Brain Fog and My Missing Keys

So here I am, in a high school auditorium ten miles from my house, at my daughters’ play practice. My head pain symptoms of migraine have been worse this week than months previous, I think because of the extreme heat and humidity. Yesterday it got up to 98 degrees, and our central air is broken and can’t be replaced, though we have two window units.

Symptoms creeping in

Zo had her Nutcracker Ballet auditions today and this is the first year she’s returned for the second day, which is for the more experienced kids (I say “kids” instead of girls because there are two boy dancers, one of whom is Zo’s best friend). So it hasn’t exactly been a relaxing several hours. I had been able to fill my Fioricet unexpectedly early and while it usually doesn’t help a whole lot, I think it’s giving my Imitrex an extra boost. I had planned to stay for this whole three hour rehearsal, but I began to feel hot and skin-crawly, and nauseous, with increased pain. I sent John a text that I wondered if I would need to break my nearly six month ER-free streak but he didn’t respond.

An escape plan halted

I got up and whispered to X, standing at the corner of the stage, that I was going to leave to rest and that another parent was going to drive her, and Zo, home. I picked up my bags and walked out to the steaming parking lot, digging in the outside pocket for my keys, where I usually put them. No keys. My stomach lurched and sank and I knew. Instead of looking through the main section of my bag I cupped my hands around my face and peered through my car window. There they were, poking up from the middle console: I could see my key chain Pikachu’s foot or ear or something.

I am notorious for locking my keys in my car. In fact I stopped locking our other car altogether, when it was the one I drove more frequently, even though I hid an extra key in a magnetic box inside the wheel well. A few weeks ago I did this same thing at a grocery store in town and swore I would, as soon as possible, go to the hardware store and get a copy made, and hide it the same way on my new car, but of course never got around to it. Many times, maybe every time, I recognize this forgetfulness as brain fog, and that certainly is the case today.

Moving to plan b

I sent John a text, still didn’t get a reply, and began calling. And desperately called over and over. He didn’t pick up. A tear rolled down my cheek and I just felt so DUMB. I called John ten times in all and finally wandered back into the school and sat back down in the back corner of the auditorium where the piano and singing wouldn’t be so loud. I knew he had to be asleep and his ringer turned off; he’d been really tired when we left. I sent a text to the dad who was going to bring the girls home and said “I hope there’s room for me in the van too – I locked my keys in my car and John isn’t picking up.” No response from that dad either but I’m sure I’ll fit and meanwhile I’ll keep calling John.

Fortunately, though I didn’t have Imitrex with me, I had a third Fioricet. The dose is one or two, but there isn’t enough of any of the ingredients for three to be toxic, and desperate times call for desperate measures. And it’s helping, which seems downright miraculous.

An update

Update: it is now approximately three weeks later. The play performances were last weekend and went well. John finally called back that evening; I was right, he had fallen asleep. By the time he brought the extra key, rehearsal was over and my pain had lessened, so I was able to drive the girls home. After the same migraine attack lasted another week I did go to the ER, where I was very relieved to be treated well despite my long absence (I am always afraid policies will have changed in the interim). I sat down at the laptop tonight to do some work and was startled to see this story saved. Because of course, I didn’t even remember that I wrote it.

What is the most embarrassing or ill-advised thing you’ve done while suffering from brain fog? Let us know in the comments.

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