A cat by any other name

Spare brain



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Meow to me

Richard and I have had a joke for nearly the entire time we've been together about how we share a server brain. He and I have a tendency to blurt out exactly the same thing, even if it's completely out of the blue and has nothing to do with the conversation we were having. At one point, he found one of those little toys that you put into water and they grow, shaped like a brain. We had fun with that. When he went to Boston last week, he came home with a pile of all the little doodads and free gadgets that you can pick up at conventions - pens, pads, etc. Since this was a neurology convention, he also came home with brains. They're made of the same squishy material that stress balls are constructed from. But now we each have a spare brain.

Cat hair is insidious and has this unique tendency to weave itself permanently into things. If you own a cat, you will soon find that you can never completely remove the cat hair from clothes, furniture, or curtains. It has a life of its own. I've often joked that it's one reason why I'm a bit odd - when I die and they do the autopsy, they'll find cat hair woven into my brain. It'll have worked its way that far in.

Despite the joke though, I expect that my brain is fairly normal - gray and lumpy just like anyone else's. And despite how much we may tease, I expect that Richard's brain is just as normal and wrinkly as anyone else. I never really gave the whole brain thing that much thought however, until tonight.

We were both out of town this week - he in Portland for his last week there, and me back in Washington for the second week of design sessions for this project. We were both scheduled to fly back to Sacramento at just about the same time, so we figured we would just meet in the airport and head home together. That is, until he called to tell me he might miss his flight because he was going to the hospital. He had blind spots in his vision, he said.

I'm not one to worry too much - I never have been. I have often found it amusing that my mom is so capable of imagining the worst-case scenarios for her children. Me - I can usually be fairly practical about things. I look at every angle, rationalize the situation, and then go from there. I don't tend to dive into the truly nasty 'what ifs'. Famous last words, I suppose. I know that these things can be just related to something minor. Stress. Certain types of headaches. Staring at the computer screen too long maybe - who knows. But I also know that there are some really ugly things that can cause vision problems. And so despite my practical nature, those nasty 'what ifs' starting crowding around in my brain. I stood in line for my flight, chatting with the coworkers who were on the same plane, cheerfully joking about the week's events, and all the while pretending that I wasn't worried, no, not me, not a bit.

It's just migraines. He's never been officially diagnosed before, but I guess this was a really good way to start. I got my official diagnosis of migraines back when I was still in elementary school, after going through a whole host of doctors who put me through a whole host of different labels - dust allergy, needs bifocals, sinusitis - before one doctor finally figured it out. (Of course, he also was certain that I'd grow out of them at puberty. Boy was *he* wrong.)

But I'm digressing. All Richard has is migraines. His brain is perfectly normal (although what an opportunity for teasing *that's* going to be!). It's not any of the other possibilities that were spinning through my (possibly cat-hair-infested) brain this evening as I waited to board my plane. All that worrying was for nothing...or maybe as my mom says, it was the worrying that made it all right.