The dreams started shortly after the doctor told me about the growth that, according to my doctor, only appeared to be a tumor. I had gone to see him about the enveloping headaches that occurred once or twice a day. At first, I thought caffeine withdrawal, so two shots of espresso in a large coffee and three 600 milligram ibuprofens later my stomach felt turned inside out but my head – so clear and light. Everyday for about a month, the headache returned, blurring my vision, making my brain feel two sizes too big for my skull.
One day, one particularly bad day, I woke up with the headache, and I decided to up the remedy: four shots in a large and a total of 2400 milligrams of ibuprofren. I called in sick to work. I lay on the couch doubled over as if wrapping my arms around my stomach would help. I stared at the frayed corner of my powder blue couch and wondered why five bottles of deodorizer couldn't kill the smell of cat piss radiating from the cushions that probably ruined the only two chances at sex I've had in the past year. On the television, Oprah Winfrey jabbered with some actor with hair that was intentionally styled to look like he just woke up. He was peddling some new romantic comedy that he wrote and directed and starred in, and I wanted to strangle him. Shove my hands right into the TV and wrap them around his leathery neck, but if I could actually do that, I would want a third hand to make a fist that I could shove in Oprah's mouth. Instead, I rolled over, facing away from that fucking screen, let the odor of cat piss wrap around me, and closed my eyes.
Throbbing, the pain reached every part of my body.
As I lay, I kept thinking about how I was going to have to embrace it and live with it and find a balance.
I felt the day slipping away from me. The slight chill on my skin from the sun going down didn't help the throb that kept pulsing and pulsing. My eyeballs were going to explode.
When it was good and dark, I got up to take a piss.
When I looked down to see the red-orange swirling in the bowl of yellow, I decided to call a doctor.