Maggie Cobbett

I've been on an emotional roller coaster since my last post. Out of the blue came a series of visual disturbances that I convinced myself were TIAs (transient ischaemic attacks or mini strokes)

They took the form of a shimmering effect around anything I happened to be looking at and lasted for several minutes each time. Always a reluctant patient, I put off seeking medical advice until frogmarched down to the practice.

The G.P. took my self diagnosis seriously and gave me emergency treatment until it became apparent that I had no other stroke related symptoms. She then sent me off for an immediate eye test. BINGO! To cut a very long story short - and I've had neurological and ophthalmological tests since to make sure - it appears that my eye muscles were under severe strain from out of date spectacles. That had led to a condition called 'migraine with aura'.

Have you ever heard of that? I hadn't. To me, migraine was just a very bad headache and I had had no pain at all. Much better informed now, I'm anxious to spread the word that migraine can manifest itself in a variety of different ways, many of them alarming.

Born with good vision, I came down with scarlet fever whilst still at primary school and have been shortsighted ever since.

National Health issue spectacles - brown frames for boys and pink for girls - had metal earpieces that dug in all year round and made the backs of my ears particularly sore in winter. Even when my parents paid for more attractive frames, I still hated wearing the things and they spent more time in my pocket than on my nose. Which child - at least until the arrival of Harry Potter - has ever wanted to be a Speccy Four-Eyes?

As a teenager, I worried that 'boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses' and so was even less likely to be seen out in them. This persisted through university and into my twenties, when I invested in prescription sun glasses and contact lenses. As often as not, though, I wore neither and only clapped my ordinary spectacles onto my nose when I thought no one was looking. I wasn't shortsighted enough to bump into things and just bumbled around seeing everything out of focus.

I'll be truthful. Even now, I'm not happy at the prospect of wearing my new specs more or less full time. However, I've been advised that I should and I'll just have to get used to the idea. After all, it's a small price to pay for being given a new lease of life. Vanity may at last have given way to common sense. At least, I hope so.

EDITOR: Maggie has an excellent website with many other blogs and interesting features. http://maggiecobbett.co.uk/

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