3 minute read

The first one I’ve had in almost five years, I think. I used to get one roughly every six months, until my doctor decided that getting my allergies under control would help rid me of the migraines. Weirdly enough, it worked. But the downside of not having had one for so long is that my migraine medication (which was back then one of the new -triptan varieties, which knocked the hell out of my last migraine) has gone totally out of date, and so Did Not Work.

(More below the fold.)

I was lying in bed last night, after class, still wound up and trying to get relaxed enough to fall asleep, watching the beginning of The Triplets of Belleville, which I’ve never managed to catch. And I began slowly to realize that I was having trouble seeing it, as if there were a bad glare on the screen, a spot just below and to the right of whatever point I was looking directly at where the image just disappeared into a neutral background. I picked up a book from my nightstand, and discovered that if I stared at one particular word on a page, and moved a finger around in that spot below and to the right of my point of focus, I could make the tip of my finger disappear entirely.

Still, though, I didn’t recognize this as the aura preceding a migraine, in part because it had been so blessedly long since I’d had one, and in part because in my usual aura, the spot itself is weirdly visible, beginning as a somewhat glowing black spot in my vision, as if I’d caught the reflection of the sun in a mirror or off a passing car, but then growing, and growing more psychedelic, with flashing, waving cilia that take over the major portion of my vision before fading away, giving way to the headache itself.

This one was just nothingness, a void in my vision, and an invisible one at that, as my brain corrected for the missing spot by filling in the color and pattern of whatever I was looking at. So where my fingertip disappeared, moving in front of the page of my book, it appeared that I was seeing paper and print through it.

Freaking out just a tiny bit, I got up to google “blind spot,” wondering if my retina was detaching or something weird like that. But when I tried to read the computer screen, the aura was evident; the screen was impossible to read through the multi-colored overlay flashing in front of it. So I zipped back to bed, hoping to take the medication in time to forestall the headache, hoping that four years out of date was not too out of date for a pill sealed in a plastic-and-foil bubble pack. And if it was too out of date, what else was I going to do? It was midnight, for one thing, and for another, there was no way I could drive anywhere to get a new prescription, and no one I could send in my place.

I took the pill, turned out the light, and waited. The psychedelia was even more prominent in the dark, brightly and distinctly colored streaks (which, don’t ask me why, for a second I was convinced resembled Windows) cutting jaggedly across the blackness. And then the headache, which arrived utterly unmitigated by the drug.

But somehow, blessedly, I feel asleep. The headache is not gone, but what’s with me now is more hangover than migraine, really. I’m still a bit in doubt about how well I’m going to be able to function, so I’m preparing myself for not having my best teaching day ever.

And for calling my doctor. I suppose I just need to suck it up, think of it as disaster preparedness, and keep that prescription from going out of date even if I, god willing, never have to use it again.



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