“did you see mark last night?”

I’m not sure what happened last night. One minute I was standing there, behind my table, selling my shit, and the next minute I was falling over, unable to stand upright. I felt this kind of tightness at the back of my head, and then my sense of equilibrium just kind of drained out of me. It was like someone just pulled a cork. I started leaning to one side, I took a step, and that was it. Fortunately, I was able to reach out and grab a chair. I slid in and I sat there for a minute. And that’s when the sweating started. It was like someone dumped a cup of warm water over my head. It was pouring off of my face. And I became painfully thirsty. As my equilibrium began to return somewhat, I started slowly pushing my way across the room to get a glass of water. I must have loked like a corpse. My friend Pete saw my condition and came over to help. His theory, as he explained it me, was that I’d had a mini stroke. He said it had likely been triggered by the fact that I’d been standing still, in front of a drafty window, for several hours. He said that the back of someone’s head can’t be that cold, while the front is so warm. (The room itself was warm due to all the hundreds of people rubbing against one another.) He said it had shocked my brain… He grew up in Mississippi.

So, I made my way back to our table, and continued selling stuff. I was still a bit off in the equilibrium department, but the money was coming in, and I compensated. Things were OK for about fifteen minutes, and then, as I was standing there, selling someone their pack of Crimewave greeting cards, I noticed that my vision was getting jumbled. It was one of my typical migraines, the kind I get about once a year. I asked my friend Murph to go and find Linette and things slowly got worse. After a few minutes, I could still make out shapes and such, but I couldn’t focus on details. I tried to dial my cell phone and struggled at it, as I had to keep moving the phone around to see the numbers I was dialing. I ended up leaving and trying to make my way home. I told Melissa, who was standing next to me, selling our Severed Unicorn Head stuff, to keep an eye on my table and told her that Linette would come back to handle thngs. I also handed her a big envelope full of cash, which I guess shows either how fucked up I was, or how much I trust Melissa.

Linette, who was out with our friend Monica picking up the newly folded Shop Ypsi brochures from Standard Printing, called me on my phone and got angry with me for leaving and walking along the road when I couldn’t see straight. They were in a car, though, and came and got me. Monica drove me home and watched Clementine while I laid in a dark room for several hours, watching the multi-colored light show taking place inside my eyes. Eventually, as is usually the case, the lights stopped flashing and were replaced by a headache. I put Clementine to sleep, and then went to bed myself. Monica drove home over icy roads, but thankfully made it home alright. (Many many thanks, Monica.)

So, if you came out to see me last night, especially if you drove out from New York, I’m sorry. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before, and it completely sucks that it happened on my favorite day of the year. There are lots of theories as to what exactly happened. Most people seem to think it was the culmination of several weeks with little sleep as I tried to accomplish much more than was possible for someone of my limited capacity. I’ve also heard it suggested that I was faking it, wanting to sneak away and play soccer all evening. The truth, I think, might have more to do with Metromode, the SE Michigan arts, culture, and economic development website. Just prior to all of this starting, I was called away from my table to do an interview with them. The light on the camera was incredibly strong, and I stared straight into it for about 15 minutes. I realize that might sound about as stupid and my friend Pete’s theory about my brain being half hot and half cold, but my hunch is that’s what caused it. I don’t like bright lights and they’ve been known to give me headaches before. Of course, it doesn’t explain the loss of equilibrium and all the rest of it.

So, with all of that said, I’m sorry. I, for what ever reason, fell apart last night, and I needed to rely on the help of several friends. I don’t like to impose on people, and I don’t like shirking my Shadow Art Fair responsibilities. Unfortunately, I had to do both last night. And for that I’m sorry… The good news is, Linette tells me that she had fun without me, and, from what I hear, the last six hours for the SAF were as successful as the first. Thanks to all who came… except for those of you, whoever you are, responsible for my illness.

As for the sweating and the equilibrium issues that preceded the migraine, I’m not sure how exactly they’re connected. I’ve had 20 of these bad migraines in my life, and none of them have been preceded by my not being able to stand up straight. My guess, since I’m still a bit dizzy today, is that the two things were unrelated. I think it just so happened that I got hit by a sinus infection of some kind just a few minutes before getting the migraine. Or, I had a mini-stroke. Or, I was drugged by a unicorn.

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  1. Posted December 2, 2007 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I think it was the glitter.

    Hope you’re feeling better.

  2. amused1
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I hope you’re feeling better soon. As one who occasionally has suffers with migraines, I know how awful they can be. There is a particular type of migraine that can cause vertigo, slurred speech, and loss of coordination. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll get answers when you talk with your doctor. Take care of yourself.

  3. egpenet
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Get well!

  4. degutails
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    mine are triggered by bright lights, especially if they’re the only lights in an otherwise dark room. also, did you eat? that’ll do it every time, and sweating and dizziness is a sign of low blood sugar. anyway, i’m glad you’re better – it was a great event (the shadow art fair, not the migraine).


  5. mark
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Someone was apparently watching me.

  6. Posted December 2, 2007 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Wow, hope you are ok. Rest. Fluids. More rest.

  7. Mark H.
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Rest up and slow down, Mark! You’re too valuable an asset for human kind to let yourself wear yourself down! Drink more water and sleep more, pal!

  8. Robert
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I know a guy who had a similar episode and he was later diagnosed with MS. He’s doing fine now on medication, but I am still not sure I believe the doctors really know what happened.

  9. Suzie
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    hope you feel better soon…

  10. Gretchen S
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I have heard of this happening to men who are very well endowed. When they become full engorged, their brains shut down due to the loss of blood. I prefer to think that this is what happened to you. MS is terrible.

  11. Bonnie
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Ah, I wondered why I didn’t see you there. I saw Linette (I assume it was her) at the booth, but she seemed really incredibly busy and stressed (I see why! tons of people and you out for the count!), so I didn’t pester her for Shop Ypsi brochures. (And, er, is it possible for me to get about 30 before Wednesday evening?)

    As a fellow migraine sufferer, you have my sympathies, and I hope you’re fully recovered. Damn things have the worst timing. (And if you ever get them on a more regular basis, I recommend Oliver Sacks book “Migraine” and David Buchholz’s “Heal Your Headache.” Some good stuff in those.)

  12. Posted December 3, 2007 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I am sorry to hear about that, and I hope you feel better soon.

  13. Ol' E Cross
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    You’ll never make much of a superhero if all it takes to sap you of your superhero powers is a bright light.

    Next time, wear sunglasses. Or a severed head.

  14. Posted December 3, 2007 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I hear that one of the most common migraine triggers is hopscotch. An ounce of prevention….

  15. MaryD
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Maybe you should see your doctor?

  16. nammeroo
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    …see a doctor? If Gretchen S. is right, Mark only needs to see a doctor if the engorged dizziness lasts more than four days…or is it hours?….minutes? I can’t recall.

  17. Posted December 4, 2007 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    If Gretchen S. is right, this could also happen to a man who is normally endowed, but has a very small brain.

    At any rate, I hope you feel better, Mark. And you should see your doctor; that sounds serious.

  18. Jeff
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I imagine that Mark’s cock is quite magnificent.

  19. UBU
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Clearly a case of swelled head…

  20. js
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Jeez, Mark, sorry to hear that. Could be migraines, could be epilepsy… I know my hypochondria would be going full-tilt, so I hope yours isn’t.

    My folks said that they saw you, so they musta gone early.

  21. fruyguy
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m sad to report, I did see MM on the night in question. I’d stopped by the McDonalds at Mich and Ecorse with an incurable case of the munchies.

    It was nearing midnight, and there was Mark passed out among ten or twelve BigMac wrappers and, too many to count, biggie fry boxes. A few minimum wage employees surrounded him wondering, aloud, whether calling EMS would put their employment at risk. The dozens of sloppily used ketchup packets made for a rather gruesome scene.

    Thankfully, my bulk order of Fillet-o-fish came up within sixty seconds and I was able to exit before things got any worse.

    I do hope he made it home okay.

  22. STD
    Posted December 5, 2007 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I imagine Mark’s cock is like a hammered-out piece of veal scallopini.

  23. Posted December 5, 2007 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I hadn’t realized so many of Mark’s readers spent so much time thinking about his genitals. I suspect they get particularly engorged when he puts on that unicorn head.

  24. Posted December 7, 2007 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Must have scared ya a bit huh?.. Since almost everything immaginable,has happened to me at one time or another,
    It sounds like the headache you experienced was due to:possibly not enough liquids, soda tastes great and you may think…well I am drinking soda I am not getting dehydrated,wrong …. high blood pressure,and a combination of standing in one place too long,and being exceptionally fatigued,because you overdid it…Did your feet swell ,around the ankle area as well ? Skin felt tight??? At that point your blood pressure bottomed out as a fail safe kind of thing ,and the sweating ,disorentation,ears buzzing ,everything that happened after that was,……..
    it snuck up on you and you almost ODed,or your body started to shut down the only way it knew how! All that and more has happened to me …~ P.S.next migraine you feel coming, put your thumb on the vein from, your migraine eye to your nose…press firmly
    it will hold it for about 15 to twenty minutes ,long enough time for you to get ,home ,hospital,firestation, to take the edge off a migraine,also numb with a tangerine-sized piece of ice the area between your thumb and fore finger till its completely numb,bout two minutes ,youll feel the actual release as it happens ,if this works for you…it takes the edge off only ,but at least you don’t feel like you are going to die from this one …I think each migraine headache is “the one”that takes my life. Try also damp handtowel into the microwave till its so very hot it smokes ,or steams severely.,then try to put it on your face and head just as hot as you can stand,keepem coming,you might be able to sleep a little this way. Migraines appear behind the eye ball socket of either eye,which ever one it feels like terrorizing at the moment. Good luck!!!!from 45 years experience of mulitple cluster classic headaches that do cause mini strokes…by the way ,slurred speech,partial blindness, brain damage, loss of feeling from just the face and neck to the entire left or right side of my body,just depends…you guessed right …however this WILL eventually weaken the walls inside your head and cause you to be prone to a possible bleed or hemorage ,,,caused by “high blood pressure ,etc,etc, so watch it and drink drink drink! water ,plain water ..everything else will suffocate you ….

  25. richard cheyney
    Posted December 8, 2007 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Whatever you do don’t seek out medical attention or consultation unless and until John Edwards is the 44th president of these United States. Paying for any healthcare out of your own pocket is absolutely and completely unacceptable.

  26. mark
    Posted December 8, 2007 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    As a person suffering from an anxiety disorder, I can’t tell you all how much I enjoy this thread… MS. Brain damage. Tumors. Small penis… I know you’re all – or at least most of you – trying to help, but Jesus.

  27. Andy
    Posted December 9, 2007 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    I asked my neurologist friend to offer a spot diagnosis. Here’s what she had to say:
    “Could’ve been a basilar migraine (i.e., affecting basilar artery, in back of brain)… can cause funky brainstem/posterior circulation symptoms (vertigo, lightheadedness). Given his migraine history and the fact that the symptoms evolved into a typical migraine, that’d be my bet.”

  28. mark
    Posted December 9, 2007 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Andy. This is actually quite helpful. I appreciate it.

  29. Posted December 9, 2007 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    It totally sounds like a migraine. I usually have 1 a year, but the week before the Shadow I had two in two days. Both were completely blinding; one made me unable to walk. We may have same meth dealer.

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