Since the last week of April to be exact. The agony of an ice pick being pushed and turned through my eye. And the very sharp, very pointy invisible tip of the pricky pick, spiking up some heat every so slightly every single dingle dingle time I move my eye in even the most miniscule direction. I’m going mad. I just know it. Lying in bed trying to avoid everything; light, sound, breeze, dog, kid, phone, tv, stress, sound, light, pressure, voices, movement of the sheets on the bed which is not caused by me. All of it. It all sends a blast of heated pressure through the spiky pick again and again. The top of my head is literally going to explode the next time one of my kids jumps on my bed. Holding not just my hand but my whole arm around my eyes and overtop of my head to act as some sort of pain insulator from all of it just is not working. The black spots in front of everything I see must surely mean I’m about to go blind. Maybe I have glaucoma. My mother’s sister had that. It must be that. No, it must be an aneurysm, my childhood best friend’s mother had one of those. The kids are home from school now. I’m in serious trouble. I knew I had to get myself to a doctor. I call the Optometrist. Duh, he tells me it sounds like I need to go to an ER or an Opthalmologist immediately. No problem, I just call the Opthalmology department at the FBCH. Surely there is a doc there just waiting for a walk-in self-referral. Not. I beg and plead to get the point across that I’m going blind and the pressure in my head is about to blow. Nope. If I’m really in that much pain and seeing black spots I should get myself to an ER or call an ambulance. Stay cool, calm and collected. Call someone. There’s no one to call. Every one of my friends has PCS’d from here. Again. I’m really on my own without a net. For real. I place a call to a fairly new neighbor I barely know and explain that I have to get to a doctor’s appointment asap and that I’m leaving my kids alone, so like, can I leave your phone number with them in case they need an adult? Um, I guess it’s okay. What are your kids’ names, and how old are they? Oh, 10 and 13. Well, I guess they can call me. Gee, thanks, neighbor. Make me feel even more crappier than I already do. All day I’ve been pushing my kids away because my pain is at a level 10 (on the pain-o-meter), and now I feel horrible that I’m leaving them and the neighbor rather than telling me go and that she will monitor my kids to help out, gives me a barely confident response when I reach out for help. Perfect. Another reminder of the loneliness I have been feeling since my very dear friend having to move to fuckin Georgia moved away. Another good friend who PSC’d. To this day, she is the only friend I have ever had that I felt comfortable enough to really share the secrets held behind my front door. The mess of very important papers on the kitchen counter, the food wrappers, the unclean dinner dishes from last night, the pile of sopping wet and muddy snow clothes, the complete and sheer madness of the 4 million pieces of minutae and receipts weighing my shouder down from within my purse. Her. If she were here right now this very second, she would not only drop me off at the ER, but would assure me that my kids will eat dinner if I was still there. The sun blinded me even more when I got behind the wheel. But I got there. And burst into tears when I felt the rush of blasting air conditioning on me just after walking through the automatic sliding glass doors of the ER. A doctor looks deep into my eyes. Mind you, this is the same doctor who saw my kid for ringworm a few months back. And the same doctor who a year before that treated me for a very sprained ankle which took months to heal. The same guy who determined that my husband had strep a year before the ankle sprain. However, the saving grace is that he is not the doctor who first saw me and admitted me in for the mystery virus I had 3 years earlier which had me literally crippled in agonizing pain for 4 days. You get the picture, right? He, with all of his expertice and impeccable bedside manner and the Chinese dinner menu under the metal of his clip board, looks at me and tells me that I have a cluster headache and that my optic nerve is inflamed. Oh, is that all it is? He watches me walk up and down the hall and points things out. Obvious things–like an emergency exit sign–and asks me what color they are. No shit. Red. The sign’s red. Wait. Cover your other eye. Now he points to the fire extinguisher. It’s red too. Uh. Wait. Not so fast. Holy fucking shit. The fucking fire extinguisher is fucking grayish green when I cover my good eye. Holy shit. I’m seriously going blind. All those times I read and re-read Hellen Keller when I was a kid from the then vintage book which was complete with a braille alphabet imprinted on the back cover. It’s now going to be me. W-A-T-E-R. I will soon have to read braile. And be just like Hellen. I’ll need my own Annie cause no one else in their right mind will want to be near me. I completely lose it now. I’m hysterical. The doc also determines that I am walking with some sort of list to one side; he’s right, it’s as if I’m walking sideways up a plank. He looks deep into the eye and tells me, without any sort of joking manner whatsoever to be detected, that he has only ever seen these symptoms twice before. Once, when the patient had a brain tumor, and the other when the patient had Multiple Sclerosis. Muppeteer Thclerothithes? What the hell is that? No. A brain tumor and M-U-L-T-I-P-L-E-S-C-L-E-R-O-S-I-S. It was only then, when he spelled it in sign language in the palm of my hand did I understand what he said.