I was on the toilet at work when my vision melted out of focus, my ears rang like someone hit two tuning forks and held one inside each eardrum, and I watched as my right hand proceeded to fall away from my face and drop my phone on the floor despite my protestation. 

This is strange.

I slowly came out of it. Blurry overlapping edges slowly returned to distinct shapes. The tuning forks that had been ringing in my ears slowly faded to silence.

That was strange. That was the longest…minute…? five minutes…? How long was I dazed?

I reached down to pick up my phone, but I couldn’t. My right hand would not open and close around the phone. I could reach it, touch it, and bat it around on the floor like a cat with a toy, but I could not pick it up.

I reached with my left hand and picked it up, no problem. My right hand struggled to open my pants pocket to allow my left hand to deposit the phone.

I guess it’s not over.

Panic set in. I imagined my coworkers finding me passed out on the floor of the bathroom stall with my pants down around my ankles.

I need to wipe. 

I tried wiping with my right hand, but it was not strong enough or precise enough for the task. I had to wipe with my non-dominant left hand. 

OK. Sight and sound are good. Right arm is still weak and imprecise. Are you having a stroke? What did that email forward say about strokes? 

I put myself together and tried to act calm as I walked to the sink. I looked at my mirror-self in the eyes and started talking. “OK. That was weird. What was that? I can hear. I can see. I can stand. I can use my left hand, but my right arm is… off.”

Check dexterity. 

I turned my palms up and watched intently. In unison, I touched my left thumb to left index finger, and right to right. Thumb to the middle, ring, pinky, ring, middle, index, up and down both sides. I watched as each hand completed the task without even a hitch.

Dexterity seems OK, but my right arm still feels off. The whole arm. Tricep down, more on the pinky side than the thumb.

At 30 years old, I had been getting migraines for about ten years. At age 26, I started writing what I called a “migraine log” with symptoms and as much detail as I could recall about the day before each. Most of the time, there was alcohol, poor sleep, poor diet, or a combination thereof in the past 24 hours. Being analytical has its upside. I logged it all by replying to myself in an email.

This one was different.

Go write this down. NOW.

Subject: migrane log?

Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 16:23:47 -0600

Visual Disturbance. Single-Side Body Weakness. Ringing in ear. …