Open Thinkering


Tag: migraine

Migraines and TIAs

Some people, perhaps most people, choose not to publicly share their health information. Perhaps I’m a fool, but I choose to do so — at least selectively. This is mainly because over the years I have been helped by people putting things online about themselves that I have subsequently recognised in myself.

This post is intended to use my own experience to be helpful to anyone else who might find themselves in a similar situation. A word of warning, though, I might be a ‘doctor’, but I am not a medical professional!

After I woke up on Friday, for a period of 5-10 minutes I had visual and auditory disturbances, a slight loss of balance, and co-ordination issues. These happened sequentially, followed by me feeling like I couldn’t get my words out and a slight slurring of speech. It was weird, but it passed.

The next day, I had a headache. It was persistent enough for me to take one of my migraine tablets (Rizatriptan). In the afternoon I felt well enough to do some sprinting in an attempt to improve a Strava segment personal best. On Sunday I felt fine and went for a longer run.

Family and friends insisted, quite rightly, that I should get checked out. I saw the doctor on Monday and he suspected I may have had a Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or ‘mini-stroke’. He checked me over, took bloods (which came back fine) and referred me to the stroke clinic. The NHS is awesome, particularly in Northumberland.

Today is Tuesday and I’ve been to the stroke clinic who have assessed me. I wasn’t allowed to drive myself there, or indeed at all until they gave me the all clear. Thankfully, they’re pretty certain it wasn’t a TIA as what I describe came in a ‘wave’ rather than all at once. It’s almost definitely just my pattern of migraine symptoms changing as I get older — but they’re giving me a non-emergency MRI scan in the next couple of weeks just to double-check.

Although I (probably) didn’t have one, if you’re reading this and recognise something similar has happened to you, then get checked out! As the Wikipedia page for TIAs states:

The occurrence of a TIA is a risk factor for having a major stroke, and many people with TIA have a major stroke within 48 hours of the TIA. All forms of stroke are associated with increased risk of death or disability. Recognition that a TIA has occurred is an opportunity to start treatment, including medications and lifestyle changes, to prevent future strokes.

I’m really pleased it was ‘only’ a migraine-related issue that I had on Friday, but I was stupid to wait more than 48 hours to follow up on it. Again, if you’re reading this because you had a ‘funny turn’, go and seek some medical attention.

Life is short. It’s easy to get into a good routine and feel pretty invincible. But this was a reminder that we should all count our blessings.

Weeknote 19/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Taking a day off. It was Bank Holiday on Monday – a national holiday in the UK. I still however spent 4pm-5pm… <drumroll>
  • Hosting the weekly Web Literacy standard call. We motored through our first pass of defining the skills under the competencies in the ‘Connecting’ strand.
  • Writing a post for Week 1 of the Mozilla #teachtheweb MOOC: How transferable are coding skills to other domains? Why is learning a little code important?
  • Responding to enquiries by people and organisations about integrating with the OBI.
  • Travelling to and from London to meet with Lord Jim Knight and STiR education about using Open Badges for teacher education in India.
  • Enjoying a conversation over lunch London with the ever-enthusiastic Eugenie Teasley from Spark + Mettle.
  • Collating questions about Open Badges and then answering them in this blog post.
  • Suffering from a migraine on Thursday. I couldn’t see much due to the aura so I called it a day about 10:30am. I lay down and listened to podcasts. The Moral Maze episode on The Ring of Gyges was fascinating.
  • Travelling to BBC North in Salford to deliver a session on Open Badges. It went pretty well, but I felt like I wasn’t getting my words out properly or explaining things as well as I usually do. It’s often an issue post-migraine. Slides here.

Next week, after five straight weeks of travelling and hotels, I’m home for the entire week. Woohoo! The week after I’m in Toronto for the Mozilla All-Hands meeting, so plenty to psych myself up for…

Weeknote 13/2013

It’s been a funny old week. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Speaking to some people (including Charles Miglietti from the excellent about potentially aligning with the Web Literacy standard.
  • Working on my slides for OER13.
  • Submitting an abstract for the PLE13 conference.
  • Attending (Tuesday) and keynoting (Wednesday) the OER13 conference. My presentation was entitled Ambiguity, OER and Open Badges.
  • Suffering from two migraines, leading to me reading Migraine by Oliver Sacks to try and make sense of them. I took Thursday off to recover.
  • Planning a workshop on Mozilla’s Webmaker tools as part of Nesta’s One Day Digital event.
  • Driving up to Edinburgh on Friday afternoon with my family for the Nesta event.
  • Running a workshop with thirteen 12-15 year-olds (7 boys, 6 girls) on Saturday. I still miss teaching, dammit.

Next week it’s Easter Monday so I’ve got a four-day working week. I was going to be running an Open Badges workshop for the BBC in Salford on Friday, but that’s been pushed back to be outside of the Easter holidays (so more people can attend). I’ll be planning my keynote at the PELeCON conference the week after next – which I’m entitling A History of Open Badges through the medium of animated GIFs. 😉