Are You There Valium? It's Me, Nootsmaak

Full disclosure - I'm writing this while under the influence of valium, codeine, advil, acetaminophen, decongestants, green tea, lemon cake and now earl grey tea. Because of the migraine. A migraine like I haven't had in a very long time. It started Wednesday night and seemed to have burned out by late Thursday morning, but this morning it came back. Like, came back so hard it seemed pissed about all the drugs I took on Wednesday to try to kill it.

But I can't lie on the couch anymore - it's not helping. I can't sleep, I just lie there with cats constantly encroaching on my space making what should be a comfortable repose a weird, frustrating yoga routine.

This particular migraine is troubling. The last time I had one like this I was working full time for a highly dysfunctional insurance company, the name of which rhymes with Shue Blield. Our UX team was amazing, but trying to get anything done there was harder than building a rocket to the moon out of toilet paper tubes. I remember having at least one, often two, migraines like this every week. The stress seeps into my cranial nerves and sets off an atomic bomb. Most OTC remedies have no effect, which is why I buy codeine fizzies from the UK and supplement those with a side of warm, delicious valium.

Know how when you're at the dentist and she's drilling into your tooth like she's hoping to find buried treasure somewhere in your lower jaw? Know how tense your entire upper body gets wondering how you're going to have any tooth left when she's finished? That's what happens with a migraine. The pain creates the tension that then prevents the advil and sometimes even the codeine from working. That's why they make valium. It steps in and tells everyone to just chill the fuck out, it's all going to be OK, and in about 45 minutes, it is. It may not kill the pain, but it puts a fair amount of distance between it and you and that's a beautiful thing.

Except now I won't be driving to the store, or operating the heavy machinery I so often like to operate. I can make tea and shovel extremely satisfying bites of lemon cake into my sedated maw, and that's about it. I've never tried writing anything in this state before, but it seems easier and more therapeutic than staring at the television.

But I digress... The reason this particular migraine is troubling is because I just started a new contract gig with a really great company. I was there yesterday - my first day - and I was delighted by how nice everyone is. And funny. Everyone has a fantastic sense of humor. I feel like I'm among kindred spirits. So where is the stress coming from that likely sparked the migraine?

I think part of it is knowing this could become a full-time gig, mostly on site. I've worked from home for the last several years and I love it. I can take care of the house, run my own schedule and deal with the pet problems (now the geriatric cat has taken to shitting on the bathroom floor, just a foot away from the litter box). I also have total privacy here at home. You can forget how wonderful that is until you're sitting in a huge open seating plan with absolutely no privacy. It's weird. I'm not used to it. It's like being in a steno pool wearing only your underwear. Not that I've ever sat in a steno pool in my underwear. Not yet anyway.

The night before my first day I went into business travel prep mode. Cleaning & organizing the house, doing all my laundry, getting out & packing up snacks I'd want to have with me, finding the right bag to fit the laptop & other crap. I've never done all that for any other contract gig. Travel stress usually triggers a migraine.

Oh, and get this, I was almost 30 minutes late to the interview - something I've never done before. I've never been late to a meeting, let alone an interview. Thankfully it all worked out because one guy was delayed by a conference call, but still - WTF?

Are these all signs that I need to rethink the idea of taking on a full-time gig? Or is this just a particularly Murphy's Law kind of week? Just schedule shock? Impossible to know. The initial contract is for just a month. By then we'll both know (the company and I) if we're happy and want to move forward. But if I get any more migraines or suddenly can't figure out how to commute into the city, I think I need to take a long road trip to think things over.