not that the ailment has gone away, but I've just decided to write through the pain . . . such a hero.
Trigeminal Neuralgia. What a bastard thing. It has been called the worst pain known to man - yippee, and it is certainly pretty vile.
I think I have a type which is a little unusual - always against fashion, that's me . . . most people have a 'typical' TN which seems to be set off by touching the face, cleaning teeth, etc; mine (I hate to say this - as if I'm rather attached to the thing!) appears to be rather more random, and I suspect is linked to another pain - in the neck - literally. I've had this one on and off for about thirty years and various tests have revealed nothing. I reckon it's one of the pair of Submandibular glands that reside under one's jaw bone and produce saliva - my personal theory, and one that was crushed by a particularly vicious old 'specialist' I saw a couple of years back who told me the two could not possibly be related. Excuse me, I live with this . . . you don't.
So, what's it like, this TN thing?
Imagine some repulsive and abusive old relative that you only ever see once a decade phoning you up and telling you they are going to come and stay for a while. Before you can protest, they are at the door, pushing it open and hauling their case up the stairs. They settle in, take the best armchair and show you their new range of taser weapons which they will zap you with if you don't do exactly what is required.
You creep about doing all the right things or what you imagine are the right things, but inevitably they are not and you receive a few warning stings in the face. You know they are not going to move out in a hurry so continue to walk on eggshells, placate, move quietly, but then remember that the old sod actually likes taunting you, and whatever you attempt to do to improve the situation, won't. New tasers appear: ones that send zig-zags of hot electricity coursing through your teeth, tongue, scalp until you weep.
Yep, it's that bad. After a few days you start to contact the bailiffs (doctors/acupuncturists/neurologists, etc) to try and evict the offenders, now well and truly ensconced in your sitting room, feet up on the sideboard and all the weaponry lined up.
Last time, the growling Dickensian uncle as I like to see my own particular TN, grudgingly packed up his torture equipment after a month and shuffled off to catch the bus back to wherever he came from. I sighed the biggest sigh of relief ever and started my life up again. This time, he's outstaying his 'welcome' and more bailiffs will have to be contacted. In the meantime, I've realised it doesn't make a salt grain of difference if I write or not - something I have been avoiding as it seemed to make the pain worse, so, YES, I can lock myself in a room he doesn't know about and get back to my latest book at least.