This week, I thought my studying brought on some weird hypochondriasis.
I was being the cool cat that I am studying neuroanatomy and neurology stuff and feeling like I am finally starting to make some progress in my figuring out where certain presentations originate in the central nervous system, when this image of the brain seemed out of focus.
So did some of the side margin boxes. And the next picture of a brain.
I stared at it confused.
Then I looked around the room.
I have complex migraines, that can include a slight diplopia (double vision) and other symptoms (unilateral facial paresthesias, scotoma) so getting a slight amount of altered vision from time to time isn’t the most crazy thing to happen. The issue is that it didn’t feel like my usual aura and when I looked up, the vision change went away.
I looked back down and it was still weird looking.
It isn’t like I was studying for a long time (this particular episode… If you factor in my million years of schooling, then it is obvious I have ben studying for a long time).
Then, it hit me.
I was having a stroke.
No. That was definitely not it, although strangely enough that was the topic of this particular chapter – cerebral bloodflow and stroke presentations.
There was some sort of printing error in my book. As a result, a few images were blurred. Not enough to make them useless, but enough to make the reader crazy.
I showed Patrick to confirm and he has the same confused reaction.
It makes me wonder how people can exist with the changes in function due to a stroke and not report to medical attention. I mean, if you can’t see right, something must be wrong?
My mind has been blown on this service by the number of people with acute stroke who chill at home waiting for things to get better. Even when it isn’t their first stroke. Time=brain, people!
And yet, I get it. Because in this case, there was something else to blame. We look for that something. Anything that is less scary even if, at times, it is less plausible. We hope the problem just goes away. Sometimes we make it worse when we wait on things like that.
The scary part is that I used this same textbook to study neuro in med school and I only very vaguely remember this problem. I think I realized the pages were blurry because of printing, but it isn’t a clear memory.
In retrospect, that was before my migraines were controlled, so it wasn’t unusual for me to have an aura in which I couldn’t see proprerly, so maybe I just chaulked it up to my weird brain. Or maybe I blamed it on too much reading. Or maybe I just wasn’t paying that much attention (although the highlighting on the page tells me otherwise).
Clearly, I need to learn my own lesson and pay attention both to my body and my books.
This also brings to mind a song that was popular this summer that I quite disliked, except for this version by Jimmy Fallon and The Roots…