Guest Comic By Save Hiatus

UPDATE 9/28/09: The spinal headaches from the lumbar puncture have gotten worse. It’s like a 24 hour migraine at this point, so I can’t draw [or do anything else that isn’t lying flat on my back]. Comics will resume when my health allows. ~Joel

Big giant geeky thanks to Chris and Adam from Save Hiatus [the comic is actually on hiatus so follow @lexigeek and @cabridges for updates] for volunteering this guest strip. They managed to make light of my recent medical issues [read below] while still remaining topical with Flashforward reference. Flashforward premiered on ABC last night. I still haven’t watched it, but I’ve heard good things.

I had hoped to do a follow up to yesterday’s Roddenberry-MacBorg comic, but the best laid plans of mice and men are all turned to shit when you think you just had an aneurysm at 1am and rush yourself to the emergency room for a CT scan.

Those of you that follow me on Twitter were privy to the onslaught of unwelcome excitement that started in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Long/horrible story short: I had what is known as a “thunderclap headache” which means that out of nowhere you feel the worst headache you’ve ever felt in your life. It knocked me on the floor, blinded with pain and screaming. Some quick paranoid Googling later and I learned it could either be nothing at all, or the sign that I’d just had an aneurysm and could possibly be about to die. This freaked me out (read: terri-fucking-fied) me enough to go to the 24hr emergency hospital near my house despite not having insurance or any money. My wife and I decided that I would rather be broke than dead.

The doc told me that while I shouldn’t be scared by every medical thing I read on Google, I was actually right and I could very well have had a subarachnoid hemorrhage (brain bleed). He ordered a CT scan and a lumbar puncture. The CT scan showed nothing unusual but the doc expected as much. The LP was going to be the real indicator. So he shoved a giant needle in my spine and drained out several viles of the juice my brain floats in. This also showed that I was fine, but had the annoying side effect of leaving my brain with a dearth of juice to float in and a leak in it’s juice reservoir. This causes “spinal headaches” or tiny migraines behind your eyes every time you try to lift your head up or walk or do anything but lay flat on your back. So the only reason I feel like shit and can’t move is because of the test that broke my bank and told me I was fine.

The whole ordeal cost me over a grand (so much for no credit card debt), but afforded me a great deal of peace of mind. I really couldn’t just ignore something as serious as a potential brain hemorrhage. Despite how terrible I feel now, I’m actually quite relieved and at ease. I also got to make a handful of “Spinal Tap” and “House” jokes which I am grateful for.

Thanks you all of your that kept me company on Twitter and sent your kind words of support and well wishes. I was there for 6 hours so you certainly helped me keep my mind off things. A few of your have sent generous donations to help with my medical bills. I honestly can’t express properly what that means to me so I’ll just say thanks.

Now I’m going to watch Flashforward on the DVR. If you’ve already seen it, feel free to give your spoiler-free review in the comments.

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  1. "It could be Lupus."

    Sorry to hear you're laid up in an an extremely unpleasant and expensive manner, but at least you have the peace of mind of knowing that it's nothing serious. Get some rest and get to feeling better!

  2. Now your head goes all the way to eleven! Kidding aside, I wish I weren't jobless and could chip in. I'm doing my best to pimp your merch instead.

    The rest of the world must think we're insane for reflexively calculating the cost/benefit ratio of setting foot in a hospital vs. dying during a medical emergency.

  3. Don't worry about the pounding from the Spinal Tap, you'll be rid of that drummer soon.

    As for Flashforward, good potential, and the changes made over the award winning CANADIAN author's book are understandable, unlike Sword of Truth. Although I do regret prime time television won't be used to teach about quantum oberserver effect.

  4. I’m weary of shows like this… because once the gimmick (no matter how interesting it is) slows down, it’s really up to the writers to make the characters work. Think of Heroes. The first season worked really well, but the next couple seasons… hoo boy.

    • That, and there's always the tendency to pull the plug on shows that don't hit the ground running. Obviously Fox is a terrible offender, but ABC doesn't have the greatest track record either (Invasion, Life on Mars, a few others maybe?)

      • Just watched it and think it has great kickoff episode. In addition to the couple of Lost alum Charlie and Penny it really kinda reminded me of Lost/4400 in scope and tempo. It seems like there are going to be a lot of clues and every time they answer a question 5 more will pop up. If they handle it the same way and parcel out the information in a controlled way and tell the story slowly it has great promise.

        • I think the show seems interesting enough so far, but I have one of those questions that pop up right about now as I am watching episode 3…

          Without spoiling anything too much, there is a reference to an event that happened in 1991, and the DHS is mentioned. If anyone more in the know, and/or more American, than myself, could inform me if I'm missing something, please do so, but I am assuming the "DHS" in question is the Department of Homeland Security… Did that exist as an entity in 1991? Wikipedia seems to confirm my suspicions that the DHS was not established until 2002.

          In their obsession with the future, have the writers of FlashForward forgotten to fact check the past? πŸ˜›

  5. You made the right choice in going to the hospital right away. My wife had a subarachnoid bleed and luckily we got her to the hospital quickly and after a week and brain surgery she survived with no major issues. Of course being Canadian, we weren't worried about the cost. Good to hear it was not serious

  6. Very glad to hear that you're okay Joel – and it's fucking insane that you even have to think about your health during an emergency in terms of wondering whether you can afford medical treatment. If this isn't an argument for universal free health care, I don't know what is.

  7. Funny Aneurysm Moment, anyone?
    Okay, just me then.

    Good to hear you're OK! We can wait for the conclusion of the saga of Roddenberry's Mac, the most important thing is that your head didn't and will not 'splode in the near future.


  8. Sort of been there, sort of done that.

    Except that since this is the UK and all that invasive stuff costs a fortune (to the taxpayer, not me), I had to settle for “take these pills and see if the pain goes away”. It did, so it’s high blood pressure.

    My thoughts are with you, but not in a scary telepathic way. Take care, mate.

  9. Reading your tweets terrified me. My father had a LP back when I was little…r. That was before his back surgery. I remember that the doctor doing it, did it wrong and hit a nerve. It actually knocked dad off the table from the pain. :/ So I was severely traumatized when you were saying you needed one.

    And I am so glad that it went okay, and that you are okay. After all that, I made an LJ post about comics I love and tried to pimp your shirts – cause I know how you need the monies. I'm hoping my geeky friends will open their credit cards to you. πŸ™‚

  10. Glad to hear that it wasn't what you feared, and that Adam and Chris were able to lend a hand. Hope they can figure out what really did cause the problem and get you better! Have they looked into cluster migraines? Those supposedly affect men more than women, and have similar symptoms to what you're describing. Good luck!

  11. Ow! You poor baby! I hope you feel better soon! I had a friend who used to suffer from cluster headaches. Totally different from migraines.
    I was concerned to read about your plight (aside from the obvious) since none of those tweets showed up to me. I scanned back, and the last one was our discussion about Austin!
    Twitter, it seems, un-followed you! (fixed). I thought you were just being quiet. As if.
    Mend soon! See you in Austin!

  12. I'm glad you're okay, and so glad that you didn't ignore your headache!
    My Mum had a sudden, severe headache like that, (but started vomiting uncontrollably for a day too). It turned out she DID have a brain hemorrhage, a pretty nasty one that had a very low survival rate.
    She got to a hospital, thankfully. It still terrifies me that I could have lost my Mum that day to sometimes we couldn't even see, and all I could do was watch her suffer through it.

    Anyhow, I hope you find out what caused it, and rest up well in the meantime. Thanks for doing the right (albeit expensive) thing and looking after yourself.

  13. Wow, sorry to hear about the headaches man. I'm a migraine sufferer, so I can kind of understand your pain but that sounds superscary!

    I must admit to finding it very strange that you have to consider whether you can afford to have tests that will determine how ill you are. The sooner Obama forces your country to have social (not socialIST) healthcare, the better.

    Feel better soon! x

  14. Man … two words to use at the ER. "Bill Me". Then pay them five bucks a month for the rest of your life. So long as you pay, not much they can do about it.

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