I went blind twice today. I was in front of my computer when it started to go the first time. It always starts off with a blind spot. Just a tiny area of my vision that gets distorted by the flashing rainbow lights. It looks like glitter. To anyone that doesn’t know what this is like, it’s very similar to being partially blinded by a reflection of the sun. A sun spot, some people call it. Sometimes I mistake those for the beginning of my blindness, but the test is to shut my eyes for a moment and if the light is dancing, then the process has commenced.
There’s a ritual that I must follow very carefully to avoid bumping into things and getting sick:
1) Eat something. Anything. This serves to protect my stomach for what I am about to ingest.
2) Ingest two Excedrin Migraine tablets. Each tablet contains 250mg Acetaminophen (Tylenol), 250mg Aspirin and 65mg caffeine. Caffeine is the key and also the curse because it doesn’t help with the next step at all.
3) Fall asleep. Falling asleep usually isn’t a problem, but this time was a little different. I had to take the dog on a quick walk before my hibernation, while the blindness was setting in, so she wouldn’t wake me up to go out. This raised my heart rate. Couple that with the fact that caffeine also raises my heart rate and you’ll understand why it was a little difficult to go to sleep.
I was in and out of sleep over the next two hours. At one point, after my vision was nearly completely impaired by the wall of glittery lights, which I also experience with my eyes closed, it just went away. I was suddenly staring at blackness again. This is usually the time when the migraine sets in, but it didn’t. I opened my eyes, just to make sure. I could see and my head wasn’t pounding. Weird.
Okay, I thought, I’ll give it a few minutes and then it’s sure to set in. I closed my eyes again, disparately trying to relax and fall asleep to avoid the inevitable pain I was about to experience. A few minutes pass and I started feeling a little pain in the back of my head, but it certainly was no headache. I opened my eyes again. My vision was blurry from my eyes being shut and then I noticed something. Glittery lights, again! I immediately started to panic. In all of the years that I have had migraines, I have never gone blind twice. There’s always been a pattern. It was like clockwork. My heart rate jumped as the possibilities ran through my head:
1) I hope a neighbor is home to take me to the hospital, because I may need to go soon.
2) What if my head explodes?
3) What if this is actually an aneurism?
4) I would rather have a migraine.
I focus on relaxation. I closed my eyes and stared as the dancing lights took over the blackness. I slipped into a light sleep. It was probably around 7:30pm.
I woke up to darkness. The sun had set and the clock said 10:04pm. My head hurt. It was the migraine hangover that I’m accustomed to. Laughing hurts, sneezing is worse and coughing could be the death of me. Bending over, causing blood to rush to my head, is excruciating. Avoiding all of the above is a must for the next 24 hours. My stomach was empty and I felt like I’d been on speed. I kept clenching my jaw. The caffeine. I slowly got out of bed and headed for the kitchen. It was time for dinner.