Dear Visual and Psychological Perceptions,
It has been a long time since I’ve addressed either of you. Visual Perception, I’d like to comment that I do not appreciate the distortions to my visual field during a migraine incident. It is really difficult to drive during an attack, and you should have gone away years ago–or at least abated. Additionally, perspective changes due to astigmatism in both eyes is really getting on my nerves. It really is hard to draw when I have to question every single stroke of my pencil because you keep changing the focal point of my subject.
Psychological Perception, it would be really nice if you stopped making me question every word that is spoken to me in the wrong tone of voice, or if the words used by another cause me to question what was meant by those words.
Thank you very much for your cooperation in this matter.
I can do nothing about your migraine perceptions; you have what’s called an aura. Just be grateful that you rarely get the accompanying brain-splitting headaches any more.
As for the astigmatism, start wearing those special contact lenses more often. Use more eye drops during the day. Get over losing your reading glasses every five minutes by buying or making one of those eyeglass holder chains people wear around their neck–the ones that attach to the arms of your glasses.
Get over yourself. Unless you said something that was offensive to another person, stop worrying about what others say or think about you. Chances are pretty good they just said what they mean the wrong way, which is how you took it. You know what it’s like to have the wrong words come out of your mouth; try assuming that’s what is happening to others. What do you care what other people think about you anyway? At age 65, you are who you are, and lots of people love you anyway.
Dear Visual Perception,
OK. You are right on about the contact lenses. I’ll start putting them in more regularly tomorrow–especially if I’m concentrating on drawing with any hope of approximating accuracy.
But I really do think I’m too old to still have the migraine aura. Is there nothing you can do?
Glad you like the suggestion about the contact lenses. Don’t forget the reading glasses holder, though.
About the aura, most women stop seeing one–and stop having the headaches–after menopause. But some women continue with migraine symptoms for many years beyond. You’re probably one of the latter. You react to almost all your drugs with paradoxical effects, so maybe your auras are also due to some paradoxical problem. If it’s really bothering you that much, talk to a neurosurgeon. Your husband is a mere neuroscientist. Although he probably knows the brain better than many neurosurgeons, he could still be wrong about non-lesion or non-tumor brain malady. A nice MRI or CT scan of your head is probably long overdue anyway. You haven’t had one for at least 10 years–maybe longer. Talk it over with your eye doctor. Be proactive, not reactive. You know the score.
Best wishes for a great eye exam and brain scan,
Dear Psych P.,
You’re right, of course–on all counts. But do you think that my visual distortions are part of the same neuromechanisms that cause my visual perception problems? Were you copied on Visual’s emails to me? I’m not 25 any more. Might I benefit from a brain scan for you, too?
Visual is probably right that a brain scan wouldn’t hurt. Talk to your internist about both problems as well as your eye doctor and–if possible–a neurologist. See if they can come to a consensus.
Yours in thoughts,
Dear Visual and Psychological Perceptions,
Thanks for the advice. I almost feel as though you are reading my own thoughts. I’ll start setting up appointments with doctors before the end of the week. If necessary, I’ll take a trip back to the Mayo Clinic.
Besides the problems I asked you about, I’ve missed my kidney tumor scan two years in a row, and I’ve hit the five-year cancer follow-up mark. On top of all that, I think my upper discs and arthritic spurs are pinching a nerve or two, as I’m experiencing frequent numbing of my right arm and hand. The only reasons why I know it’s not heart-related is because the numbness is on the wrong side, and my recent cardio exams were surprisingly good for an anemic old lady. A trip to the mainland seems necessary after all. I’ll talk to my local internist about a referral, and have records from former surgeons sent to Mayo, too.
Both of you made some excellent suggestions and helped me think of other things that need checking so I can get them all out of the way in one trip. Once again, thanks for your advice. It would have taken me quite a while to come up with a plan on my own.
Love you both,