August 1998
s m u g
by Leslie Harpold


Out of My Head

It could be the new glasses, it could be the stress of meeting the exacting standards of the loyal Smug readers or it could be a brain tumor. All I know is I get headaches more often these days than before. So until I can tear myself away from whatever the hell it is I'm convinced is sucking up all my time, I've found the cure.

Let me start by saying I'm a longtime fan of aspirin, particularly Ascriptin. Never heard of it? Well, it's aspirin, pretty straightforward, but it has a little Maalox in every tablet so if you're one of those delicate people, you won't get an upset stomache. Truthfully, I'm not really one of those delicate people, and I can throw five of the most crude aspirin - Drug Guild generic 500 for $3.99 down my gullet and my system doesn't even notice. I've learned, however, that when touting the miraculous powers of Aspirin, best to recommend one that will even work for the really sensitive folks.

aspirin extraordinaire What I like about aspirin is this: a) if it were invented today, you could only get it with a prescription, so you get both pain relief and the feeling of using a controlled substance without any of the messy risk, and b) that it is an anti-inflammatory, a pain reliever and an anti -- whatever that thing is that means it takes fevers away. Four separate real live M.D.s have warned me that Tylenol and alcohol cause kidney failures sometimes together, and although I don't really drink that much, that's enough to scare me off it. Advil is just a muscle relaxer. Merely Motrin, over the counter. Not interested. When my brain hurts, I want relief and I don't really have the energy to figure out which of the three are getting to me, so I just take aspirin and say bye bye to pain.

Except a few Tuesdays ago. I had a headache this big and aspirin wasn't helping. I tried caffeine, I tried no caffeine, I tried drinking a gallon of water every two hours, I tried not eating, I tried eating protein only, I ate a ton of wasabi because it always makes me feel really clean, I tried every crackpot home remedy I could think of. Tiger balm, sinus medicine, no computer, no light, I kept removing stimuli until the next step was one of those sensory deprivation tanks, and I don't even think you're allowed to buy those now that the 80s are over. Jack was busy so I couldn't get him to fax me his plans for the orgone accumulator, so I took a big step. I asked for help.

I live near a very small, very hip pharmacy where the people are always pretty nice to me. All I ever really do is buy toothpaste and Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap there, or condoms if I'm having a really good week. However, since they've been kind enough to smile at me and my tiny purchases over the years, and once even delivered a $2.30 bottle of cherry Emetrol when I was having a particularly grueling case of food poisoning last year, that was the first stop I made. I fantasized it several times before going, how I would take the pharmacist aside for one of those customer to para-professional chats I see in TV ads, but it didn't really work out that way.

We did talk, but it wasn't particularly private. Which is fine, considering I wasn't there about unusual welts or menstrual irregularities, just a headache, I'm not embarrassed to point to my head in public, so I wasn't too worried about the whole store knowing I had a brain splitter. He asked me what kind of pain, and several more pointed questions that helped him identify that it was one of those low headaches that pressing hard on your head kind of relieves a little.

Then he - his name is Art, by the way, I learned his name when I called to say thank you later, asked me if I was open to something homeopathic. Since I didn't think he was going to mix me a big shot of morphine up if I said no, I nodded before I realized nodding made the pain worse. You'd think after four days with the headache, I'd be a little more sensitive to its nuances.

This is what I got. Glonoinum 6X. I was instructed to put four of them under my tongue every twenty minutes until the pain went away. I went home, and basically discovered they melted in less than 20 seconds and tasted like powdered sugar. There was barely anything to them at all.

Mind you, this headache had rendered me useless. I could no longer read, compute, talk on the phone, talk to anyone, listen to anything but silence or sit in anything but dim light. I don't get migraines, that's just not my issue, so this was all very new to me. So I sat and I waited, and boom, eight minutes later, my headache was gone. Completely. An hour later it was still gone. As a matter of fact, I haven't had a headache since. That was worth far more than the five bucks I paid for it. Now I just carry it in my purse and wait for opportunities to make converts out of my friends.

The bottle says that it should only be dispensed by a licensed practitioner, which it turns out Art is. Whew. So, I guess I really shouldn't be passing these out like candy. Since I don't want to get sued I will not say this: I do not recommend you try this under any circumstances other than under the care of a licensed practitioner or on the advice of your medical doctor. If you try this and something goes awry, you didn't hear about it from me. Anything that happens after this moment is on your shoulders and I am not suggesting you even think about using this for your next headache.

But hey, it worked for me.


in the junk drawer:

and such
and such

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