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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Off kilter

Flashing lights fluttered in the edge of my vision. Self-tests showed that the lights appeared in the far right of my vision when I had either eye open alone - suggesting the brain as the source rather than an eye problem. I gave it a few minutes, thinking that the weirdness would pass, but it didn't. My husband called a nurse's hotline provided by our insurance - her order, and I do mean *order*, was to call 911 asap. Given the relatively remote place that we live and the nurse's urgent warnings, we decided to drive straight to the ER. Meanwhile, my vision went back to normal as rapidly as it had gone haywire - adding up to about 20 minutes of crazy vision. At the ER, a CAT scan showed no dramatic underlying culprit, like an ongoing stroke or a tumor - so that's good news. Now I start the follow-ups, the search for why. But, most of all, I feel shaken to the core. I've had more than my share of health problems but my brain has never gone haywire. That's scary. And, the thought that I can't rely on my brain to work smoothly makes my stomach churn.

The doc said that there was no reason for restricted activity so I rode my mountain bike this morning, albeit with unusual tentativeness. My world felt out of kilter, almost like it might suddenly tilt and toss me off my bike. I didn't feel my usual joyfulness over the details of nature. I just rode, seeking to feel normal and safe. K joined me at the beginning, and she seemed wired - fake-chasing a small deer herd traversing a hogback, accelerating after squirrels, and crazily sprinting through snowdrifts sending wet snow flying into the air. She bordered on manic - so perhaps my sensitive girl was picking up on my angst.The morning was sun-soaked and warm. Butterflies flitted in pairs, flies buzzed, innumerable hummingbirds trilled overhead, and new bird songs wafted out of the pine forest. Swallows and mountain bluebirds vied for a nestbox and let me get closer than usual as they fenced with each other.The swallows maneuvered like fighter jets, swooping around my head. It seemed like about 6 tree swallows and one bluebird pair all wanted to claim the one nestbox. Maybe I should put up some more.A new wildflower bloomed on a sun-baked south-facing hillside. While I photographed and examined it, I realized that, in my absorption with the flower (a Twinpod, I think), I'd briefly felt like myself. I'll find my inner peace again - soon, I hope. For the moment, I'm trying to appreciate the things that I love.


  1. Yikes - I hope you feel back on kilter soon, and I hope that it turns out to be nothing serious!

  2. How scary! I'm glad so far it doesn't look like anything big. Have you ever had migraines? I see silver sparkling things on the edges of my vision before a bad headache hits.

  3. How frightening! I hope they can pinpoint the cause and that it is something simple.

    Glad you are not letting it keep you down. Great photos.

  4. Thanks to all of you for your support. And, for your nice comments about the photos.

    Roxanne - A migraine was the most benign possibility that the ER doc mentioned. I do get intense headaches (never with visual special effects) but my docs have assumed that they're caused by my neck problems. The other night, I didn't get a headache with the vision craziness. I just checked out the Mayo clinic website and 'ocular migraines' are not uncommon - where people get visual symptoms that sound similar to mine and last for 10-30 min (same as mine) but no headache. I have a bevy of doctor appointments for next week, and I'll be sure to bring up this possibility. Thanks!


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