A Cluster attack, A 2-year-old and "Barney".

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Posted by drummer ( on September 16, 1999 at 11:10:30:

Seems it was my turn to stay home with the kids today as my wife went work. The kids’ babysitter is on vacation this week. I managed to get my six-year-old daughter off to school on time. YA-HOO! That just left the two-year-old and me. As I was cleaning up the kitchen I felt my left nostril start to clog up with snot. This is the first sign of a Cluster attack for me. Then my left eye starts to tear and my left eyelid starts to droop and then the fun begins. The exquisite pain.

My two-year-old was watching “Barney” in the family room. This is a television show about a purple dinosaur. I find this show to be quite annoying, but my daughter seems to enjoy it. My first instinct was to turn off the television because normally I don’t like any outside annoyances to interfere with my need to be alone and focus on the task of relieving my Cluster attack. However, under normal circumstances my wife is here to take my daughter away from me so I can be alone and handle the attack all by myself. So I left the television on with my daughter watching it and quietly slipped into the living room with my Imitrex injection in hand and sat on the sofa and began breathing my Oxygen with my eyes closed.

I began my usual routine of rocking and breathing and moaning to relieve my Cluster attack. In walks my two-year-old daughter and she says this to me, “help you daddy”? As politely as I possibly could, I looked at her with my one good eye and said through the Oxygen mask, “can you go watch Barney”? She looks at me with her big, beautiful, two good eyes and says, “NO”! She pats me on the back and says again, “help you daddy”?

If this were any other person I would have probably screamed at the top of my lungs to please get the fuck away from me. However, it wasn’t just any other person; it was my daughter. I believe for the first time in my life I actually smiled during a Cluster attack. I grabbed my Imitrex injection that I did not particularly want to use, (I hate taking all this medication), and was going to give myself a shot to end the attack. My daughter lifted her shirtsleeve just like me and said, “ me shot too daddy”? I politely moaned and gave myself the injection. The Cluster attack soon subsided.

Having suffered with chronic Cluster Headaches for the past 15 years I have come to find many distraction techniques that help me get through the course of an individual Cluster attack. It has never entered my mind that a two-year-old and the television show “Barney” could be an effective distraction.

I’m going to go read my daughter every “Barney” book that she owns and watch every “Barney” tape that she owns with her now even though “Barney” annoys the hell out of me. I hope my daughter finds me to be as nice of a distraction as I find her to be.

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