You're at the sink doing dishes or getting some water when you notice something doesn't look right. Look at the clock, it takes a while to read. It is 12:06. Look at the floor, look at your hands - something is definitely wrong with your optic chiasm or lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) or visual cortex, in general. Driving suddenly sounds like an awful idea. Plans for errands, lunch at Bread Co and a quick run are out. You’re hungry - maybe that’s it. Throw together a quick ham sandwich and have a glass of water. Eat quickly to get some energy. You sit at your computer to pass some time, to digest and breathe (maybe you forgot to), but it’s impossible to read through what looks like a broken camera lens, shattered across the upper 90, blurry, with bright points of pastel running along the cracks - the whole right of your visual field distorted and nauseating.
You close your right eye, but nothing changes. It is some sort of error beyond the optic nerve. There’s nothing to do now but wait. Quickly, you put the ham and mayo back in the fridge, scoop up the dog and head to the bedroom, stopping on the way (experience) to lift the seat of the toilet. Your right shoulder bangs against the door frame. You’re clumsy now, be careful with the dog. Set the dog on the bed. Change into pajamas, awkwardly. Close blinds, pull the curtains, slam the doors. You lay, pillow over head, dog nuzzled in your side, with blankets. You Wait.
Within minutes a small point of pain develops in what feels like the lower, middle part of your brain. It is just left of center. A concentrated, shooting pain. As if your LGN is calling out to explain the problem with the right side of your visual field. A sequence of pain, numb, pain, and numb. Then it shrieks.
This isn’t the worst migraine. It isn’t one that consumes your entire head, but it is far from pleasant. You writhe. You wish for sleep. You try little tricks to soothe. You masticate (maybe the old TMJ triggered it?) you hum loudly, hoping to vibrate the small part of your brain that is screaming - Nothing. Different pitches – Nothing. Your dog wakes up, confused. You stop. It is time to lay still and wait with whatever will block out the most light over your head. Thank God it is quiet.
Thank God you’re at home.
You wait for the nausea. Maybe this time will be different. Maybe this time you won’t vomit. That ham sandwich was delicious. You didn’t eat White Castle for years after that One Time. It would be a shame for a pesky migraine and uncontrollable vomit to ruin future ham sandwiches.
You wait for what seems longer than usual. Maybe you won’t vomit (mental high five). The dog changes position which seems like a good enough idea so you, too, roll onto your side. The liquid in your stomach shifts. Instant mouth watering, denial. Pillow off head, denial. More saliva, blankets off. Acceptance. Four long strides to the bathroom...
(This paragraph left as an exercise for the reader)
Rinse. Wash face. Towel off. Back to bed.
(Repeat previous 2 paragraphs 4 times)
You sleep, finally. You wake up and feel, off. Not much pain, but there is an aura, almost. At the least it is Just Not Right. You imagine this is what it feels like right before a seizure. Should you call someone? No. Just try to sleep.
For the next few days you feel like a small part of your brain has a tremendous hangover while the rest of your brain is saying, “WTF?” You order a ham sandwich from the deli and it is delicious.