When I was five, my Aunt Naomi introduced me to . I've loved The Beatles' music as far back as my pitiful memory stretches, and today I feel as though I am living the lyrics to one of their songs:

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they're here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be,
There's a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Yesterday was good and for several hours, my troubles were far away. I dropped the kids off at the train station and wished them well as they rode off for their honeymoon in Santa Barbara. Heck, I even managed to pack and prepare shipping labels for 19 post office packages yesterday! I was tired -- really, really tired -- but managed to function quite well in spite of the nasty Santa Ana winds and the need for a nap. For the majority of the day I forgot about Chiari, and it was wonderful!

Like Cinderella whose fairytale day ends at midnight, mine came to a painful end right about the same time, reminding me that my troubles are here to stay. A pressure headache woke me from a sound sleep. This is the worst of the Chiari symptoms for me. I've never experienced anything as painful as a pressure headache. The CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) flow is sometimes blocked by the protruding tonsils of the brain with the result being a build up of pressure in the head. When these headaches occur, it feels as though my brain is swelling to the point that it will no longer fit inside my skull. It hurts to breathe, so my breathing becomes strained and somewhat shallow. The pressure behind my eyes is so intense that I could swear they will soon pop out of my head to make way for my gargantuan brain. The muscles in my neck and shoulders tense up in response to the pain in and the weight of my head. Even the slightest twitch is agony because all movement originates from the spinal cord which is connected to the brain which is trying to free itself from a space too small to contain it comfortably.

Ali usually fetches the medication and a glass of water for me when I have a pressure headache, but he had come home from the warehouse much later than I and had fallen asleep on the couch. It was up to me to drag myself out of bed and make my way to the kitchen. With no lights on and me seeing double and disequilibrium making me very unsteady on my feet, I managed to shuffle my way there and back without stepping on a sleeping cat or tripping on the edge of a rug. Sleep returned once again, and all was right with the world until the second headache struck just a couple of hours later. Because I had already taken the medication, I had to wait out the second one. And then, shortly after 5, the third one struck. It isn't as bad as the first two, so I took some Ibuprofen and determined to just work my way through it. So here I am.

It has taken me more than an hour to compose this post, but the good news is that the headache has disappeared Grendelesque into its cave where it waits for the next opportunity to strike in the dark.
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