cruel pillows [part two]

Aluvihara-Resting-BuddhaOLD NOTEBOOKS: Delhi: You may know already about my permanent headache caused by PHN on right side of the head and I’m a Buddhist so I can’t appear to be too grouchy about it. I can walk around gently balacing this headache, do my shopping and as long as things are simple and easy, I’m okay. I’ve been researching the kinds of pillows available in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s an on-going search because of my disturbed sleep at night. And it’s not easy in Chiang Mai a country town, where the staff are trained to smile, look nice and be elegant, but they don’t actually know anything about the product: I want to buy the softest pillow you have please?.

The sales girl shows me a pillow and poses beside it as I give it a little squeeze with my hand and she smiles. It’s not soft enough, try the next one, squeeze it, and sales girl, elegant, posing gives me a little smile again and I’m beginning to feel, get me out of here, there’s a headache coming on. I try every pillow they have in the shop and the sales girl is tiring of the instant smile when I squeeze; but I buy one because she was so good at posing beside the product. Get back and crash out with a bad headache. My side of the bed is full of pillows tried, discarded, there’s no space for any more.

Eventually I find one in Delhi and this pillow is so good! I take it with me everywhere; a totally soft pillow placed in my suitcase on top of everything. It’s also a good way of holding a whole lot of loose items tight in an oversized bag because the pillow expands into all the corners when you squeeze it in and zip up the bag tight. So, fling in loose items like pens, cables, adaptor plugs, knowing that the expanded pillow will hold everything in place and get to the other end, take out the pillow and everything’s like a screen-shot of how it was when you were packing at the last minute.

So I took it with me to Switzerland then all around the UK and back to Bangkok. One morning, early, Jiab puts the pillow into the washing machine. I see my pillow pegged out there on the washing line and I’m in a state of shock! Yes, she says, pillows can be put in the washing machine and I have to go out to look at it a few times hanging there in the hot sun, but it it wouldn’t dry out enough so I had to improvise something else that night and was tossing and turning for hours… cruel pillows. It was dry by the end of the next day but when I tried it that night, it was lumpy.

So I found another one in India, a crafty- artisan place, wild cotton filled fragrant pillow, I was assured. I tried it one night and it was great, so good to rest the head and feel normal. Then a couple of days later, I went for an afternoon nap – the headache is always better when it gets laid down. And, lying on my side with ear planted deep into the soft cotton, I was just drifting off into sleep when I hear something moving inside the pillow! An insect? A tiny lizard? Something struggling to get out from the weight of my head for some reason. The thing is you get insects and ‘things’ in the strangest places here, and not impossible that, when the pillow was being filled maybe some cotton-habitat creature ended up in there. So I opened it up, scissors at the stitching at one end. Spread everything out on the floor. No insect, no small creature… maybe it scuttled away unnoticed, aha! freedom, didn’t see it, but I did find some leaves and a bit of a small branch. Well, getting that all cleaned out and stuffed back in again was not easy and there was quite a bit left over. Never mind, stitched it up again with needle and thread, Then the final fluffs of cotton removed and got it back into its pillow case, slightly slimmer and looser, slowly lowered my head on it and it was wonderful, even better than before. So good!

I’ve suggested to Jiab we open up all the hard pillows in my collection and take out some of stuffing but so-far she’s unconvinced…

15 thoughts on “cruel pillows [part two]

  1. Be as comfortable as you can be T. It really is okay (in my book) to be attached to something that brings relief and hope for a better nights sleep. If I were in your shoes I’d be tracking down at least 2 more of the Delhi pillows. Nourishing is not indulgence.

  2. Glad to hear you in a somewhat more cheery mood and making jokes. Hope the pillows continue to work. I find resting the head during head pain actually does help in the right position. Angle is key. Enjoy some pain free time!!

    • This is it, sometimes I think it’s incredible that I got this condition and it’s going to stay with me for years! So I best make friends with it as soon as it’s possible…

    • Ah yes, so you might just decide to go for the summary, ‘I’m going have a headache for the rest of my life!’ And there’s a tremor of shock and disbelief that’s interesting, you’re looked at for a moment as a lab specimen might be – no it’s a hard one to swallow, yes…

      • Thanks Ben and I apologise for being rather blunt about it last time, but unfortunately this is the truth that I’m having to come around to accepting. And I’m really glad to have your typically enigmatic verse style comments, which I always find gets my attention – so thanks for that too. Yes, there’s hope but that’s all there is.

  3. When there’s no end in sight, try anything that diverts from the obvious path.
    Dear Jiab may not be convinced, but she’s not the one with the chronic severe head pain 🙂

    There comes a time in one’s Health Journey when anything’s worth a try, no matter how weird, wonderful or apparently simple.

    I can’ sleep on a hard/high or even a special pillow. I’m still sleeping on my 30 yr old one (despite buying numerous special or chiropractic ones). A moulded rubber one worked in the store in 2010, but when I got a newly purchased one home and cut the wrapping, the over-powering smell of rubber and some sort of chemical made it intolerable, even in the same room. 3 weeks airing in the sun seemed to help 85% but I still couldn’t stand the smell so gave it away (along with the other new pillows I’d bought over the years).

    I’m still sleeping on ‘old faithful’.

    • Ah yes, I could write a whole chapter in a book about my experience with pillows. I like the idea of ‘old faithfuls’. I have one or two preferences in my pillow collection and they might become the old faithfuls in the years to come. Same with everything else I’m beginning to see it now. A tried and trusted method works best. I try to create an upside down L shape with a gap in the corner where the two parts of it meet and I put my small pillow on
      top of the L at this place and that seems to be okay at the moment, can’t have it too high, I suppose it’s the width of one shoulder?

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