Chapter 1: A Little History Will Do Us Good (digital recorder)
I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll go from the beginning. At least the beginning that’s worth telling, amigo. My name is Jeremy. -pause- Okay, its October 4th and I’m telling my story because I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to, and I figure the cops and the docs will prolly want to study the shit out of it, assuming something happens (which I think is getting pretty likely).
Sorry, thought I’d get a drink from the kitchen. First time trying to talk into one of these things. But anyways, here goes. (pause)
Third grade was a nasty experience for me. That’s the year of my first migraine. Happened during class, actually, although I’d be lying if I could remember what we were doing in class when it got me (I’ve since thought of migraines as something that comes to get you, and I now think that wasn’t entirely to far from the truth). As a matter of fact, I can’t remember a whole lot about the before, during, or after of most of the migraines that came for me. So, according to my mother (who had to leave work to get me) we went to a clinic where they gave me a pricker of morphine, and then some more for good measure. She may be exaggerating at this point but I’ll tell you anyways: they put me out for 26 hours. Maybe true, maybe not. Couldn’t tell you one way or the other, I don’t remember any of it.
Well, that isn’t exactly true, who am I kidding. I do remember the pain and the light show. I suppose most people who try to explain the feeling of pain end up saying that it is White Searing Pain ( and they’ll also say it feels like Red Hot Pokers), but I’ve never seen the color of pain, or been jabbed with a hot poker. So, amigo (and you amigas), this is how I’ll describe the feeling of a migraine: my head gets hot and it feels like everything from my forehead to the back of my skull is trying to swell. The actual physical pain is a constant dull drone, punctuated by the throb of my blood vessels as the heart pumps. As the migraine intensifies, the pain gets heavier, and my head hotter. Even moving my eyes is a no-no, because the muscles that pull my eyes from side to side seem to be pulling the brain from left to right. The swelling takes on a liquid feel, like a water balloon that is just about to burst (even now, when a migraine is getting a hold of me, I think if I just had a needle, I could stick it into my temple and suck the poison juice right off my brain. Good thing there’s never a needle around when I’m thinking this, or I’m sure I would have given that theory a chance).
Now, now. I know it sounds like your average whopper of a headache, but wait, I haven’t even gotten to the psychedelic mind fuck that starts the whole shebang. Not to mention the nauseating dead feeling that comes over parts of my body while the migraine is going to town on my eyeballs. My doctor calls it "Migraine With Aura" and it even sounds capitalized when he says it too, like it’s the all important description. (pause)I guess that means I’m not the only one to have the visual aura of a migraine, but I wonder if anyone else has ever seen the things I’ve started seeing. Let me google it quick.
Nothing on google, although there were some paintings by migraine victims of that nasty aura my doctor talks about. I got sick to my stomach just looking at them. But they are pretty good.
Anyways, sorry about getting off subject like that. Basically the first sign of "migraine with aura" is the almighty aura. It’s a phantom vision, I guess. When it first happens to me, I suddenly can’t tell depth. Lets say I’m in my living room (which I am) and I’m looking at the TV(which I am, its on mute, this recorder was a great idea). When the aura hits, it feels like the TV is suddenly within reach, and sometimes I try to swat it. Then I blink, and it looks like the TV is even farther away than the walls are (doesn’t make sense, I’m sure, but that’s exactly how it feels). That sensation lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes.That’s the prelude to the migraine; when the clock starts to tick. All my life, as soon as I noticed that " breathing wall" sensation, I knew I had about 10 minutes before the shit really hit the fan.
The actual migraine is a light show that goes off in my eyes and in my head. The lights are more like zigzagging lines that are the shape of the moon (god’s fingernail). And they flash. That is the worst. You can’t try to ignore them because they flash and flash. Until all you can look at is the flashing lines. They grow too. After awhile all you can see is the flash. Imagine the moon getting bigger, and all you can see is the ring around it, and inside there is only darkness.
(pause) That’s wrong. Inside is nothingness. (pause) At least I thought so.(pause)
The placing of the aura in my vision is fixed, even as it expands. Lets say that the light show is stuck to the right side of my direct vision. Anywhere I look, it stays to the right. As a matter of fact, I think it basically just eats up all of my peripheral sight until I can only see what I’m looking straight at. When It expands all the way and leaves a cloud of emptiness behind, it’s almost impossible to see anything, and if I need to walk I stumble around because I can’t tell what is to my right or my left or below or above me. Its even worse if I have to drive. Its like putting handcuffs on my eyeballs.
During that part of the episode, the numbness that I mentioned starts to settle in. And it rarely ever strikes the same place twice in a row. Its nothing like when your leg falls asleep, and there is no unbearable tickling sensation like that either. I call it numbness because that’s probably the first word that ever came to mind. Honestly, it feels like that area doesn’t exist anymore when it gets grabbed by the migraine. Just gone. Sometimes it will be my wrist, other times it’ll be the side of my head. Or my wrist and my hand. Once, it got inside my throat. After gagging a few times, I figured out that I just had to consistently clear my throat to keep saliva from falling into my lungs. That one was bad. Occasionally it gets my tongue, too. And by the time I realize it, I’ve bitten my tongue a few times, and hard.(long pause)
I take it back about it rarely ever striking twice in a row. Although it picks and chooses my limbs, it always gets my ears, and my hearing. It doesn’t mean I can’t hear, but its like my mind can’t tell where the sound is coming from. And the sounds all feel very alien and almost too strange to decipher. But that could be my brain misfiring (I think). I start slurring my words and even say them backwards. I also feel like that’s the most rational way to speak, like I’m the only one that makes sense. Then starts the headache. (pause)
The headache. At least with the headache I know the worst is over or is coming to an end. The entire aura lasts from 45 minutes to about two hours. The headache starts about ten minutes before the fireworks stop and can last for about two days. I can live with that. But let me tell you, during those episodes, I’ve tried to strike deals with the devil and God himself. Shit, I offered up crazy sacrifices to make the aura stop and stop for good. Even now, without a migraine roaring away, I’d give up my left hand if either God or the devil promised to make the migraines disappear forever. Especially now. Just give me a sharp knife and I’ll do it myself. Most people kid around about crap like that, but I’m not joking.
But, yeah, I know. Why not take some prescriptions. And I did, when the migraines first got me(my mom made me). They helped for awhile, but I think those migraines figured a way around them. And now a days, I promise myself that as soon as I get another one, I’ll head straight to the clinic. But I’m a good liar, at least to myself.
See, migraines also create hopelessness. At least while I’m in one. I even start to rationalize the migraine, looking for things I did recently that would make me deserve one. And usually, I can find a good reason, too. At least I think so at the time. I guess that means I’ve got battered wife syndrome. The migraine wins every time. And every time, I start to question my sanity. Could a migraine be a prelude to the crazies? (pause)Just googled it. No reports of crazies there. (pause) Then that means everything is real.(long pause) Aw, fuck. I’m gonna chew on this some more. I’m turning off the recorder for the night. Gonna spend some time on my thoughts. Over and Out. (sigh)
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