Have you ever had a headache? Sure you have. Have you ever tried to explain the pain to someone else? Using words like “splitting”, “aching”, “throbbing” or “tumor”?
Do you think they have any idea how you really feel?
I had another of “my headaches” today. Woke up with it, took some aspirin, it got a little better, aspirin wore off, it came back way worse. It got so bad that I was getting nauseous and a little bit nervous. I’ve had bad headaches, but this was a “top-ten-ever” kinda headache, so I told my boss I was taking the rest of the afternoon off. As I packed up my stuff to come home, I told the guys in the office why I was leaving and got the impression that they really didn’t know how bad it was. Since I get these bad migraines every once in a while, this wasn’t the first time I’ve left work because of one. I was afraid of leaving the impression that I just wanted to slack off for the rest of the day and knew that I could say the word “headache” and there would be no questions asked.
I’m nearly certain that wasn’t the case, after all the headache was bad, as I mentioned, and I wasn’t thinking about anything too clearly.
While resisting the urge to pound my head against the window on the bus ride home, I thought about it again and decided headaches would be more impressive if there was a visual symptom that others could see when your head hurt. Maybe your head would turn different colors? That’d make it easy to tell who was faking in order to go home and play XBox and who was really in danger of cranial explosion. Like a thermometer, your head would get redder and redder, corresponding to the pain level. Sure, I’d have looked like a giant tomato today, but at least I wouldn’t have felt guilty about coming home.