His head hurts in a way that it has never hurt before, and he is scared. He is certain that he has never once had a migraine headache, so he has no way of knowing that if saying that “it feels like a migraine” is accurate, so he refrains from describing it like that. Instead, he says that it is like having needles jammed into his brain. He knows about needles; he has had his fair share of injections, and tattoos cover most of his naked skin. If he claims that something feels like the stabbing of needles, you can be sure that he knows what he is talking about.

But he will say that, and people will come back with “like an icepick?” which will then lead to them concluding that it is a migraine or tension headache, which it cannot be because the pain feels nothing like an icepick. How does anyone know what an icepick in the head feels like, anyway? Maybe there have been a few people who have survived the experience of an icepick jammed into their skulls, but only they would know for certain. And while he has never had a needle pierce the surface of his brain, he is capable of extrapolating what it would be like from the sensation of a tattooist’s gun running all along his cranium. It is a nerves thing, too. It must be, because while the initial sensation is a rat-a-tat blast of a needle, the deeper feeling is that of an electrical charge shooting across his neural network.

There are lesions on his face, too, and those are more disturbing than the pain. His pain tolerance is high (see tattoo experience above) so the intermittent stabbings in his head are almost a non-issue. It is the blotchy, weeping sores disfiguring his face that are the real concern. He cannot see the pain in his head, but any time he wants to look in a mirror he can mark the passage of the disease by how far the cratered wounds have spread across his flesh. The doctor told him that he must not touch them, but he has continued to try to work despite the regular interruptions from the pain, and he gets absent minded. Running the back of his hand across his brow breaks open the sores, spreading a clear pus all over the place, and he must run to the bathroom to wash his hands and survey the damage. According to the doctors, opening the lesions can lead to scarring. For someone as vain as he is, this is a waking nightmare.

2015.01.20 – 2023.08.17

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