A systematic brain failure explained via text messages


It has been an interesting few weeks.

I went to the hospital!

Basically, I hated my job working a certain newspaper in Arizona so much that it gave me a migraine headache that decided to dress up as a stroke for Halloween. Except it was May. That's the thing about migraines: No sense of timing.

I woke up super late, around 4 PM, which is far later than I usually do ( I work at night, but I usually get up at round noon). I was on my way to work when I realized that I couldn't really remember certain words. "I need to go to the... something... to buy some... stuff..." Stuff like that. I took a bus downtown to await my sentence shift. And I noticed that something was wrong. I was going to meet up with my pal Valerie to hang out a bit before work, but for some reason I couldn't form the words out loud over the phone, so I sent her a message:

"Dom't.know. Why it's too ong to get up."

Her response:

"Have you thought about taking yourself to the doctor? There appears to be some kind of malfunction with your hardware."

I thought to mysef, "This time, I'm going to be clear, concise, and comprehensive!" Except the words that actually went through my head were closer to  "Muchka chumble spuzz frackem splutch," because I seemed to be forgetting more of them by the minute. So my clear, poetic, and breathtaking response was this:

"Yeah. I'll try. I justbtried reasoming out lied and it didn't loos some.how."

Literary magic, that.

"I wish I coud understand that," said Valerie.

I knew that something was very wrong. With a Herculean effort that took more than ten minutes on account of me constantly forgetting how to use my phone, I wrote:

"Shit. I thionk Ineed.in yrouible."

That was enough to get Valerie and her recently exified boyfriend Aram to come find me at the coffee shop I was at. They found me blathering to one of the very patient baristas who was just about to get off her shift. I was saying things like "I need find it's... something... just... something... fuck."

Eventually my vocabulary would dwindle to just those last two words: "Something," and "Fuck." The doctors got to hear me use that last one a lot.

Example: The doctor would ask: "Can you spell your name?"

"G... Something...."

"How are you feeling?"


The situation was definitey one of the worst I've ever experienced. I couldn't walk, I couldn't talk, and my nervous system decided to lose its merry little mind. When my arm wasn't going totally numb, it was twitching like an electric shock victim.

The doctors were utterly convinced that I, a 24 year old healthy-eating runner, was having a stroke. I was given an MRI, a CAT scan, a million different types of blood tests, and they were even considering giving me a spinal tap, when one of the doctors decided to come to my rescue and said it was just a horribe, horrible migraine. Perhaps the cocktail of drugs I was absorbing was why I threw up on Valerie's purse.

The migraine was so bad I got what is called "speech aphasia," where you temporarily lose your ability to speak or understand words. It's actually pretty terrifying; you don't know if you'll get your ability to speak back. I thought I'd have to re-learn language like a child. It's kind of like getting lost in the woods with everyone you know, and the only people you can find are your racist great-uncle and your younger, fatter self.

Luckily, the recovery was over night. By the time the nurse tucked me in, I was already talking to her about the benefits of nuclear power.

Yep, so migraine headaches can look like strokes when they want to. That's good to know!

It'll make a good personal experience essay, or something.

And the hospital food sucked.

That's probably why I never, ever heard the hospital staff refer to it as "food." They said things like "Tray" or "Nutrition."

They must know something I don't.

  • Trish
    Comment from: Trish
    06/14/11 @ 03:53:37 pm

    Giando I am so glad you’re ok! You are unbelievable my friend, you can make a life threatening experience a literary work of art :) You have a wonderful sense of humor and are an incredibly talented writer! As much as I loved reading about your experience I hope it never happens again! :) Miss you

  • Sarah
    Comment from: Sarah
    08/21/11 @ 11:12:41 pm

    They found me blathering to one of the very patient baristas who was just about to get off her shift. I was saying things like “I need find it’s… something… just… something… fuck.”

    Hey! I was that barista!

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