Looking for miracles.

Toothache has been a cruel addition to all the other symptoms I have had since my old friend the brain haemorrhage decided to mess up my life.

How many different pains can be identified, I wonder, before they all merge into a general whole body one ?

Well, some people say that by inflicting a small pain on yourself, you can minimise the effects of much bigger ones.

My clever subconscious, to quote Benjamin Britten, must have been aware of this when I walked into a metal chair the other day and bashed my little toe.

I think it might have worked as a mini miracle because as I lay in bed last night, as sleeplessly as usual since this illness began, I was much more aware of my toe than my fractured spine, torn torso muscles and throbbing tooth. The trouble is, it takes bravery to bash your toes deliberately.

As I tossed and turned in an aimless attempt at finding a comfortable position whilst focusing on that toe, I fantasised about the pleasure of sleeping whilst standing up or, even better, seeking bed and breakfast in one of those gravity-free capsules that astronaughts use.

Well, I guess it all came about because yesterday was a bad day. Mostly I have felt cheerful enough, hopeful enough, strong enough to go with the long healing process that has been necessary after my brain haemorrhage and consequent brain seizure.

Sometimes, though, I just have to listen to that secret hidden scream which makes me want to bash my fists against my fate and allow all that usually repressed misery to surface.

It is so unfair as every teenage lad cries out when he can’t get his own way.

Well yesterday it was my turn.

It wasn’t just the pain, the boredom of convalescence, the Penecillin-driven depression, it was frustration at the possibilities and limitations that are possibly being set on my future.

I suppose it really came from the thought that today I go for another brain test. The EEG, electroencephalosgraph, which I am sure will be an entirely benign experience but which holds out the promise of some unwelcome diagnoses.

The main purpose of this test, where electrodes are fixed to the head to record the brain’s electronic currents (well I am not on top of the science yet), is that old scarer, epilepsy.

Apparently, brain haemorrhages can lead to life-long epilespy. Great. First a bruised toe then this.

Well, if that is the worst possible outcome I really should not complain because medicine, with an impressive range of drugs, has moved on a long way with this unpleasant condition since those dark days when people genuinely believed that epileptics were possessed by devils.

In Biblical times, of course, epileptics needed a miracle worker from the top drawer to offer any comfort.

Poor old Legion even convinced himself that he had so many devils inside him that he called himself “Legion, for we are many.” Luckily for him, Jesus wondered by and succeeded in removing these devils by sending them into a herd of pigs, the Gadarene swine, who were grazing, minding their own business, near by. The devils, presumably annoyed by being sent off in such an undignified way, drove the pigs mad and they all ran off a cliff to meet a watery death in the sea below.

As I say, mostly I am a cheerful and optimistic kind of person but, just sometimes, when I look out of my bedroom window, over the grey tiled roofs to a flock of sheep safely grazing on the gentle slopes of a piece of English downland, just sometimes, I wish for a repeat show.

Maybe, I think, a modern Messiah might drop in for a coffee and a chat and I could use the opportunity to ask him if he could repeat Jesus’ rather mean conjuring trick.

But no, I wouldn’t do that. As a child I always felt sorry for those Gadarene swine. Patience and optimism will just have to do. Dammit. I may have to bash that little toe again.

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