By Elliot Kukla in The New York Times.
I became disabled overnight in a car accident. The car accident was a dream, but the disability was real.
I dreamed I was driving through the ravaged streets of Oakland, Calif., at the end of the world. I turned the corner and careened inescapably into a white chemical blaze. I woke with a start, the white flash still burning behind my eyes, the worst headache of my life piercing my left temporal lobe. I remembered my mother having a brain aneurysm years before and knew the “worst headache of my life” was not to be ignored. My wife and I hurried to the hospital, expecting life to change forever. Once at the emergency room, things moved quickly: CT scans were ordered, crystal clear spinal fluid was drawn from my back. Eight hours later, I was told I was perfectly healthy.
What they meant, but wouldn’t say, was that they didn’t know what was wrong. Over the next weeks and months, it became obvious that I was far from well. The terrible headaches continued, I developed burning nerve pain all over my torso, I was wrapped in a thick brain fog, I sprouted mouth ulcers, I was crushed with exhaustion. I would open my mouth and be unable to speak. I could get lost in my own house between bedroom and bathroom, and forget my wife’s name. I started having seizures.
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