POSTCARD #211: Bangkok: The next day, after arriving here from the airport by way of taxi driven at startling speeds [link to as the crow flies], the recovery from that and… wake up in the morning. Time to go see the neurologist/ neurosurgeon to have the dreaded needle in the head, for the second time (by some means of bone conduction, you can hear the needle point scraping over the surface of the skull: kritch-krrrritchchch). The needle poised at X marks the spot inscribed in biro pen on my scalp (he tells me), the exact position on the occipital nerve (the nerve tree which has been causing the permanent headache since September last year). Now you will feel a little pressure here, doc says quietly, close to my ear, as if it were a secret. Needle goes in, pain-pain-pain, doc voids the syringe, withdraws needle. Thank you very much (I just want to get out of there), go home, sleep, wake up and the headache is gone!
The relief is beyond words
The headache is gone… hard to believe – really. Wow! it worked. How long will it last? (remembering “Awakenings’ by Oliver Sachs, made into a movie starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams). Well… even if it’s for a short time, I can enjoy life in this headache-free interval; just so good to be able to get around and do things without the billiard ball crashing around inside the skull – only these curious sparkling sharp feelings at the sides of the head. In the centre there’s a kind of blank space where the headache used to be, a soft comfy pillow-like feeling… the first headache-free time for eight months.
So the first thing I discover is there’s all this physical energy… I can go around and do things without the great burden of headache. Rushing around the house in a great burst of enthusiasm, I decide to wash some clothes and like most houses in Asia, the washing machine is outside the house, under an open sheltered area with stretched lines for hanging things out to dry in the fresh air. So I put clothes in the machine, select ‘Quick Wash’ and start the cycle.
Go back inside, forget completely they’re there and start cooking a soup with all kinds of vegetables. It’s a bit late in the day when I remember and go out there again, (it’s the rainy season in Thailand) and the rain started to come on, then very quickly it’s a colossal downpour and I have to hang clothes any-which-way in dry corners; on hooks and the back of chairs in places sheltered from this incredible rain like what I suddenly remember as, both bath taps full on.
Back indoors from time to time to stir the soup, plip plop plip like a frog, barefoot on kitchen floor now wet with in-and-out traffic and scraps of vegetable peelings. The great smell of soup starts to come to me as I’m looking for more places to hang wet clothes. Deafening sound of rain on perspex rooftops, and gusts of rainy wind in through the open door nearly blows out the gas flame. But it doesn’t, and everything seems to be just right as-it-is in this wet, green place.