Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

A week in the life of … (part 1)


As he passed through the bedroom doorway, his right shoulder collided painfully with the door-frame, followed immediately by the little toe on his right foot doing the same. While he is accustomed to abusing his shoulder in this manner, the same can’t be said for the toe. If he was into swearing, this would have been an opportune time to do some. The toe is positively yelling at him to say something – anything – loud and inappropriate. As usual, he can’t think of a single expletive in the heat of the moment, but he manages to expel air between clenched teeth, making a satisfying groaning sound, quite appropriate for the situation he thought.

The throbbing toe, while painful, distracts him from the the little man in his head bashing the inside of his left temple with a sledgehammer. As he descends the stairs, the throbbing in his toe subsides, and the thumping pain in his head returns with vengeance. He wishes that the toe would complain for a little longer – “a change is as good as a rest” he recalls. He feels sorry for the little man with the sledgehammer. The man has been swinging it non-stop for two days, so he’s probably quite tired by now.

At the foot of the stairs, he turns and goes into the kitchen carefully keeping as far to the left as possible. No sense in colliding with another door-frame. His wife isn’t there as he expected. He goes to the window and looks down to the carport below. No car. She must have left early. Did she say good-bye to him this morning? He can’t recall. He turns to look at the clock on the wall. No clock. He looks away and then back to where the clock should be. Slowly it fades into view. First the sliver grey frame, then the white face followed soon after by the numbers. Finally the hands appear. Eight o’clock.

Coffee time. He goes to the cup rack his daughter made at school many years ago. A beautiful wood-stained object with three crossarms capable of holding six large coffee mugs. He waits for a cup to fade into view. His first attempt at grabbing a cup fails as his hand passes straight through it. He closes one eye and has another attempt. Success. He picks up the stainless steel coffee plunger. By its weight there is at least two cups of coffee remaining. He pours out a cup, then wipes up the copious amount of liquid spilt onto the bench-top.

He searches for the sugar bowl. He knows it should be on the island counter-top and starts scanning for it. On the third scan he locates it, almost directly in front of him. He tips two teaspoonfuls of sugar into the coffee cup, not noticing that he spilt most of the second onto the counter. He makes his way to the microwave, and places the cup inside. He goes back to to gather a dishcloth to wipe the spilt coffee from the turntable. Closing the door, he presses “Warm+” and then the “Start” button.

He waits while the microwave’s infra-red sensor monitors the rising temperature of his drink. He becomes aware of a dampness in his right sock. Had he spilt something and stepped in it? He looked down at the floor. Red streaks. Where did they come from? Plum jam? Beetroot? He doesn’t recall seeing either today? It looks like … blood!

To be continued.

Contrary to popular opinion, migraines are not just a bad headache. They can affect a sufferer in many different ways. This story is an attempt to describe a week in the life of a chronic migraineur. The migraineur in the story is not exceptional. His symptoms, while not common, are not as extreme as experienced by many others. He has auras and other visual disturbances, loses fine motor control, and experiences cognitive and executive failure during attacks.

Between attacks he has been described as of above average intelligence, open minded and having a dry sense of humour. During attacks he has been seen by others as being drunk or under the influence of drugs, having a stroke, or suffering from dementia.

The story is being told because too many people have little or no tolerance of those who are “different”. The aim is not to gain sympathy. It’s not wanted or needed. The aim is to give a little insight into the life of just one person who is just a little different from the norm. If it paves the way for a few to become more accepting of others, then it will have served its purpose.

The person portrayed in the story is real and and the events described will be those that happened to him over a single week. I will endeavour to be as accurate as I can, but as some events cannot be recalled fully, some “filling of the gaps” may be required. For this, I hope I am forgiven.

In case you are wondering how I am able to tell this story in detail, it’s because it comes from personal experience. The week is just one out of the fifty two I lived this last year.

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and was diagnosed as being autistic aged sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

6 thoughts on “A week in the life of … (part 1)

  1. Wow, that’s eye-opening Barry. I had no idea that are visual and motor control impariments. That would be really something to try and deal with. Thank you for the educational opportunity.

  2. Very well told story. Sorry it’s something you have to experience. I will occasionally have those visual auras you mentioned. They’re mostly in the edge or corner of one or both eyes, but so far they have never developed into migraines. I’m looking forward to reading more .

  3. Thanks Doobster. My plan is to write an episode once every week or so. Time will tell if I can stick to it.

  4. Thank you for sharing this experience. I too suffer from chronic migraines often with debilitating side effects. The affect it has on one’s entire life is so broad-reaching and often not understood by others.

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