Posts Tagged 'migraine aura'

The Power Of Suggestion

“Have you had a Visual Field test before?” said Sahid the cheery optometrist, as he carefully placed my giant handbag out of harm’s way. I’d ended up in his chair clutching an ophthalmology referral letter, after a conversation with a very quietly spoken young doctor about migraine aura earlier in the day seemed to have got out of hand.

“Erm, yes…I think so…is the visual field test the one with the flashing lights and you stick your head in a booth?”

“Aye, that’s the one”, said Sahid. I must warn you, though, it’s really boring…REALLY boring. Isn’t it Tracey?”

“Uh huh. It’s boring”, replied Tracey as she handed me a fetching black eye patch to cover one eye for the test. I had a fleeting impulse to say “Ah haar, shiver me timbers”, in my best pirate voice to liven things up, but I reckoned they’d have heard that one before. I concentrated instead on trying not to catapult the hearing aid at Tracey as I stretched the elastic of the pirate patch over my ears.

Next, Tracey gave the chin rest on the booth such a good going over with a disinfectant wipe, that I began to wonder who had been in previously. I placed my outstretched chin on the damp patch and we were off.

“Here’s your clicker, just press it when you see a light” said Tracey. Clicker? Ah, I was in my element now. I set about clicking with great vigour. After about twenty clicks, I realised I hadn’t had this particular test before and it seemed to be going on for a long time. I kept myself amused by aiming for the fastest response time they’d ever seen in a Visual Field test. After about forty clicks, a slight touch of boredom began to creep in right enough, and I was getting trigger happy with the clicker on the bits with no lights. I hoped this wouldn’t affect the results. I could hear Tracey sipping a cup of tea behind me and reckoned I’d be needing a tea break soon myself. Finally, the first eye was done. How LONG did that take, I thought, my train ticket home was going to be out of date if it kept up like this. I pulled the eye patch round on to the other eye and began again.

Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Click…………Click. Flash. God this WAS boring. My mind was beginning to wander to my Moussaka For One portion in the fridge at home, and the last Mr Kipling’s French Fancy (a pink one) in the cake tin. Yum. All washed down with a nice chilled glass of wine in front of MasterChef on the telly. I was losing the battle to stay in the here and now with the Visual Field test machine.

“It’s trying to wear me down”, I said to Tracey through clenched teeth, forgetting my chin had no room for manoeuvre on the chinrest. Please let it finish soon, I mouthed silently into the void. Suddenly, three loud beeps announced that my wish had been granted.

“All done”, said Tracey, “Sahid will give you the results in a minute. How did you find that?”

“Boring, really boring”, I said, thankful that it was.

Long Weekend

It was the start of the long awaited mid-term holiday weekend on Saturday, and I tumbled out of bed in a strange state of hysterical euphoria, a condition which I attributed to the lingering effects of the previous night’s cava consumption. I eagerly packed my bag for the planned trip to the Buteshack, while the spouse checked the weather forecast and loaded the car.

An hour later, the true cause of the euphoria revealed itself, as my commentary on all the strange place names on the motorway signs in the vicinity of Greenock was interrupted by a sudden inability to read.

“…Fancy Farm…I mean, what kind of a place is that?” I pontificated, “…and what’s that one over there…oh no, my eyes have gone funny.”

The right half of my field of vision had disappeared in the familiar start of a migraine attack. I turned to the spouse, who now only had one eye, and warned him that we had precisely 30 minutes until my total collapse.

“Why does this only ever happen when I’m on holiday, why can’t it ever be on a work day?” I whined miserably.

“Dunno, but for god’s sake try not to be sick in the car”, came the reply.

In the queue at the ferry terminal, the blind spot gradually gave way to a jagged stroboscopic display of flashing lights, and I felt the first wave of nausea. Heeding the spouse’s words, I reached for the giant garden plant pot on the back seat and pulled it a little closer just in case.

Stop the world I want to get off

Rotating Snakes Illusion by Akiyoshi Kitaoka

I have been lying low for a couple of days after having a nightmare trip back from Bute at the weekend. My body’s latest fiendish trick is to give me a migraine without the usual visual aura, so that I think it’s just a normal headache until it’s too late.

We were driving onto the ferry when the tell-tale tingling limbs and nausea struck. Once on board, I slumped, panting and sweating into the nearest seat and attempted to sever sensory contact with the outside world in order to hang onto my stomach contents. Since sight and sound are both now detachable, this is much easier than it used to be and the passenger lounge telly was sent packing. Unfortunately a major setback occurred when I briefly opened my eyes during a commercial break. An innocuous pack shot of a drain-unblocking thingy called ‘Turbo Snake’ flashed up, followed by a graphic film sequence of a big slimy hairball being dragged out of a plughole. I felt my stomach heave, and in a startling premonition of what was to come for me later, the hairball sequence was swiftly followed by a Turbo Snake demonstration of some distressing fishing about in the U-bend of a toilet.

The next hour and a half has been erased from my memory, but the spouse is not so lucky. The memory of driving his sickly wife up the motorway, cursing the person who designed airholes in the bottom of plastic bags, will stay with him for a long time.


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