Thoughts from the Couch


I have been told that when I get sick, I get wierdly (and badly) funny. I’ve always denied it. Then I re-read my journal entry from late this afternoon.

“They” win.

From my journal,



I’m sick. Anyone reading this or anything else I have written the past day or so knows I’m sick.

I am not a whimpy sick person. No, for better or worse, I was raised to plow through colds and flus and the other every day pains of middle and old age. I’ve actually had people in my life who complained that I wasn’t whimpy enough when I was sick. Complained a lot, in fact. And with all the legendary stupidity of a modern man, I generally ignored them.

This was pretty bad, in the “would my head please just explode and be done with it?” variety of bad. I crawled through yesterday working at about 20%, went to the doc , got medicated, and this morning…. well I still felt pretty bad. What did I expect? Just because the pills are extra humungus and frightening-looking ( in an “OMG, I’ll gag on that thing!” way) that they would scare the bug out of me before they had a day or two to work?

Fat chance of that.

But the voice of my parents whispered in my head: “You have deadlines. You have clients expecting…” Cue waggling finger. I probably could have rationalized my way out of that – I certainly did often enough as a kid – but then the voice of creditors present and future chimed in: “No workee, no money. But you still owe us.”


So I did the mind over matter thing for five or six hours today until matter won and left my drooping 61 year old carcass on the sofa for a two hour nap.

Only I couldn’t sleep. There was this jackhammer in my head that is strangely unaffected by the vaguely obscene number of ibuprofen I was taking. (It’s OK, my doctor doesn’t read this.). So I just spaced out. Surrendered. Sat with the pain.

Therapists tell us to “sit with the pain” when it’s mental/emotional. It’s a way of diffusing that emotional pain of it’s power over us. But I’ve never had a doc tell me to see sit with physical pain before. Either they try to medicate the pain out of existence, or they tell us to man up and plow through it.

But I sat with this. I felt it pulse through my head. I felt exactly where in my head the pain was coming from, what parts of my head hurt worse and what parts were just playing along. With my eyes closed, I discovered it had a color, or patterns of color. In my case, a deep purple with dark and angry orange spikes when my heart beat. I discovered that the pain has a texture, silky in some places, sharp and cutting in others. I picked the pain apart as surely as a shrink with a prize patient on the couch, as surely as a buzzard picks apart road kill. At this point, if a doc were to tell me what was my pain level, on a scale between 1 and ten I would be insulted. “Sit down doc, This is gonna take a while.”

And this was the surprising thing. Even though I just flat out surrendered to it for a couple of hours, I didn’t feel like I had surrendered. I was reconnoiting the enemy. Spying. Casing the joint. Figuring out when it was weak and when it was strong. Measuring it in painful detail. (Painful for me, I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy.).It gave me a sense of being in control of something, when in truth, I wasn’t in control of anything. Nada. Zip.

I like that sense of control. Not so much over others as I just like to think I control my own life a little. Even if God reminds me on a regular basis how false THAT idea is, I like to pretend. And this allowed me to pretend I was doing something.

Don’t worry, I know it’s all pretend. I am actually getting better. Pretty quick. And it’s got nothing to do with me. I know in my heart of heart it’s those Volkswagon sized antibiotics I am taking. But a man can pretend. And it keeps me off the streets.

Which, considering how dizzy  I was all morning, is a good thing.



  1. You may qualify for medical marijuana- or may have already had a dose !

    Ralph Henderson, Jr.

    Ralph Henderson, Jr.
    Workers’ Comp. Mgr.
    Office: 843-383-7875
    Cell: 540-207-9874

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