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  • Writer's pictureThe Lemon Chuck

Mega Donkey

"I have a mega donkey." is without a doubt, one of the strangest things I have ever uttered. To make matters worse- I shouted it into the phone with a pharmaceutical rep attempting to help me get a new migraine medication at a better cost.

I've had migraines my entire life. I was diagnosed at four years old and have never known a life without them. In my late twenties, they became chronic. For a decade: I have been on a helluva rollercoaster ride with these goddamn headaches.

I experience transient aphasia with a great many of my migraines. Recently, aphasia has gained attention due to the sad news about actor Bruce Willis and his health. My transient aphasia started ten years ago and was likely triggered by a terrible reaction to a prophylactic medication I was on. Most often, it shows up as completely losing words from my vocabulary and losing track of what I'm saying. Occasionally, I say some really unhinged things-- bellowing "I HAVE A MEGA DONKEY" into a telephone is probably my favourite. It was a declaration- almost prideful, for no reason at all.

While on a call with the pharma rep, he was talking too quickly. My head was throbbing with pain- I was dealing with an absolute brain-buster of a migraine. What I wanted to say was, "Can you please slow down? I have a migraine, and I can't keep up." Genuinely. That is what I was attempting to say when the whole mega-donkey debacle happened.

Silence. The rep took a deep breath. I sighed and went on to say, "Nope. I do NOT have a mega donkey. Migraine. I have a migraine." I sighed again-- ripe with embarrassment and defeat. A subtle choking commenced on the other end of the phone, and I realized he was trying to stop himself from laughing. I started to laugh at how ridiculous this was. The rep laughed too. He cry-laughed, apologizing profusely. He didn't need to apologize. It was a bat-shit crazy moment. How many times has someone randomly and forcefully professed that? If anything, I sincerely hoped this would be the thing to get me approved for the friggin medication. My brain was melting in real-time, and I desperately needed help.

Another fantastic example of my aphasia: I lived in Kelowna, BC- my sister and brother-in-law were in town for their first visit to my new place. It was summertime and the heat was sweltering. We were walking around my new neighbourhood, again, migraine in tow. I was attempting to tell them that Dairy Queen was 1km away- that we could walk to grab some ice cream. I loudly exclaimed, "We have a gorilla cheese!" Their response was stunned silence, puzzled looks and an indignant "gorilla cheese?" My body began to deflate, my shoulders rounded forward, and my head hung low with the weight of my dumbfuckery. "No." Big sigh. "Ice cream. There's ice cream..." Still puzzled, I mustered, "blizzard," and my sister said, "Dairy Queen?" YES. Dairy Queen. Jesus fucking Christ.

On that same walk, we saw a huge patch of rhubarb. I had the compulsion to point it out (no idea why?), so I said, "Hey, look! Row-bih-show! No. Wait. Row-bih-show.... robique! No! FUCK!" My sister, once again completely puzzled, said, "rhubarb?" "YES! RHUBARB!"

The reality is there is no shortage of these instances. The funniest part (to me) is that these strange things don't exit my mouth at a normal volume. I shout them. And even if I were saying something that wasn't totally fucking kooky, it would be unsettling to have anything randomly yelled in your direction. I get it. It's embarrassing. I have zero control over it- and I never know what nonsense I'll accost others with. Belly laughs often ensue, so that tends to offset the humiliation just a little.

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