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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The ultimate meaning of life is to embrace that which compels you to act in spite of fear.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Heading into the day

Just had a head rush.

I haven't had one of these in ages. After checking my email and quickly scanning my New York Times e-paper, I decided to get up and get another coffee. Suddenly, my connection to the world went fuzzy and I had to sit down on the carpet. No matter how many of these things I get, they're always trippy.

I'm okay now...

I used to get head rushes all the time, even years ago, in high school and university, when I was in better shape. (Not that I'm really out of shape now, as I do walk a lot. Vigorously.) I never knew why. I'd always had a good diet. Still do, in fact. If these episodes had happened only after pub nights then I would've considered the mystery solved. But that wasn't the case. Not one to run to the doctor for any old reason, I would just shrug them off and continue on with whatever it was I was doing at the time.

Then, in 1996, something really weird happened.

While looking for one of the highly sought-after parking spaces near Mount Pleasant and Roehampton, so I could grab a much-needed coffee, I drove my secondhand Escort into a brand new Corolla ... after looking both ways, my friend Steve later told me, and looking right at the damn Corolla! I was 30, the other guy 19. After checking to see if Steve was okay (he was), we both got out. Then the other guy got out of his car. As he approached me he cocked his right arm and clenched his first. I stared him in the eye and didn't flinch. This wasn't bravery: I was just dazed and exhausted and in dire need of coffee. And his eyes and body language spoke more of frustration than violence. Just the same, Steve, who is 6' 3" and 235 lbs., stepped forward when he saw the quivering fist. Then the kid dropped his arm and kicked a hydro pole. A much better choice, I thought.

This time I sought medical advice. Two neurologists. Two brain scans. Both turned out negative results. My brain structure was healthy and normal, which surprised the hell out of my friends and family.

Barring a dramatic subluxation of a cervical vertebra, there was only one reason for this accident and my head rushes, the doctor said. Severe sleep deprivation. Which had resulted from my tendency, shared by others in my family, to push myself way too hard. At the time, I had a long commute to Oakville, a stressful corporate job, and was trying to write.

I never had an accident like that one again. Nor have I had many head rushes since 1996. In fact, the only noteworthy thing that remains of my past life is my writing. And my friend Steve.

So what caused this morning's episode? The New York Times? Don't think so. I think I'll end my blog and get that second coffee now.

2 Comments:

Blogger cbcworkerbee said...

Maybe you better make it a decaf and get some sleep. And I wouldn't stick to that "never one to rush to a doctor" credo. It's probably nothing but if it happens again soon I would feel no shame in getting it checked out (my wife's a pharmacist, she has seen the results of people not getting things checked out in time).

1:17 PM  
Blogger oakwriter said...

Thanks, Joe.

I know. But decaf! That would be the wise thing to do. Along with more sleep. I'm a little behind. The older I get, the more I find myself looking into my health. Now that I FINALLY have my own doctor.

1:26 PM  

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