Thursday, August 11, 2011

Unplanned Visit to the ER

Today started out like any day. Up at 5:30 to workout with E. Home by 6:45 to make the mister his coffee and pack his lunch. Breakfast for me-two scrambled eggs covered in El Yucateco, a slice of Food For Life 7 Sprouted Grains bread with roasted pecan almond nut butter, and a cup of coffee. Then shower, to school to retrieve two files from my work computer-for my Masters' portfolio that was due at 4:30 today-, to the Teacher's Store, and finally to Office Max where I needed to buy sheet protectors for that same Masters' work.

And that's where it started. I figured I had looked at the light outside too directly. You know how you get those spots on your eyes after looking at the sun or something bright? It was kind of like that...well...except it was on both eyes. And it was in motion.

I paid for my items and made my way to my car--blinking repeatedly. Am I just being silly? Is this just a sun spot?

I drove towards the direction to go home when I realized this spottiness in my eyes was getting worse-more all-encompassing. I flipped through a parking lot and headed to the mister's work (which happened to be about a mile away, thank goodness).

These were not just sun spots. These were clear-ish. Like puddles on my eyes. Dancing puddles. Dancing puddles that refracted around the edges of this shape, on both eyes, open and shut.

And it seemed as if they were growing. I couldn't see clearly. Signs were blurred, cars were blurred. I shouldn't have been driving.

When I got inside the building the mister was working on I didn't really know what to say. "Something's not right." That's the first thing that came out. As I explained to him what was going on, in between my tears, he tore off his tool belt and told the two guys he was working with that he had to go.

We made it to the Emergency Room a little after 11. After explaining to the admissions nurse what was happening I was taken for a blood pressure check by a very snotty 'nurse' or whatever. She made me feel even worse for being there. I was in the ER, I wasn't having an emergency, just a very scary situation for me. I had to explain the story again and after each question I seemed to exhaust her with my answers. And by this time, the spot was gone from my right eye and only in the corner of my left eye. Great. I'm wasting precious time for other people.

Thank goodness for the first nurse in my room, Jen. She was as sweet as could be, concerned, and funny--that helped. I explained what happened for a third time, with the caveat, "I know this is going to sound crazy," but she assured me it wasn't and said she had seen what I saw--it had happened to her before.

The PA came in next with her laptop full of questions, to which I explained the story a fourth time. She checked my ears, throat, and eyes. She dilated each eye separately, made me squeeze her fingers, and made me follow her finger around with my eyes and then my finger.

She gave me the same diagnosis as Nurse Jen.

Next came the doctor. She did all the same grab-the-fingers-dilate-the-eyes things that the PA did. She even shared that I have really good eyes, great nerves. Thankfully she'd heard the story and around 3:00 basically said it was most likely an "Ocular Migraine" (which I found out later is actually called an Ophthalmic Migraine).

But I had no headache. I had no pain whatsoever.

An ocular migraine doesn't work like a regular migraine. I did some reading up on them tonight and found one very helpful site.

Basically, "Ophthalmic (eye) migraines are quite common and often painless, although the solo term "migraine" usually brings to mind a severe type of headache.But with eye-related migraines, visual disturbances with or without headache pain also can accompany migraine processes thought to be related to changes in blood flow in the brain."

And this is how the author Marilyn Haddrill described it, "People with ocular migraines can have a variety of visual symptoms. Typically you will see a small, enlarging blind spot (scotoma) in your central vision with bright, flickering lights (scintillations) or a shimmering zig-zag line (metamorphopsia) inside the blind spot. The blind spot usually enlarges and may move across your field of vision. This entire migraine phenomenon may end in only a few minutes, but usually lasts as long as about 20-30 minutes."


I thought about what might have caused this...ahem, Aunt Flo (hormone changes)...but it could have easily been triggered by the fact I sat at the computer for at least 10 hours yesterday working on my portfolio.

I'm so thankful it was harmless. I feel very lucky to be healthy. It was very scary to lose my vision. My head swirled with what could happen if this was something permanent. I feel lucky and blessed. I'm glad to be home.


  1. Yikes! That would have scared the crap out of me! Glad it was nothing too "serious."

  2. Just saw this! Glad you're ok, lady!!

  3. yikes and wow I would have been scared.

  4. I get these too!! The first time I got them I kept trying not to freak out but it was VERY weird! I was trying to stay after school for and IEP and everyone kept saying go home go home. On the way home I was so scared. I called my eye doctor and got right in. She checked me out and sent me to the family who had to give me a shot in the but cuz by then with all the panic I did get the full blown migraine. YUCK!! They still scare me because I never know when a real headache will follow or not.
    You poor girl. Now when it happens I immediately take Motrin and look for a dark room.
    Good Luck!
    Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher