Trigeminal Neuralgia in fiction

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Excerpt from Orion Cross My Sky:

The house, including his bedroom, smelled like his mother’s stale cigarettes. Orion clambered out of bed, his face aching. It had been a cold night, and the chill had penetrated. The cold aggravated his nerves, worsening the pain. As it increased, electric shocks pulsing across the right side of his face, he knew right away he wouldn’t be able to go to work.

Thankfully, Pete had Danny at the shop, and his boss was understanding. He knew about Orion’s condition. Talking could be painful, so rather than call, he sent a text message to Pete.

Pain coming. 15 minutes I will be in agony. Cannot come in. So sorry.

His phone buzzed a moment later as he sat on his bed, gritting his teeth. He read the text from Pete:

Please take care. Go to hospital if needed.

Orion didn’t bother to reply. By this point, he was already clenching his fists and tears were streaming down his cheeks. He had tried to kill himself once from the pain. He wouldn’t attempt it again. He was a different person than he’d been at fourteen, a stronger man.

He had decided he would never give up. Trigeminal neuralgia would not win.

I have to eat something before it gets worse.

Rising to his feet, he staggered into the kitchen in his pajamas, his right eye twisted shut, his jaw clenched reflexively. He leaned against the counter, taking a moment to attempt to relax every muscle in his face. Sometimes, it helped. This time, it alleviated the pain only slightly. He knew he was in for a terrible attack as he dug through the cabinet and tugged down a box of cereal, then poured some into a bowl and soaked it with milk.

He shoveled the food into his mouth despite the pain of chewing, finishing it just as his father walked in from doing some yard work out back. Alvin Bennett was a man of average height, with very little hair left on his head, and an almost perpetual stern expression on his face.

“What’s wrong with you?” He shut the door behind him and eyed Orion with obvious disappointment.

“Pain attack,” Orion supplied, not wanting to go into detail. As the pain worsened, even talking hurt, and he couldn’t handle his father berating him. Not now.

“It’s all in your head. One of these days, you’ll realize it. Call out of work again, eh?”

Orion wanted to scream, but instead, he placed his empty cereal bowl in the sink and screwed his mouth shut.

His father continued as he slipped out of his coat and hung it on the rack. “You need to toughen up, kid. My father, your grandpa, went through hell when he was younger, but he still worked every day and did what he had to for his family.” His father took the bottle of Orion’s medication and tossed it in the trash. “You don’t need that shit. Get over it.”

Fury swam with the misery inside him as Orion snatched the bottle from the trash, wrapped his arms around his body, and groaned as a stabbing lanced through his face.

“You don’t understand,” he bit out, before vaulting toward his bedroom and curling up on disheveled blankets. He rolled to the side, then gasped when the right side of his face touched the pillow. It was so wrong that touching his face had to hurt, and even more wrong that this pain was for nothing.

It meant nothing.

It had no purpose. It couldn’t kill him. It could only destroy his soul if he let it.

Author’s Note: Writing about my pain helps me cope with it, and I hope that with every word I write, I’m spreading awareness of this terrible disorder. 

Orion Cross My Sky is currently available on Kindle by clicking here. A print edition will be available in the future. This novel is part of the Clearwater Series published by Sunshine Press. I hope you have enjoyed this short excerpt.

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2 responses to “Trigeminal Neuralgia in fiction

  1. Wow this was incredible and hit so close to home, the line about his cheek upon the pillow brought tears to my eyes – I know that pain- to read of a charecter in fiction going through what I am is so new, I am looking forward to reading the entire book!

    • Thank you so much for commenting. I’m glad the excerpt resonated with you. That means a lot to me! I have two books out that touch on TN– Orion Cross My Sky and also Meet Me in the Garden. I try to write about it in different ways to raise awareness. Keep your chin up! What we deal with is so hard, but know that you’re not alone. ** hugs **

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