I just got back from my 2nd visit to Copenhagen (and first to Helsingore, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden).
From the modest amount of the world I have seen that general area is as close to paradise as I need to see. But this time, in order to get to paradise I had to go through hell.
I have had migraines since I was a child. I don't tend to get exclusive about things but yes, I mean REAL migraines, not the glorified headaches that many people try to triumphantly pass off as migraines. I can usually spot a poseur when I see their reaction to the fact that when I get one I puke (or rather dry heave) for up to 8 or 10 hours. THAT'S a migraine, folks.
Fortunately, they have eased over the past 10 years or so, but on the evening of Tuesday, July 20, 2010 my worst nightmare came true. I started out with my usual routine of sketching on the plane to make the time pass quickly and enjoyably (see above). But around halfway through the hour and a half flight I couldn't do it any longer. All I could do was grip my head and try to squeeze the pain away.
By the time "final approach" was announced and even the stewardesses were strapped down I almost paniced when I realized that I had no barf bag in my seat front. It was only through a herculean test of willpower that I was able to keep from barfing all over myself. When we finally landed I jumped up as soon as the law allowed me and gripped my jaw together tight waiting like a prisoner to GET OFF THAT GOD DAMNED PLANE.
I don't so much get auras when I get migraines but I can't exactly see either which is why only my companion kept me from going into the women's toilet. Instead I had to keep it together for another 50 meters before I found the men's. Nothing more pleasant than having to kneel on a water and piss soaked floor in a hot airport toilet puking your guts out.
I hoped the hearty emptying of my stomach would buy me some precious time but it wasn't to be. I did mange to make it through customs and find an exit out into the air where I proceeded to puke into a trash can. I'm susrprised from the deathly pale and sweaty look of me that the border guard didn't have me quarantined.
We always walk everywhere when we travel but we had to take a train to get from the airport to Copenhagen Central Station. My travelling companion gave me the trash bag meant for her dirty clothes and I boarded the train. It felt like it was 90 degrees farenheit in there.
I couldn't even bear to sit down. I hovered by a door hoping to catch the faintest bit of breeze when it stopped at the stations along the way. When people got on they took one look at me and got as far away as possible. Sweat was pouring off of me as I repeatedly buried my face in the bag and retched.
Finally, we made it to the city. I'm the one who always navigates but now it was up to her. But in the dark it wasn't easy, even with a map and compass. I stumbled along after her, imploring her to "just head East - find the water - then head North". I apologize for the splattering of sick I left behind some plant on some public square as she tried to figure out where we were.
We stumbled some more until I threw in the towel, managed to get some local currency out of an ATM and hailed a cab. Poor guy was probably scared to death I was going to die in his cab if not stink it up with vomit.
Thnak God we finally made it to the hotel.......only to be told they had overbooked and had no room for us!!!!
I pleaded but it was no good. There was not a single available room. Satan, dear Satan, what did I do to piss you off this time??
So I stumbled in and out of the lobby toilet as they worked to find us an alternative. When they did they summoned a cab for us. I had jettisoned my puke bag once we made it to the full hotel so my friend had to get another from the desk. It semlled strongly of plastic chemicals and when you have a migraine the worst thing in the world are strong, chemically smells, so with each dry heave I had to endure the sickening smell of plastic.
The new cabbie's first words to us when he saw (and heard) my state were "hospital?"
No, just to this hotel, please.
We made it there. I stood outside and heaved while my friend dealt with the desk. She got me and I managed the one flight of stairs to the room. I somehow managed to undress and crawl into the shower and just poured hot, warm, cold water all over me.
In the haste they had given us a tiny room with only a tiny single bed but there was no going back. I wasn't going anywhere. My dear friend endured a night of 'sleeping' on the hard floor as I tossed and turned and moaned all night on the small bed.
Up and down, all night.....dry heaving....barely managing to stomach a couple gulps of water in the hope that I would ahve something to puke besides bile when I inevitably headed for the toilet 10 minutes later. ALL NIGHT LONG.
Migraines are a lovely thing. Eventually, FINALLY, you fall asleep and make it around the bend and the very second you make up and realize it's over is the greatest moment of your life. I laughed. I cried. I enjoyed the rest of my visit to paradise like nobody's business.