A phone didn’t ring and the door stayed

A headache, that was how
my story started. One excruciating headache that would not go away.

At first it was merely a
nuisance; a dull throbbing at the front of my skull – discomforting, but
tolerable. I did not complain about the pain to anyone. I couldn’t. My daughter
had just gotten home from college, and Noah had taken time off from work, so
that we could enjoy her vacation as a family. I couldn’t be the one to ruin
their fun. I would never have forgiven myself. So, I did my best to ignore the
pain in my head, despite it’s growing intensity. I smiled and laughed at jokes
I now cannot remember, all in the name of keeping my family happy. I went to
the beach, hung out at the mall, ate dinner at Victor’s favourite restaurant,
witnessing my daughter’s joy. To me, that was worth the pain.

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            Soon,
however, it was September. Noah had returned to work and my daughter had
returned to school for the fall semester. Still, the pain had not subsided, but
grew tenfold. I tried everything imaginable to remedy the pain alone. Took
painkillers, showered repeatedly, laid a wet cloth on my forehead, but my
efforts seemed to be futile. Everyday, it felt like rusted nails were
repeatedly being drilled into the base and forefront of my skull, strategically
as to not kill me, but to prolong my suffering.

I spent my days alone,
hidden in the darkness provided by the underside of my duvet; my house as quiet
as a mausoleum. The phone didn’t ring and the door stayed shut until Noah returned
at nights. Still then, he would not comfort me, always dismissing my agony.
Most days, I cried. I cried because I was alone, I cried because no one cared,
and I cried because I didn’t know how much longer I could battle this pain by
myself.

One week after my
daughter had left for school, I gave up on trying to deal with the pain on my
own. Sunglasses on, hair pulled back into a loose bun, I drove to the doctor’s
office praying that she could prescribe some medication that could in the least
manage the pain.

“What seems to be the
problem, today?” she had asked, jovially, as I sat uncomfortably in a dirty
brown armchair.

I looked at her incredulously.
My eyes were sunken, my skin was pale, and part of my face was swollen. What
was the problem? The question angered me, but I was desperate for help. Taking
in a deep breath to calm my thoughts, I responded politely. “I’ve had an excruciating
headache for weeks that refuses to go away.”

Immediately, she dove
into a series of questions, poking and prodding me in intervals motivated to
find a diagnosis. After ten minutes of non-stop questions she came to a
conclusion, scribbled on her prescription pad and sent me on my way. Her reason
for my headaches? Sinuses. I thought it was ridiculous, but who was I to argue
with the professional, when I urgently needed some relief; any relief.
Hurriedly, I walked over to the pharmacy and then cautiously returned home,
ready to feel better; ready to be done with this pain.  Never in a million years I could imagine what
would come next.

The following morning, I
awoke to the rhythm of blood throbbing in my temples.