Migraines and Fairy Lights

by - July 5, 2013

My migraines don't come with pain - they come with peripheral blindness.  It descends over me in this strange haze that's immediately unsettling and entirely disorienting and leaves me feeling suddenly tired.  My eyes ache - straining against this gated century at the borderline of my vision.  I can't read.  I see only one letter at a time.  I don't see my fingers wiggle when I hold them beside my face.

And every time it frightens me.

Because what if this is the time it doesn't stop?  What if this is the time it pushes further, pressing a cloud across my iris', rendering death upon my pupils?  What if I never see another sunset?  What if this morning was the last time I gazed into the blue of Liam's eyes or dressed myself in the warmth of Noa's smile or caught the humor of Zander's grin or the tenderness of Scott's stare?

I lay still as ice when they pushed me back into the MRI, arms pinned to my side and that giant TICK, TICK, TICK as the circles spun and photographed my brain and everything was grey and I was sure I wasn't dying because I felt so wholly myself...but weren't these machines just for that?  For the dying?  For the catching of the demon who was somehow eating my cerebrum and robbing my baby blues of their view of the world?

And it showed nothing but health.

And I did everything the neurologist asked of me.  I touched my nose and walked the line and described in slow detail every moment and feeling and fear and sensation.

And I was an anomaly.

Because everything I described could define a migraine.

Except I had no pain.

So I suppose I should count myself blessed.

It doesn't linger.  This blindness.  It teases and swells and frightens and dissipates with magic.  Even as I type this I can feel it leaving.  I can already see words as their whole.  I can see where I've misspelled and stumbled - invisible to me in the midst of it and now becoming plain enough to edit before I publish.

Lights start to dance.  That's how I know it's ending.  "Fairy lights," I told the neurologist.  "It's like sparks going off.  Not something I can see...it's more like I can feel the lights...sparkling...?  They twinkle and they're kind of warm and white and yellow.  My eyes feel hot.  They get real bright and then it's over.  You know?"

Of course he didn't know.

But with a clear brain scan and proving myself healthy and relatively sane (minus the talk of fairies)  he can only calm my fears with the label: migraine.


So I'll leave my desk for a moment.  Make a cup of tea.  Close my eyes because they are hot and tired and thank God that when I open them in a few minutes I'll be able to see that pretty red cabinet in the corner, the storm clouds gathering out the window, my wedding photo on the book shelf, the steam curling out of my mug...

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© Alanna Rusnak