marcel barang


In English on 13/09/2009 at 10:28 pm


Migraine has been me grain in life since I turned adult – or is it that as a child the only word available was ‘headache’?

Migraine may be gone for months but then it strikes again. Lack of sleep? Too much reading, especially on screen? Too much boozing? Something I ate? All or none of the above? Never could figure it out.

Migraine struck again Friday morning as I unsaddled the street mo-tersai (motorcycle) taxi to hop into a taxi to get to the office and I asked the taxi driver for a drop of his water to swallow my two Cafergot pills and he told me to get a bottle he hadn’t opened yet and I said ‘No need, thanks’, took his own and showed him how we do it thumb-wise in the French boondocks without the lips touching the bottle, to which he remarked, ‘Yes, I do that too,’ upon which I concluded he wasn’t Bangkok-born.

And again last night before dinner, after hours reformatting for e-book consumption my own anthology, the twenty best novels of Thailand (1994), which I had simply forgotten about.

But I’m not complaining: I belong to the aristocracy of migraine sufferers. An aura serves as a warning: a bright point right in the centre of my eyesight develops into a sizzling arc of blinding light, usually in the shape of half an eye that keeps growing until it disappears from the orbit in about twenty minutes, plenty of time to take painkillers, the two Cafergot (caffeine and ergotamine) pills aforementioned. This leaves me with a somewhat woolly brain for the rest of the day, sometimes with a vague queasiness at meal time, but I suffer no pain unless I cough and can go on with whatever it is I have to do, though I usually treat myself to some rest, meaning some easy reading.

The hoi polloi of migraine, usually women, has no such luck: without warning migraine strikes and painkillers don’t kill pain, so that all hell breaks loose, for a day or days at a time, and any noise or light leads to excruciating pain and torrents of vomit.

I was impressed by the Friday morning spectacular: as one aura left another came round. This seldom happens. I took the time to cool off on a chair in the ASTV hall (Comrade Sondhi was on TV) in the company of three middle-aged women, one assiduous in rouging her lips, and a scrawny old man in shorts who kept dozing off as he held on to an umbrella, before I went inside and told Nai Ben how to go about the next improvement of that cursed website of mine,, which I impressed on him must be online by the end of the month.

Which got me working on that anthology, which got me a second dose of the same…

Well, all right, I’ve switched back to Four Reigns, to get that second tome out of the way before I court migraine again polishing the anthology. And so it goes.


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