Usual unusuals & unusual usuals
Completely new here, and very indulgent as i already post without having read more than 2 other stories, i’d like to post this, also as a form of open question, as some details appear to be quite atypical.
Having been subject to severe headaches for as long as i can think, often in forms of vicious, crippling attacks, during which nothing else goes, and which can be driven into the plainly obscene if i’m exposed to bright light or noise of degrees perceived by others as ‘normal’, by me as explosion-level, it might surprise that i never described or even considered myself as a migraine sufferer. Perhaps because migraine is so little understood, and, for my part, because the distinction between attacks and smaller-scale aches isn’t always that clear.
Everything changed this weekend. And pain was, for once, not involved. Sitting in a cafe and writing, i noticed a peculiar spot in the centre of my vision. I first thought i’d looked into some light source and this would be the ‘imprint’ on my retina, but the spot, a bean-shaped thing, stayed and grew. it was ‘prismic,’ i.e. colorless and reflecting, in itself reflecting. It grew and basically wandered toward the outer areas of my vision, though the centre, it’s a little hard to describe, remained impaired. this went on fast, within a matter of minutes i was basically blinded. Out in the streets i had the occasion to watch my right hand before, which seemed peculiarly just ‘next’ to the spot in space where i’d have assumed it. But the light: it was immensely bright, but without causing pain. The closest i get in an attempt to describe it, it was a little as if i was allowed to look into the sun. It remained ‘prismic’, as if reflecting the light from outside and inside itself and seemed therefore to ‘flicker’; a similar effect can be reached when watching a vein of water flow in sunlight. I could vaguely make out my surroundings, but to a degree only that couldn’t be called seeing.
Fearing that i’d suffered a stroke – at first i’d thought i was going blind – i had someone calling an ambulance and was brought into hospital and while the diagnosis of a probable migraine attack with aura has meanwhile been made and i recognize the visual impressions as aura, during the examination at the hospital something occurred for which i have so far found no relating reports.
At a very distinct point the voice of the examining doctor turned weird. Somehow weird. The next second this ‘weird’ turned grotesque: both her voice and that of someone else pushing me in a wheelchair to the CT would for some time sound like this: pick a voice from a cartoon character, splice the sound into hundreds of very short segments, re-arrange them completely at random, perhaps even ‘turn them around’, then replay – but sped up. In short, speech became utterly incomprehensible and absurd, and all i could do was repeatedly apologizing, ‘i’m sorry, but i don’t understand what you’re saying. I hear that you’re speaking, but i don’t understand what you’re saying.’
It’s hard to tell for how long this went on, i’d guess, also from later reconstruction with the help of the personnel, that it were several minutes. It was then over very sudden, and with it the strange, bright visual disturbances went as well.
I haven’t found anything similar to the auditorily distortions. i’d possibly be fine with an explanation attributing this effect rather to my distress and thus being of purely psychological nature. It felt very connected, however.
The aura was of constant motion. at one point, when asked to look into the doctor’s face, i thought the ‘reflections’ formed ‘independent’ oval darts of light, particularly in the peripheries. there was color, but it was of the sort one would expect as ‘secondary’ from a prisma. There were no ‘wall-‘ or ‘castle-‘shapes.
The whole episode went completely without pain. in fact, the days following offered me for the first time in a very, very long while indeed a pain-free time. And though i didn’t experience any sense of ecstasy during the event – i should stretch that i was a little preoccupied with worry – the first 2 days after, very probably also because of the absence of pain, i felt light.
If an aura-attack occurs for me like this, so totally without pain, i won’t be frightened next time, in retrospective it was fascinating.
I acquired Oliver Sacks’ 1st book, ‘Migraine,’ yesterday, and will read it now.
Since last night some of my headaches have returned, so far not in form of a real attack.
This would be it, my first account. i’d be very interested whether anyone ever experienced the above mentioned irregularities. And i’ll be reading other accounts now.
I wish everyone a good week without pain – without pointy hammers and sharp edges, as i call them.