Some observers have noticed a modest resemblance between myself and Harry Potter, as played by Daniel Radcliff. This was especially true in college when my face was thinner and I typically wore round rimmed glasses. This picture and original Harry Potter observation were both made by our dear friend Maureen, who also set up our HelpingHands webpage. On one memorable Halloween, I put on a scarf and drew a lightening bolt on my head. A costume that’s economical for both time and money.
For those uninitiated into the world of Harry Potter, he has been pursued his entire life by the evil wizard Voldemort — who gave him a lightening bolt scar on his forehead. Whenever Voldemort is nearby, Harry’s scar gives a sharp stab of pain, which is useful to both Harry and JK Rowling as a plot mechanism. As the series moves along, Voldemort is associated more and more with dark, menacing storm clouds. Not the most subtle imagery ever, but who am I to complain? JK Rowling has made a billion dollars with her writing, while I’m thrilled if a hundred people click on my blog on any given day.
I mention all this because as an interesting sequela to my surgery, I get mild but unmistakable pressure headaches whenever the barometric pressure changes. Having had migraines from an early age, and having woken up in the ICU after brain surgery, I know a thing or two about what a real headache feels like, and these barometric headaches are no more than 1 on a 10 point scale of pain. I really can’t complain. Besides, they’ve been occasionally useful as a means to forecast impending rain storms. I get occasional false-positives, but there hasn’t been a single false-negative. I’m grateful I live in St. Louis where we have thunderstorms every other day; I didn’t even need a journal to make the connection. Had we still been in Connecticut, for example, I would have been unnerved by the occasional headaches that self-resolve without an immediately obvious underlying cause, my confidence in good health being somewhat shaken of late.
The folks in the neurosurgery office tell me this is extremely common, and I’m hopeful that it will resolve with time. Meanwhile, meditation usually damps even the most persistent pressure headache, and it’s comforting to know that there’s an explicable cause that will soon pass. I’m vaguely curious whether I’ve acquired any other Harry Potter powers, but I haven’t yet had the occasion to try to converse with snakes or catch a snitch. Either one would probably get me an interesting write-up during the next neuropsych evaluation. I don’t want to get into a competition with the Hero of Hogwarts, but I will say that my scar is way more impressive than Harry’s, albeit not quite so heavy-handed with symbolism.