So, my last post was a pretty good example of one of my weirder migraine symptoms, so I might as well go and explain them now.
Migraines, effectively, cause a tonne of unusual electrical and vascular activity in the brain, and along with that come weird symptoms, not just pain (pain is pretty much a given) but also a medley of other stuff that’s described as “Aura”. The classic symptoms are visual disturbance, nausea, confusion (of the drunk-acting kind), dizziness and eventually vomiting.
I’m lucky, in not getting the vomiting or nausea (A sodding miracle, since I get carsick on chairs with castors) but instead I get really weird; First, there’s the visual disturbance, which sometimes tips over into either unilateral blindness (One deactivated eye, usually on the opposite side to the pain, but not always) or complete blindness with the interesting caveat that the problem is obviously not in the optic nerve, it’s in the signal processing, because I can still do things like catch thrown objects or bat people away from waving at my face. Which I want to experiment with properly, at some point.
The other really weird side effect is aphasia – I forget how to talk. I can understand other people, and sometimes nod or shake my head, but even that’s quite difficult. It’s a completely bizarre feeling, like having an incredibly severe speech impediment – I have an intermittent stutter, but aphasia feels like a normal block drawn out to being the whole sentence instead of just a partial syllable or a word. When I was about thirteen, and having an aphasic attack in the presence of one of my teachers, he had a brilliant idea; “Can you say things in a foreign language?”
I started with Latin – I could repeat chunks of doggerel, proving that there was nothing wrong with my vocal coordination. Next step was German, with which I could explain myself fairly well.
Speech, in English, comes back slowly – Composing whole sentences in my head, then firing them out all at once, then gradually returning to having natural speech. Very strange.
Since then, during some of my migraines, the problem of having to find me a translator has become something that my friends are quite prepared for, and likewise for my having to find a language that works with the nearest translator (I’ve ended up speaking French, filling in the words I didn’t know in French with Japanese ones, and having two people conferring to work out what I was saying, then passing the results on to the intended listener) but at least it’s a coping strategy. It obviously works better in a silent migraine than a full one, since with full-on migraine pain I am generally curled up and whimpering, which is the same in most languages.
So, yes. Yesterday’s post was a good example of the phasing-in of aphasia; Losing some English words and sentence structures, and not really noticing it, so just filling up the gaps with German, as I’ve been teaching myself to do since I was a teenager.
Also, migraines are horrible, and this one is still continuing. My record longest was twenty three days, give or take a few hours, and this one had better be shorter than that, since I have plans.