Saturday, January 19, 2013

Let's play. . . GUESS THE WORDS!

And now it's time for. . . GUESS THE WORDS!

The other night in bed, as I was trying to get through a book called - what WAS it called anyway? - The Sealed Letter or something like that, I began to realize how many weirdo words there were in it: words, in fact, that made me run to the dictionary or whatever-it-is I use now when I don't know a word.

These included: 




Ask me, and I'd say these aren't even English, nor do I remember what they mean. I have this theory - if you look up a word that is really unfamiliar, particularly from another language, the definition won't "stick". Whenever you see that word again, you won't remember what it means. It doesn't matter how many times you look it up.

Same with names, particularly names you can't pronounce.

I won't tell you what these 20 words mean because I have forgotten. PLEASE NOTE: they are all REAL words! Just wacked, cuz no one would ever really use them unless they were Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory.  I will attempt to invent meanings that you might buy, or not. They aren't mixed in with real definitions because that's too much freaking work. Just tell me if my definitions sound at all convincing.

1. Erinaceous

You know that actress Erin Moran, from Happy Days? The one that played Tze-Tze or whatever, Richie's little sister? I saw a horrifyihng story on Inside Edition about how she is now living in a trailer park, or maybe her car. She looks a mess, like she's been out on the street for several decades. So I'd say erinacous describes someone who used to be on Happy Days but is no longer happy.

2. Lamprophony

Some lamprey are totally affected. I mean, they pretend they aren't eels at all! They'll never get away with it, so this term was invented to socially unmask them. Either that, or it means you go into the lighting section of Ikea and pick up the wrong box: Gardo rather than Blonkfiss.

3. Depone

Couple of variations on this. Say you've been watching Turner Classics for too long, and this movie comes on called Scarface. You just can't get this movie out of your head - Jimmy Cagney pushing that grapefruit into  Mae Clarke's face, etc. After a disturbing movie such as this, you may need to "depone". Taking a shower helps.

This might also be the answer if someone asks somebody with no teeth, "I hear ringing. What could it be?"

4. Finnimbrun

OK, this is a Star Trek question. There's this episode called Shore Leave, one of my favorites in fact, in which everyone goes down to this planet for shore leave, but every thought they have turns real. So there's a Bengal tiger and a Don Juan and a Samurai sword and etc., etc., but then all of a sudden Kirk is thinking about his days at the Academy, and voila - Finnegan appears! Finnegan is this asshole who used to hassle Kirk big-time, and Kirk has always had a revenge fantasy which he now can carry out. Once he has thrashed the living daylights out of Finnegan, he sort of changes color from all that rolling on the ground. Spock, who has a mouthful of Vulcan pomegranate pate that he has dreamed about for years, comes upon the scene and observes, "Finnimbrun."

5. floccinaucinihilipilification

A very long sneeze after breathing up the entire contents of a feather pillow.

6. Inaniloquent

A description of someone who does NOT give birth to quintuplets through their anus.

7. Limerance

What happens when you're trying to get the juice to come out of one of those plastic limes, and you keep squeezing and squeezing, and then all of a sudden the juice spurts out and squirts you in the eye.

8. Mesonoxian

You know mesomorphs? What are they, anyway - nobody ever uses that term any more. Plus wouldn't an ox already be a mesomorph, rendering this term redundent? Or is this an Oxonian - you know, from one of those men's clubs, only he's so old he was born in the Mesozoic era. Or else somebody who used to go to Oxford, but kept a very messy room. Or a Mason - using the early spelling Meson that predominated during the Jeffersonian era - who is really obnoxious. Or is it a contraction, such as Tarzan might make, informing us, "Me son Oxian"? (And who is Oxian anyway? Tarzan's son, or his father?) Is this the man who invented Oxyclean? One can only conjecture.

9. Mungo

A fungo.

10. Nihilarian

Oh too easy!

11. Nudiustertian

A variety of nasturtium (again, spelling was fluid in the days when words were first invented) which somewhat resembles the form of those nude women in Roman statuary. Much prized by a man named Nudius Maximus, later hanged for being a Stertian.

12. Phenakism

Phenakism you, too!

13. Pronk

A bottle-opener made from the antlers of a pronghorn antelope.

14. Pulveratricious

Ensign Pulver in that movie, you know that one with Jack Lemmon - The Wackiest Ship in the Army or whatever - got into a lot of trouble and was sometimes described as meretricious. Or else atrocious, depending on the movie critic.

15. Rastaquouere

One of those rasta guys, with the hair that looks like something you'd find in a kitty litter box, standing in a queue, but nobody knows how to spell queue anyway.

16. Scopperloit

"What's the name of that metal, you know, the metal they make the bottoms of pots with?"

"I'm not sure, Loit. Let me think. Wait, I think I have it. . . "

17. Selcouth

Uh, I'm really tired of this but there are twenty and I'm almost at the end of it, so. . .  

18. Tyrotoxism

A guy in a Tyrolean hat who's just toxic.

19. Widdiful

I used to know this girl named Janet Widdifield. Theoretically, everything she 
did was widdiful.

20. Zabernism

The precepts of a demented Hungarian Omo-endoblianostic named Yusef 
Paprikash ("Uncle Adolf") Zabern. Later jailed for being a distant cousin of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.

Migraine: my amp goes to 11

This is a place I live in, don’t want to live in, never wanted to live in. I first moved in without my own knowledge, when it knocked me into outer space, a Van Gogh-scape of whirling light and pulsating white cogs. I had no idea what it was and assumed something was wrong with the taco I had eaten an hour earlier. I was only 21 years old and knew nothing about this. I don’t remember much except running to the bathroom to hurl, and it was unlike any flu I’d ever had because it seemed bottomless, the nausea was so extreme. Then in my far left-hand field of vision, seemingly suspended out in space, I saw the Cog, the flashing neon circle with the whirling spikes that I couldn’t blink away. Only later was my head taken over.

I think it held off for a dozen years. I don’t know what happened then. I think I was on lithium or some other drug that didn’t agree with me, but the nausea began to return. Then the rotten decaying feeling in the brain. This time I had a completely blank spot in the middle of my field of vision while I was out shopping, and barely got home safely.

A change of medication fixed it, or seemed to, until I began to experience the violent buck-and-wing of hormones which signals the end of fertilily.

(A sidebar: why does God, or whatever, seem to want us to stay fertile until we’re 95 years old? We’re at seven billion now, and the world is about to tip over, to explode from the strain, and yet, and yet, most women have something like forty years of active ovaries, of  relentlessly popping out eggs for more than half their lives, when they might want to use two.)

But the process, it just goes on forever, with all sorts of evil uncomfortable “symptoms” we have to live with. Ten years of it,  fertility violently breaking up like the Genesis Planet in Stark Trek 2, except dragged out in slow motion.

So I moved back into the neighbourhood, or was moved. Sometime in my 30s, I would guess. Most people use the expression “migraine headache”, which is a laugh.

The headache can be like a chainsaw to the temple (it’s generally on one side of the head), but it’s a mere frisson, a doily, a side-dish delicately sampled.

The main course is made up of many things. The day before yesterday, which was completely ruined by a “migraine headache”, the quality of my afternoon was announced by a queasiness that soon mushroomed into retching full-blown nausea.  Suddenly the spears of light coming in the window was unbearable, and then the sounds. . . not necessarily something loud, but anything shrill like my bird’s incessant shrieking, and – eventually – any sound at all. But smells are the worst: the gravy that we had with some mashed potatoes smelled like some metallic dirt factory, and I gagged on it.  Sound, smells, light, what else?

Any change in position. Any. I mean, changing from sitting to standing or vice-versa. My head balloons with an all-encompassing pain which does not go away if you sit down again. Bending to pick something up is obscene. I can’t even lie down in a dark room, like you’re supposed to, because my head expands geographically on the pillow. And don’t put something over your eyes to block out the unbearable light of your “dark room”: the smell of the fabric will make you gag.

Everyone says at this point, “Isn’t there anything you can take for this?” They say this with a mildly horrified, disturbed expression, as if they don’t want to hear any more (which they don’t).  “Just take some Tylenol. It works on headaches, it really does.” “Just put some heat, you know. . .” “Just put some cold. . .”

One-two-three, bibbidy-bobbidy-boo, and it’s fixed!

But they’ve never had one.

I did find “something” years ago called Imitrex, but I kept throwing up the pill. My old pattern was waking up with full-blown pain and violent nausea (who knows how I ever slept through it!). The idea is always to “intercept” the migraine before it gets really bad, but it was already really bad when I woke up, with no warning at all the night before. So taking the pill, a very very expensive pill, did no good at all because it ended up flushed. (Then comes the dilemma: do I take another one?)

That’s another thing, “triggers”. Everyone says things like “oh, it must be stress” or “do you have food allergies?”, or “Don’t eat old cheese.” (You should never say to anyone that you have any medical condition at all unless you want to be bombarded with advice that you never asked for. Most of these remedies seem to be herbal, especially if they sell them, or taken out of Farmer Brown’s Almanac from 1897.)

Then came a sort-of breakthrough, when the Imitrex, which sometimes worked well but mostly worked only half-assedly or not at all (thus shredding all hope) came out in a nasal spray. A one-dose puff of the most bitter substance known to man, which you could acridly taste going down the back of your throat.

Sometimes it worked miraculously well, raising the kind of hope I am now afraid of (which I sometimes call “the demon hope”). Just aborted it cleanly, no aftereffects except a stoned, euphoric, “high” feeling which was not unwelcome after feeling like shit for so many hours.

Sometimes it kind-of worked, after several hours of groaning and waiting, sitting motionless in a chair in a dark room, afraid to turn my head or even open my eyes.

But sometimes. . .

Sometimes, that $25/dose or so (it might have gone up since 2010, the last time I renewed it) is completely wasted. A couple of times the spray didn’t “deploy”, that is, it didn’t come out. The little spray device is powerful, spring-loaded, and you just push it once. But sometimes, nothing comes out. Either it’s not filled, or just won’t eject the contents.

This is one of many reasons why I haven’t renewed it since 2010. That, and so I won’t overuse it. Overusing any medication can render it ineffective, and it's ineffective often enough without making it any worse. So I tend to wait until I am in so much misery that I can’t go on without it. 

Another thing: the last couple of “headaches” decided to shift pattern completely, to flip upside-down in fact, so I awaken with only a mild car-sick feeling and hangover-y head, then experience a  relentless escalation, like someone very slowly turning up the volume on an old amplifier until it goes to eleven.

Soooooooooooo. . .

Thursday I guess it moved in, but as usual my memory is as hazy as the memory of a nightmare a few hours after waking. You think you’ll always remember it, but you don’t. That kind of grief and pain pulls down the shade.

This is Day 3, and though the Imitrex did seem to abort it after hours of escalating agony, I noticed it seemed to be back yesterday.

I have a theory about that. It doesn’t “come back”. This isn’t a “new” migraine, merely the “old” one deciding not to return, but to resume.

It’s a sprawling land mass, a geographical feature, parts of it submerged under water so you can’t see the perimeter, the borders, the vastness of it. All you know for sure is that you will fall in.

Along with their helpful advice to take an aspirin or swing a dead cat over your head at midnight, people tell you to “fight it as hard as you can”. This will mean approximately double the nausea, stress and indescribable head-pain, but hey, it’s what you’re supposed to do in this culture! Fight everything. Don’t give in, whatever you do.

Some fucking Freudian asshole might say I HAVE to give in because I am weak and/or want to crawl back into the womb. I look on web sites, and it depends: a lot of them, predictably, are bullshit, but some of them, surprisingly, say this is a medical condition, not a spiritual flaw, that it’s a neurological disorder with certain symptoms, chief among them NOT necessarily a headache.

Oliver Sacks got a whole book out of this, a ponderous tome, thick and dense and crammed with footnotes. He writes like a Victorian, in fact he IS one, misplaced in time,  his footsteps echoing through the dank halls of the Mutter Museum, peering at human specimens pickled in jars.

I have a copy of it somewhere but I never read it. I always lose my place when the footnotes cover more ground than the text. And that flyspeck type! No wonder this form of communication ended 150 years ago.

I swear it’s true, Doctor Sacks. It gives me a headache.