In Bed Summary
‘In Bed’, an essay by Joan Didion depicts her personal experiences with migraine headache, which she inherits from her parents. She presents something unusual about the disease in a more philosophical and meditative domain of thought.
Joan spends her day in bed there almost five times a month because of the migraine headache. She knows that she is going to be attacked by the headache when she feels some sort of irritation and flow of blood in the vessels of her brain. To avoid the attack she takes some medicines and starts to work. In her earlier days, she thought that she would get rid of the disease just by denying it. Sometimes she even tells lies saying that she did not have the attack frequently. But the truth was that sometimes the attack was quite violent and long lasting. However, she feels good that she does not have any other physical problems, such as brain tumor, eyestrain or high blood pressure. She also tries to do all her normal work in spite of it. During the attack her right temple (head) would suffer extreme pain and tears would roll down from her right eyes. She would also vomit. Generally the headache may also be caused by stress, allergy, and tiredness, an abrupt change in blood pressure, a flashing light or a fire drill.
It’s strange that no medicine works effectively in case of migraine, especially when the attack begins. Some people may have hallucination, blinding effect, stomach problem, tiredness and pain in all the senses along with headache. They are even unable to do their normal work. During the attack Didion can’t see and speak clearly. She looks as if she has drunk some wine. But the headache never takes anyone’s life. It is interesting to know what doctors believe about a migraine sufferer. They said that the individual is ambitious, inward, and intolerance of unbearable pain But Didion’s untidy hair and carelessness in house keeping do not point out her migraine quality. However her great effort to write and rewrite a single paragraph for a week reveals some sort of perfection. Finally she accepts the diseases and lives with it. When she has it she simply concentrates on the pain. But after ten or twelve hours she gets some sort of refreshment and spiritual power. She opens the window and feels the air, eats gratefully and sleeps well. She feels as if she is blessed by God. Therefore she is happy.