I stood up, thinking that it was over. No dice. It just kept on, and I began to feel a bit of panic as all of my childhood "earthquake preparedness" stories bubbled up, and the terrors that I thought I had put away came with them. Finally it ended, and we lay back down (after spending quite a bit of time looking it up online!). I stoically rode through the aftershocks, privately waiting for "the BIG one" that my childhood fears told me was still coming - especially since the cat was still crammed into the few inches between the floor and the bottom of our bed!

Shortly after that I noticed that my headache was ratcheting up in intensity. My husband was ready for dinner, but I was starting to get a bit nauseous so I passed. By six or so I called the nurse line to find out if I should be going to urgent care. Around seven the lovely nurse called back after conferring with a doctor - with my symptoms I should go to the Emergency Room.

By eight my mother had joined us for the wait. I had blood drawn and a couple of other tests. By that point I could barely walk. Finally, a bed was available and I was taken back. I've never been so happy to have drugs that work extremely quickly in my life! Unfortunately, they seemed to wear off quickly, too. A second dose and they sent me home around one in the morning.

It didn't do much beyond make me feel sick to my stomach. I think I slept a little, but not much. I listened to the rain and my husbands breathing until the alarm went off. My mom was coming to sit with me while my husband went in and got things started for the week with his staff so he could head back home and not have the phone ringing off the hook. I was in agony. The neurologist was called, and decided that we needed to try a migraine medication. Migraine? I've never had anything anyone ever called a migraine before, but I'll try it if it might help. I'd probably try anything at that point. It helped. Immediately.

So now I am working on yet another possibility for all of this pain and frustration. Migraines. In the meantime, we will still be doing a spinal tap to at least get a baseline reading if not a definitive diagnosis on the intracranial hypertension and removing my gallbladder as soon as we can get it set up. I'm so tired of being in so much pain!

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