Anniversaries, Headaches and the Zoo

Last week marked an anniversary of sorts at the Madhouse – it’s been one-year since my health took a total nosedive. I’ve been doing therapy and counseling. I’ve had a CT scan and an MRI. I’ve seen a neurologist and ENT specialist. I see my family doctor regularly. I’ve had a Reiki session and have tried naturopathic remedies. And while I’ve been slowly but steadily improving, with minor set-backs, there has been no “ah-ha” moment. No, “Here’s the problem, take 2 of these and you’ll be good as new in the morning.” I’d even settle for, “Here’s the problem. We can’t do anything about it, but it has a name.”

There is still no explanation as to why my health dropped so rapidly and so severely. There is speculation. There are educated guesses. But there is no diagnosis. This lack of diagnosis is driving me mad (in the crazy sense, not the angry sense – well ok, a little bit of the angry sense too).

I’m one of those people who needs to understand why. Why is the sky blue? (It has to do with the atmosphere and the way light is absorbed – science-y stuff). Why did I get stretchmarks on my legs in high school? (turns out I grew so fast my skin couldn’t keep up with the bone and muscle growth – interesting, huh?) And most importantly, why does my head hurt so much? Why don’t pain killers help? Why do I feel dizzy sometimes? Why? Why? Why? (I’m very much like a 2-year-old. I think sometimes I frustrate medical professionals, but oh well, I need to know.)

My daughter is like this too. Why do I have to do it this way, mom? (“because I said so” never works) Why do I have to go to school? (because it’s the law and one of us would end up locked up if we were together 24/7/365 and I’d miss you) The questions go on and on. The challenging thing is I’m very good at asking questions and finding my own answers; I’m not so good at answering her questions satisfactorily. I’ll keep trying though.

Anyway, back to my health issue. I had a setback this past week. It was pretty bad. I ended up in emerge for awhile, but was able to avoid being hospitalized by agreeing to follow the doctor’s instructions. Fortunately, they were easy. (One day I’ll divulge more of what my health issue is, right now it’s still so raw and painful and has NO NAME, that I hate trying to explain it.)

Today I’ve been in bed with a migraine. The kids have been pretty good. Rian & Alexi cleaned up the living room for me and Rian brought me the cold packs I put on my head to help alleviate some of the pain. Rian just brought me some cantaloupe to snack on and they’ve both tried to be quiet so my head wouldn’t explode. They’re so sweet. It almost makes me feel bad for going to the zoo without them.

Almost. Saturday was my Mini-College Reunion. We call it a “mini-reunion” because the group that attends totals 5, plus one partner who didn’t go to school with us. Last year we held our first Mini-Reunion. We met up in Toronto which is the halfway point (sort of anyway) for those of us in Southern Ontario and those of us in the Near North. Last year we met for supper and it was nice, but this year we met at the Toronto Zoo and it was awesome! Then we went for supper, because you can’t have a gathering without food. It just isn’t done.

I had never been the zoo before so I was very excited. One of the things I like about the Toronto Zoo is that it’s a teaching and conservation zoo so I didn’t mind paying the $25 entry fee knowing that the proceeds would go to benefit the animals. The biggest obstacle for me was going to be the walking – the zoo covers 287 hectares (710 acres)m has 10km (6 miles) of walking trails (on very hilly terrain) and is one of the largest zoos in the world.

Ummmm, yeah. This posed a problem for me since I was having a relapse and couldn’t walk to the corner store. However, one of my friends, T. is permanently-partially disabled from Juvenile Arthritis and she wasn’t going to let it stop her (T. doesn’t let much stop her, she’s an amazing woman). She brought her motorized scooter (gotta love technology). I had a rented wheelchair (I got my money back when I returned it) and D.

D. was the hero of the day (at least to me). My friend D., who is one of my college buddies, and was the best man at my wedding (I try not to hold that against him though), pushed me around that entire park. For 6 whole hours. Yup, he was the hero of the day and he earned every calorie he consumed at supper.

There are over 5000 animals at the Toronto Zoo representing over 500 species. Of those 5000 animals I’m pretty sure we saw at least 4000 bums and a few other…body parts. Animals have no shame, you know. We had a great day. We laughed and reminisced. We reminded each of other of haircuts past – let’s pray the mullet never makes a comeback. We talked about what the last 20 years have held, the good and the bad. And where we are now – some married, some divorced, some with kids, some without, but all moving forward.

Gratuitous bum shot number 1. I think it’s hog of some type.

This was one of the more pleasant bum views. The peacocks roamed freely around the zoo. One of them even made a cameo appearance in the penguin exhibit.


This Red Kangaroo put on quite the show. I’ve think I’ve subjected you to enough bum shots, although I have several more. Let me know if you want to see them. I hate to see a good photo go to waste.

I know my kids would love it there. The exhibits are fun and engaging. The habitats are large and provide an opportunity to see the animals in motion (most of them were pretty still on Saturday; we’ve had a lot of heat this summer). There’s a carousel; which is no-no for me (I learned my lesson last year; carousel + vertigo = BAD!).  They have a splash pad for the kids and the new Gorilla Climbs Rope Course (which I will attempt once we get this head issue straightened out). Oh, and for an extra $2.50 you can pet the stingrays – it was so worth it!

The problem is I don’t think my Alexi is strong enough to push mommy through the zoo….I wonder if C. would hire D. out for the day. I’ll have to Facebook her.

Here we are! From left to right – C., D.’s lovely partner; T. and her husband B., they both went to Canadore; D. my chauffeur for the day; me and CL. I think the guy in middle taught us Municipal Government, but I can’t be sure.


About Holly

I hope you're able to glean something from this blog, a nugget of wisdom, a new perspective, a smile or even a laugh. I enjoy getting feedback so please comment, share your story with me too. After all, we're here to help each other.
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4 Responses to Anniversaries, Headaches and the Zoo

  1. I don’t blame you for wanting to know why. I would be the same way. Once you have a why – can label it – then the plan to attack/treat it will be more clear. You will know what you are up against. The mystery is scary.

  2. Holly says:

    You’re right, the mystery is scary and annoying. Sooner or later it will all make sense, of that I’m certain. Just hopefully sooner rather than later.

  3. Holly, I’m so sorry you have to deal with these health issues. So not fair for such a sweet person like you! But, I agree, more will be revealed, and then you will be able to move forward. Hugs! XOXO-SWM

  4. Holly says:

    Thanks, Kasey. It hasn’t been my favourite thing, dealing with all of this, but I’m learning so much about how little they know about the brain. Hopefully soon I’ll be back to semi-normal (who wants to be completely normal? boring!!). Hugs back at you!

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