To Rhinebeck

It’s been decided! We’ll be there!!! I’m not going to let a little rain or cold keep me away. Even though so many of the friends I look forward to seeing won’t be there, I need the little break. And, believe it or not, I knit a hat for Meli just for the occasion. Not gonna let that opportunity slip by. It may not be a sweater, but hell, it’s something knitted!

But first, I’ll be visiting a Retina Specialist because of a little incident I had yesterday. I was working a lot on the computer, something I haven’t done in a while, and suddenly I had this little spot in my vision that I couldn’t see past. It was like I had stared into a lightbulb or something, but it started getting bigger and then it was all jagged and flashing – think holiday lights on speed – and then bigger and bigger and I swear I was having a stroke. Luckily my mom was helping out with Meli yesterday because I was FREAKED!

And then it was gone.

I think most likely I had an opthalmic migraine. The description on the page I linked to fits the incident exactly. But just to be on the safe side, I’m having it checked out.

Never a dull moment. Hope to see you at the ‘Beck (as G’s taken to referring to it!)


  1. Judith Foldi says:

    I had those several times during the early onset of menopause. Once when I was driving and my 12 year old son helped me get the car off the road. They are VERY scary at first. The light show can go on for quite a while. I learned to anticipate them and lie down till it was over. I haven’t had one for about 15 years now.

  2. i just had one yesterday! i actually get them quite often, and (for me anyway) i attribute them to dehydration. some days i get into the coffee and refuse to drink anything else. those days usually come with an eyeball migraine. yuck. glad you’re better today!

  3. Mine occur the day before my period, and I’ve found acupuncture to decrease the intensity of them, hopefully with continued treatment they will go away eventually!

  4. I had ophthalmic migraines off and on for about two years. They would mostly occur at work when I was in front of the computer too. My ophthalmologist deduced that they were most likely stress related and with no real treatment I haven’t had one in 6 years.
    I’m sure you’ll be fine, but it is freaky!

  5. Wow, I’ve been dealing with these for 2 years. You blog about them, and all sorts of folks chime in that they have them too. It makes me feel less of a freak. 🙂 (well, kinda) I went to see a retinal specialist in a panic but they told me the same thing, optical migraines. I get two kinds: the lightbulb-spot that gets bigger during the day, that sounds like what you described, and the lava-lamp-like lightshow that accompanies insomnia. Both freaky. Good luck!

  6. We need a photo of Meli in her new hat!

  7. Sounds more like (or exactly, actually) aura. I’ve had migraines with aura (and without) since I was a tiny kid. It’s always very troubling, but once you realize what it is, at least you don’t fear your brain is exploding or that you are having a stroke. Most often though they are followed by horrid migraines, so my heart sinks when I get aura. Hildgegard of Bingen was one famous migraine with aura sufferer. Oliver Sacks has a great book, called Migraine, that can give you tons of information. It’s a genetic thing, carried on the mitochondria (therefore matrilineal) and has at least 6 involved genes so far that have been identified.

  8. Like you I wasn’t sure about Rhinebeck this year. It’s not a good weekend for me to be away, but assuming all goes well I should be there for the day tomorrow. Hope to see you and the family wandering around.

  9. As soon as I started reading the description, I thought, “Woot! That’s a visual migraine.” I get them frequently and they are disturbing. I find that if I take aspirin or some other pain-killer as soon as one hits, then the following headache is mild or non-existent.

  10. After reading the other comments, I am not as worried about you as I was when I first read this post. But you are very wise to have it checked out as soon as possible. Eyesight is nothing to mess about with. Have a great time @ Rhinebeck! (as though you would have anything else)

  11. yay! I’m sure meli will like the snow, at least initially. If I see you, I’ll say hi! (sorry, I read your blog often just don’t comment, I’m not just a random person, promise!)

  12. That is the classic B12 deficiency migraine. Ask me how I know. I can take an Anacin and get rid of them if I do it right away. Very annoying!!

  13. I had one of those two years ago, sitting in fornt of the computer. I almost started hyperventilating, it was so unsettling!! I’d never experienced anything like that before, so I called a family member who’s a neurosurgeon and was told it was most probably an opthalmic migraine. Never had it again. Good to have it checked out though.

  14. Yay for Rhinebeck! Wish I could go (the commute from MI is a bit daunting). Boo for weird spots in the vision (but I personally would have lost it. Too many retinal detachments in the family to keep my cool.). But yay for Rhinebeck!

  15. Like Clare, I get those before I get a full-on migraine. I think the sensations are the same thing. My father used to get the visual migraines (never bothering to tell anyone until I started to get migraines, startled my mother). He talked to an ophthalmologist about them, and was told that the difference between that and a headache-bearing migraine is where the pressure in the brain is being created, and it’s only a fraction of an inch apart.

  16. Wow, thanks for posting that link. I knew I got migraines but was confused why the visual symptoms are so overpowering and I didn’t always get a headache. They are very scary – the first one I had I thought was a stroke. Best thing that works for me is big dose of caffeine. Makes them a lot shorter.

  17. Tis indeed a good thing to have checked out, since you’ve never experienced this before. But it does sound very much like an aura, or opthalmic migraine. I have migraine syndrome, both common and classic, and whenever I get an aura I know that I have about 20 minutes before the actual migraine hits. Do take care of yourself!

  18. Have a great time this weekend! I’m not going this year and will miss it. Hope you are feeling better!

  19. I have had them….I call them psychadelic worms. I know that isn’t spelled right. After it’s gone I sometimes get a splitting headache. I don’t consider them migraines tho.
    Hormonal? Who knows. I have two friends that get them too.

  20. I’ve had opthamic migraines for more than 30 years. I would get especially concerned when I got them when I was pregnant. Sometimes after the “light show” is over I am struck with an extremely painful headache, and sometimes I’m not. Either way, I’m not myself again for another 24 hours or more.

  21. I get these all the time. Mine start as a blind spot in the center of my vision, then moves to the periphery and fades over 20 minutes to an hour. Luckily I very rarely get a bad headache after. Been having them since I was 16, my triggers are stress, lack of sleep, or some bizarre change in my usual schedule. Scary the first time it happened, then just annoying for me after that!

  22. Me, too, on the crazy lightshow-for-one (sometimes just one eye, too). I almost never get a headache after and have never had pain during one. I’ve had migraines for about 26 years, but the opthalmic ones didn’t show up until a few years ago. I was afraid I was going to go blind the first couple of times, but they cleared up after 15-20 minutes with no aftereffects, so I don’t worry about them much now. I did have one while driving, which was troubling, but I was able to look “around” the pattern for the few minutes it took it to stop.
    I can’t say “me, too” about Rhinebeck, though I’d love to. Instead, those of us in Florida can only read about your adventures and wish we could go, too.
    Hope you have a terrific time!

  23. Hope you’re having a great time at Rhinebeck.
    I also had similar symptoms and was told by the retina specialist they were ocular migraines. However, I later had a TIA and found out that my platelet count was too high due to a bone marrow disorder, and that seemed to be the cause of my visual systems. Once I started to take an aspirin each day, the symptoms have not recurred (I also take medication to reduce the platelets). So when I hear of someone else with the same symptoms, I like to mention that they might want to have their platelets checked (the test is called a complete blood count).

  24. yeaaa!! i’m so happy you went because then i got to see you 🙂 you look fantastic, btw!! Hope you took home a huge stash, xoxoxo, M

  25. Isn’t it scary when something seems weird with your eyes? I have those flashy things too and they almost lead to a migraine. I’ve been told to keep an eye on them (no pun attended) and if they became too frequent or changed in anyway to seek treatment. Fortunately, they don’t happen too often.
    Lucky you going to Rhinebeck. I’m not good with large crowds and have opted to miss it.

  26. I have also had a few of these incidents.. once I was in the middle of a lesson while student teaching.. the kids faces started looking like picassos! all the features in their faces were in the wrong places! eeks!

  27. Sounds just like a migraine. The first time I got one I thought I was having a stroke. I got them a bunch during my IVF cycles and during different hormonal shifts. I think once you have one you might be more prone to have them again.

  28. Oh man. I’ve had those, along with the headache type of migraines, since I was in college. They suck. It’s like looking through a colorless kaleidoscope, and very disconcerting.

  29. Oh, and I noticed you are reading Time Will Darken It. Isn’t Maxwell a wonderful writer?

  30. I get opthalmic migraines every now and again. The first time it happened I freaked out. For some reason, even though it only lasts a few minutes, it feels like HOURS. Doc said it was likely due to nerves being pinched due to enlarged sinuses.

  31. How’s your eye?

  32. I’ve also had opthalmic migraines for years and like you, the first time I thought I was having a stroke or had a brain tumor! I only have them infrequently and don’t get a headache afterward. The best thing to do is sit or lie down and close your eyes and relax until the light show passes.