On Monday, I wrote about a man who talked to someone only he could see.
Last night, as I sat at the dinner table, I saw something that only I could see.
A curved, squiggled line in my vision. At first it looked the remnants of too-bright of light that hit my eye. You know the kind that leaves an impression of glow in your eyes for a few minutes. That’s how it started. And I thought nothing of it. That is, until the squiggle flashed like a neon sign. Red. Yellow. Green. Blue. The squiggle widened. The flashing included geometric shapes within.
I looked at my daughter’s face, only seeing half of it.
My peripheral vision ceased to work.
What was to follow would be nothing less than a skull crushing migraine. It didn’t hurt yet. But I knew that the pain was coming.
I took migraine pills (really, just glorified ibuprofen with caffeine in it) and ate some semi-sweet chocolate chips (serves to curb the blind spot). Then, off to bed I went.
Within moments, I could see again. Just in time for the pain. Just in time for the me to will myself to sleep through the worst of it.
The strange thing, though, is how absolutely beautiful it all begins with the flashing lights. My daughter asked if it was like fireworks in my head. A little. Just a little. When these flashing blind spots come, they are usually like the fuzz of an out of service television channel. But every once in awhile, they come as a beautiful, growing and glowing shape. Full of color and movement. Almost entertaining.
A few weeks ago I watched a TED Talk by a neurologist who discussed the hallucinations that come with different forms of blindness. Last year, I read a book by the lovely Patti Hill (called “Seeing Things”. BUY it HERE ) about a woman who hallucinates due to macular degeneration. Both the neurologist and Patti’s character describe the hallucinations as intriguing. Perhaps even enjoyable.
I can understand how that can be.
At least until the hallucinations became terrifying. But, I suspect, that’s a different thing altogether.
I really have no deep philosophical platform here. I don’t even have anything intelligent to say. I’m afraid that I’ve struggled to even write this much (my head still hurts badly).
I guess just this; sometimes beauty and pain and loss join together. Sometimes they come in one bundled package. We just need to learn how to see them.
Hope you feel better soon. Beauty and pain are closely tied, in most things it seems.
Oh, thank you so much. I do feel a bit better today. Yes. How strange that beauty and pain mix. It causes me to wonder.
That strasburg library comment was from me JJ Landis. I started a wordpress site for my library and was signed on through that.
Okay! Great! I was trying to figure that one out. Thanks for the clarification.
You have a library? How cool!
Not a day goes by without a twinge between my eyes,a little sinus pressure, a little reminder that a headache is just waiting around the corner for an excuse, any excuse, to come rising to the top of my consciousness and turn what might have been a glorious day into a mind-numbing battle to think through the filter of pain.
The day begins with migraine meds, and often ends with the same. In my life, I can only remember two days which did not begin with with pain. But they are not accompanied by beautiful sparkling lights; when things get bad, nausea sets in, and it is time to go lie down in a dark room with no noise until the bad feelings go away.
On those days when the medicines are not working, I stumble through the day accomplishing nothing and looking forward only to the moment when it is time to sleep.
On those days when the medicines work too well, my mind is floating in a sea of cotton balls, every thought rising and falling like a cork on the waves, random, unconcerned. Those are the days when the words come gushing out like a waterfall, when the ideas spill out of my head in a torrent, too fast to write them down. Those are the days when I feel like I could write that next Great American Novel.
And on normal days, I walk a tightrope, trying to maintain a balance between thinking too much, which brings on the stress which brings on the pain, and not thinking at all, which reduces my effectiveness both at home and at work to negligible levels.
I’m hoping that the allergy shots will help. Maybe in a couple of years, I’ll be normal all the time.
But will I still be able to write?
(Here’s wishing you a huge gap between this last headache and the next — like a couple million years!!)
Oh, Rob, I feel for you! Hopefully, one of these days, we’ll see that they’ve found a cure that is cheap and has no side-effects.
Until then, we have to write through the pain. Ouch.
Oh how I resonate with this post. I will admit, I have never considered that moment of aura as beautiful but you definitely made me pause. In thinking back to past episodes, it can be if you let go of the gripping fear of what is about to come. I often get sparkles and floating dots. I often lose complete sight in one eye and the other eye is a kalidescope of the world around me as I try not to kill myself on the way to someplace dark and quiet…mentally putting the visual puzzle pieces together to navigate where I am. I suffer from two different forms of migraines. Was diagnosed in 9th grade and then two years ago with another variety that causes something akin to paralysis in my face. I have landed on a cockatil of meds that finally work but if I don’t catch it just right, it is a ride for sure and then I’m wiped out for a few days after. Praying for you…
geez…i must have one today. look at how i spelled kaleidoscope. good grief.
Oh, goodness. Do you know how terrible I am at spelling? I missed many a recess due to failed spelling tests. Ha ha. I showed them. I hated recess anyway. :p
The aura thing has always frightened me before, especially the first time it happened (I was 8 weeks preggers with #1). This was the first time I actually took a second to observe the flashing. Before, I strained against it and panicked a little. This time, I relaxed. It helped my body to not be so sore the next day.
I’m on the mend. 🙂 Thanks for the prayers, sweet friend.
I’ve found for hallucinations it’s good to keep around a dog (one that others have confirmed really is there). So when a cat or person who really isn’t there walks into the room, you defer to the dog for some kind of reaction. If he doesn’t bark or growl or run at or greet the presence then you pay it no mind and it will soon go away.
See, another reason I need a good, real dog! 🙂
Glad you’re feeling better today, Susie. There should be a special place for folks who have to suffer through those terrible headaches. I never remember beautiful lights or colors first, just flashing sparkly lights and then the pain. I’m thanking God that the Dr. figured out the right medications to help prevent them and for God’s mercy and comfort during them.