Memorable Migraine Episode 2: Adventures in Panama

For some reason, my sweet BFF (who lives across the sea) always seems to be with me during a migraine. I have a couple of theories on this, one of which is that I see her so rarely that I get all amped up to hang out, triggering a stress-induced migraine.

My other theory is that she has a knack for visiting whenever I’m about to have my period. (You think I’m joking, but there’s probably a sound statistical study we could do on this, and I think I’d be right.)

Two summers ago, we flew to Panama City, Panama for a work conference. I tend to always have a few gigs going at once, and this editing job, one she has also, is headquartered in Central America. Not too shabby! We were traveling there in late August (a notoriously bad migraine time for me), meeting the entire week of my period (ugh), convening each day for hours under fluorescent lights in an office (eek!), and working really long days. Oh yes. And it was PANAMA. In summer. Featuring afternoon thunderstorms and very high humidity.

Is it any surprise I got really ill that week?

But on to the memorable part. I’ll skip the part where one of my coworkers intimated that I was faking it the day I took a taxi in late to our workshop. I’ll skip the part where I was in the back of a passenger van this close to throwing up onto my lap. I’ll skip the part where another coworker didn’t believe that fluorescent lights were a trigger and made a big deal of turning them off for me.

I would like instead to tell you about in-room sushi delivery. As is probably the case with many of you, I don’t always feel like eating when I’m in the midst of a severe migraine. But not eating leads to more sickness sometimes, and I needed a meal. My friend, whose Spanish skills are limited at best (though she gets along swimmingly by speaking Italian to the Panamanians, believe it or not!), managed to order me sushi from the swanky place in our hotel. She was able to communicate that I was sick, and the place made a special to-go packaging for me so that she could deliver it to me in bed. I didn’t actually leave that hotel bed for a good 15 hours, minus the bathroom breaks.

The next day, our older coworkers joked. “You ladies hit the casino last night, didn’t you?” “Feeling tired because you were out late partying?” We repeatedly told them that nearly every night that week we’d retired to our rooms since I was ill and my BFF was my loyal caretaker, but they half-dismissed us. So be it, I guess. Let them think we were living it up in Panama City when really we were watching bad TV (with the brightness set as dim as possible and the volume low) and my friend was making sure I ate enough food, drank enough water, and had that gross vomit bucket nearby.

She’s a loyal friend indeed, and I don’t expect I’ll ever forget that migraine.

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