I get ocular migraines all the time, maybe two or three times a month and have never been able to pinpoint why or what triggers them.
Once I went to an optometrist on Crown Street to see if there was a problem with my vision that might be causing them. The optometrist put drops in my eyes to expand the pupils and found nothing of interest, leaving me to stumble back to work down Cleveland Street, tears streaming from my poor dilated eyes, passers-by assuming I was one of the local meth-heads.
I spoke to my GP about them, earnestly explaining that when I felt one coming, I tended also to have an intense craving for Minties, which he put down to a crash in blood sugar levels that often precedes a migraine. For a long time I saw Minties as the solution to my migraines, except that two weeks ago I’m pretty sure eating Minties caused a migraine. Nothing is sacred.
The first time I had one, I was about 15 and working after school and on weekends at Best & Less in Orange. It was the beginning of my time there and I was still too young to relate to my manager as a peer, plus he’s recently called me a wench, which I knew from a recent English class on Shakespeare, just mean ‘woman’ but I wasn’t sure that he know that, and suspected he thought it was an insult. I’d also been recently accosted at the registers by a strange new workmate who wanted to know when I’d first seen a dead body. Also I’d caught a woman shoplifting and after eyeballing me while letting the plastic wrapped shirts she’d stuffed under her clothes slide to the floor, she’d followed me around the store singing Nine Inch Nail’s infamous ‘Closer’. Piece of advice right here: that is one hell of a way to ensure a scared 15-year-old will not call the police.
Anyway, when I started feeling car sick and the vision in my right eye started strobing, I didn’t feel like I could ask to go home, so instead I lay on the dusty blue carpet of the lingerie department, surrounded by cheap, synthetic bras, hung on thin plastic coat hangers which were forever getting tangled when women rifled through them to find their size.
I lay there and I thought I was dying and I thought to myself, ‘This is not how I thought it would end!’. Keeping in mind I was 15 and living in Orange, I had grand hopes of one day maybe dating one of the guys from a local band, Bongrot and finding the perfect mix of cheap vodka and lemon squash. I had all that to live for, I couldn’t die there on the floor. Plus I’d never seen the carpet vacuumed so it was maybe not the best place to lie.
In summary: I now know that my vision comes back after an hour or so, but I will feel car sick until I’ve has some sleep and I still don’t know what causes them or how they get triggered, but an ocular migraine will not kill me and ‘wench’ just means woman.