Sunday, January 27, 2013


So, 4 days ago I dreamed of seeing a scintillating scotoma, and then became vaguely paranoid of how inconvenient it would be to have one on Sunday morning before my black belt test; then, today, after I'm home from the test and from grocery shopping, I for some reason start a conversation with j* about how migraines can be associated with relaxation after stress, and tell her the story of VanValkenburgh's Vacation; and this afternoon, coming in with the groceries, i get distracted for a little while by a foveal afterimage, probably from the sun glinting off a car windshield - but maybe it was something else. Yesterday, or a couple of days ago, I was distracted for maybe a minute by the noisiness of my visual field, having momentarily noticed how snowy everything looked. I think that was Friday...

So finally, about 9pm tonight, in the kitchen about to explain to j* why my shoulder hurts (because I briefly dislocated it by swinging my arm wildly at an odd angle towards an 18-year old), I realize that my foveal vision feels scotoma-like (if there is a word for 'feels like a scotoma', I don't know what it is. Specific feels, like 'rough', or 'bright', or 'salty', have specific, ancient, singular morphemes attached to them, so it's hard to invent a new word for a new feeling, or for one that is rare or obscure enough that it hasn't been named). I pick up a knife and start trying to use the sharp tip, at arm's length, to find a blind spot, but can't find it; the start is always odd, since I think the scotoma is very small and maybe discontinuous, and maybe even not binocular. For whatever reason, I can tell that it's there, but it's often hard to find. Then, as I've mentioned many times here, it seems to disappear; then it reappears.

This one was right field; headache is very slight, I felt it start midway through the aura, as a little jolt of pain, then disappeared. I have to shake my head to feel it; possibly would be a little worse if I hadn't taken an ibuprofen soon after the scotoma was after, though I took it for my shoulder...

So I got another recording with scotmap, which I think is good, but all my code from last summer is written implicitly for a left-field scotoma, and my code is complicated and uncommented, so it will take me a little while to straighten it out and make another good animation to post up here. I do have the data transformed and fitted to the wave model I came up with, and the result is very similar to the last measurement: exactly 3mm/min, starting a few millimeters on the V2 side of the inferior V1/V2 border, 10 or so millimeters from the foveal confluence. This is consistent with my feeling that there is a scotoma, and yet being unable to see it directly; the scotoma begins in V2.

There's something weird at the end, a bunch of data at a much smaller eccentricity; this may be an error, I don't think it's the 'rough spot' that I have mentioned before. Will work it out this week.

Meanwhile, here's a general migraine data plot, relating my estimates of headache intensity on a 10-point scale (notice what a fortunate migraineur I am) to the time elapsed since the previous headache. Most of these ratings are retrospective, based on these journal entries. I see a relationship: more frequent means more intense. The outlier at zero is the night in China last month, where there was no headache at all, which I attributed to the simultaneous alcohol intake with the aura.

In other news, I have failed to make progress this weekend on E*'s presentation.

Also, saw a nice show at the BSO last night: Hindemith, Liszt, and Prokofiev.

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