Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm In A Place Called Vertigo

Well, this is a new one.

I have gotten migraines on a fairly regular basis since I was in my mid-20s. Luckily, they follow a predictable pattern. They usually hit around what Liz Lemon's crew on 30 Rock call "the woman times" and I am one of those good people who sees an aura before the attack. If you've never been a victim of this wild neurological wonder, an aura is when a migraneur sees flashing lights or other visual freakiness for a half hour or so before the pain hits. My aura starts tiny, right in the middle of my field of vision, and over the course of about 15 minutes spreads out to my peripheral vision. Look at a bottle cap some time--see the little scallopy pattern of its edges? That's the pattern my aura takes. Now, imagine that as a bright white light that flashes a couple of times a second. That's my warning to take medicine or else.

The pain itself is mild to moderate and pulses behind my right eye. Usually Excedrin takes the edge off; sometimes I have to take a prescription medicine in the Imitrex family and go to bed for a few hours. In a couple of days, I am generally back to normal with nothing more than a little lingering nausea to remind me of my vascular abnomalities. No harm, no foul.

But this week I am battling something new, and though what I've read online leads me to believe it's normal with some migraines, it's scaring the daylights out of me.

I feel...well, tipsy. Like I've knocked back a few. Which, unfortunately, I haven't.

When I move my head, it takes a little while for the room to catch up with my eyes. If I bend down, or look up, I have a moment where I feel for the first time I know what it means to "swoon." The scariest was when I was driving home from my mom's yesterday after going for a run (sounds nuts, but sometimes getting a good cardio workout knocks the migraine out) and I felt myself losing focus on the road, almost as if I was going to lose consciousness.

I almost went to the ER, and I don't take going to the ER lightly. I am very much a "wait and see" person; if waiting sees the swelling of an injury go down, or the pain to lessen, or the heart rate to calm, I can talk myself out of it. It may kill me someday, but so far it's kept me out of the ER as a patient since I was 15 years old and wrecked my bike and broke the fall with my face.

My wonderful prescription medication brought the world back into focus, though I feel it creeping out a little as I write early this morning. My doctor's office doesn't open until 9, so until then, I am just riding the wave and trying to walk a straight line in front of our students (thankfully we have some testing going on in here now, and it's quiet and I can hide at my desk.)

If you've ever experienced anything like this and can put my whirling mind at ease until I can get professional help, I'm all ears. But not all eyes, 'cause I can't get them to focus on anything long enough.

1 comment:

Mrs. Rob K said...

Well, I have vertigo - I don't recommend waiting it out. Mine turned out to be related to tendency for my blood to form tiny tiny clots.