Enjoying the Flu

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Since Tuesday afternoon I have had the flu. Uncontrollable shivering, painful headaches, a stabbing earache, sore muscles, and lower back pain. But it's not all bad: I have also had semi-hallucinogenic episodes, I believe related to dizziness, which were interesting and almost overwhelming. I thought I was going to pass into a coma the first time it happened, but then tested by opening my eyes and moving my leg: no problem. In fact, I found that I could control the episodes consciously. Though the flu put the potential for them there (the potential arises as an indescribable sensation), the choice of whether to go into them and when to stop them is mine. I can also direct them to some extent.

From time to time in the past, when not sick, I have been reading a book and then gotten the impression that I am very far above the page, like a hundred feet, looking down and reading miniscule words with eerily sharp eyesight. Everything in the room then seems to have shrunk and receded, without loss of clarity. The effect can be quickly dispelled. This is a similar effect to a major perception of the semi-hallucinogenic flu episodes.
 

chroot

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The hallucinations are almost assuredly caused by fever. Perhaps you should take a Tylenol.

- Warren
 

Moonbear

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If you're running a fever high enough to cause hallucinations, you really should be seeking the advice of your physician. In the meantime, ibuprofen or acetominophen are good for reducing fever, and make sure to stay hydrated. Are you sure it's the flu? It's an unusual time of year to get the flu. If you still have that fever since Tuesday, or still have those other symptoms, it could be some other infection, and you should see a doctor.
 

brewnog

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BicycleTree said:
From time to time in the past, when not sick, I have been reading a book and then gotten the impression that I am very far above the page, like a hundred feet, looking down and reading miniscule words with eerily sharp eyesight. Everything in the room then seems to have shrunk and receded, without loss of clarity. The effect can be quickly dispelled. This is a similar effect to a major perception of the semi-hallucinogenic flu episodes.
Funny, I used to get seemingly exactly the same feeling when I played the saxophone. For years, I attributed it to a bit of oxygen starvation, what with blowing out all the time. Then, I found that I got just the same feeling when I played the guitar. It's been a mystery ever since.
 

Evo

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BT, if you don't start improving SOON please go see a doctor.
 
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Well, it's not as bad as it sounds. The fever has never gone much over 102. And the episodes aren't hallucinatory, they're only sort of hallucinatory. More like a waking dream than a hallucination, though there's nothing dreamlike about them except for that.

brewnog said:
Funny, I used to get seemingly exactly the same feeling when I played the saxophone. For years, I attributed it to a bit of oxygen starvation, what with blowing out all the time. Then, I found that I got just the same feeling when I played the guitar. It's been a mystery ever since.
Really... I wonder if it has something to do with concentration. Are you reading sheet music while playing the instruments?
 

Moonbear

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BicycleTree said:
Well, it's not as bad as it sounds. The fever has never gone much over 102. And the episodes aren't hallucinatory, they're only sort of hallucinatory. More like a waking dream than a hallucination, though there's nothing dreamlike about them except for that.
But you're getting better now, right? Just since it's not exactly flu season anymore, I'd be concerned it could be something other than the flu. If it's flu, the fever should be gone by now and most of the symptoms. You'll still feel tired for another week, but the worst of it should pass in 3 days and most of the symptoms should be gone by 5 days.

Anyway, feel better. Are you living at home for the summer where someone can take care of you? Nothing is worse than being really sick while alone.

Really... I wonder if it has something to do with concentration. Are you reading sheet music while playing the instruments?
Could it have something to do with straining your eyes? I know you said things still seem in focus, but maybe it's more an effect on depth perception or something like that from doing to much close reading then looking up at stuff at a distance???
 

Evo

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It sounds like mono.
 
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BicycleTree said:
From time to time in the past, when not sick, I have been reading a book and then gotten the impression that I am very far above the page, like a hundred feet, looking down and reading miniscule words with eerily sharp eyesight. Everything in the room then seems to have shrunk and receded, without loss of clarity. The effect can be quickly dispelled.
Ever get headaches, or been diagnosed with migraine?
Any other way out of the ordinary experiences when you're not febrile?

The visual thing you describe is not happening in your eyes, of course, but in the occipital lobes of your brain where vision is processed. One of my sisters has a visual thing that also happens when she reads: a spot of light will appear in front of her eyes, something like the image of the sun that gets stuck in the visual field if you happen to look directly at it. Hers lingers and prevents her from reading any longer.

Check this out and see if it fits:

Micropsia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Address:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micropsia
 
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Moonbear

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Evo said:
It sounds like mono.
Yeah, that's a bit of what I'm concerned about, but don't want to try making diagnoses. It would be better if he just saw his doctor and let the doctor make the diagnosis.
 
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Moonbear said:
Yeah, that's a bit of what I'm concerned about, but don't want to try making diagnoses.
Saying "Sound's like..." is good. Sometimes people go for years putting up with "strange" things because, "Life is full of strange things." It doesn't occur to them to go to a doctor untill they hear it associated with a known condition.
 
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I don't think it's mononucleosis... for one thing there is no noticeable tiredness. I have instead generally found it difficult to sleep. I certainly have a tendency to stay around the house, but due to the painful symptoms, the chills, and mild dizziness, not fatigue.

If you want to consider what it might be, here is a more detailed review of symptoms:
Some days before Tuesday, my left ear became blocked. This happens fairly frequently to me for some reason; a week before that it had happened to my right ear, though painlessly for the duration. Sometime later, I remember not just how long, the left ear started to hurt (which hardly ever happens). I doused it with alcohol Tuesday morning and early afternoon, to no effect. Tuesday involved some strenuous physical activity with no problem, though less activity than usual. Sometime in late afternoon or evening, I began to feel uncomfortable muscle stiffness and ache in my shoulders and neck. These persisted through the night, making it difficult to sleep. Over the next day I also experienced dizziness and pulsing headaches, and the stabbing ear pain continued. Holding still helped it. I also had chills--these have since occured every few hours and last around fifteen minutes to half an hour. Most likely because I had only gotten 3 or 4 hours sleep the previous night, I slept another 3 or 4 hours during the day; I definitely wouldn't call that "unusual" fatigue. Early Wednesday evening, I had the first chills episode, which I alleviated through use of a blanket. It was at this time that the first semi-hallucinatory episode occurred. Wednesday evening, about 9:00, I took 2 tylenol which evaporated all symptoms except for mild dizziness, including the earache. I retired at about 1:00 and slept until about 2 or 3 AM when I was awakened by symptoms I do not remember--possibly chills. By this time, I believe, that the shoulder and neck aches had disappeared. I had difficulty sleeping, frequently waking up and taking a long time (half an hour to an hour) to return to sleep, until about 7:30 am. I woke up with dizziness, a nauseous feeling, the headache, and the earache. I then took 2 tylenol, which again removed the painful symptoms, and went to Boston for a school-related Museum of Fine Arts tour. Following the tour at 1:00 I again took 2 tylenol, but before they took effect I had another shivering episode, throbbing headache, a stabbing headache near my temples, and stabbing earache on the subway. The tylenol took effect. I had another 2 tylenol at 5:00 and felt fine enough to walk ~2 miles from the bus stop to my house without noticeable symptoms (I doubt even dizziness).

On Thursday night I decided to stop taking tylenol, which lasted until Friday afternoon. The symptoms returned. I woke up with violent chills at maybe 1:30, and Friday the main symptoms were chills, earache, and a somewhat new kind of headache, throbbing pain on the top of my head, that did not hurt except just after standing up and soon went away. Violent chills and extreme hunger again this morning at 4:00 (having taken tylenol at 1:00 AM before sleeping, this is unusual).

The earache usually remains the worst symptom, except under Tylenol, although it might not be part of the rest of infection.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Micropsia fits the description. I have also in the past (5-10 years ago) had swarms of small white lights appearing from the edges of my vision and moving inwards, disappearing before reaching the center, and on another occasion a few small apparently bouncing lights. In both cases symptoms disappeared rapidly. About five years ago, I had one mild migraine headache that I am aware of, possibly due to dehydration. I think the micropsia has occurred more recently, during the past few years.
 
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Oh, also on Thursday morning I noticed a strange horizontal pink mark on my skin, with 3 redder dots spaced along its length. The mark is still there. I was worried about lyme disease, but because there was no bullseye pattern and it was not circular I dismissed the speculation.

Actually, now that I look again, the area between the center and the edge has faded, forming what appears to be an oblong ringlike pattern, 3/4 inch high, 2 inches long. If I stretch the skin vertically the ringlike pattern becomes more pronounced.
 
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It is sounding more and more like more and more things. You really ought to get to the doctor today.
 

loseyourname

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BicycleTree said:
From time to time in the past, when not sick, I have been reading a book and then gotten the impression that I am very far above the page, like a hundred feet, looking down and reading miniscule words with eerily sharp eyesight. Everything in the room then seems to have shrunk and receded, without loss of clarity.
This exact thing used to happen to me at least once a week when I was growing up. The only difference is that it always happened when I was laying in bed before falling asleep, not when I was reading. The strangest experience was to touch nearby objects while this was happening. I felt incredibly small, as if the entire world had inflated in size and all distances had increased, yet I could touch things that seemed to be fifty feet away. Same thing with the eyesight. I had several even stranger experiences, much less frequent and seemingly unrelated to the ones you describe, in which I felt as if my eyesight had simply become telescopic and I could see well past the horizon. I even distinctly remember standing on the beach once when I was about ten or so and being able to see all the way to the nearest land, probably Japan. Obviously, I wasn't really looking from Santa Monica to Japan, but that was what it seemed like.
 

loseyourname

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zoobyshoe said:
It is sounding more and more like more and more things. You really ought to get to the doctor today.
It sounds to me like he might have meningitis.
 
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loseyourname said:
I had several even stranger experiences, much less frequent and seemingly unrelated to the ones you describe, in which I felt as if my eyesight had simply become telescopic and I could see well past the horizon. I even distinctly remember standing on the beach once when I was about ten or so and being able to see all the way to the nearest land, probably Japan. Obviously, I wasn't really looking from Santa Monica to Japan, but that was what it seemed like.
Macropsia -- Facts, Info, and Encyclopedia article
Address:http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/encyclopedia/M/Ma/Macropsia.htm [Broken]
 
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loseyourname said:
It sounds to me like he might have meningitis.
He should get to a doctor today.
 
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BicycleTree said:
Micropsia fits the description. I have also in the past (5-10 years ago) had swarms of small white lights appearing from the edges of my vision and moving inwards, disappearing before reaching the center, and on another occasion a few small apparently bouncing lights. In both cases symptoms disappeared rapidly. About five years ago, I had one mild migraine headache that I am aware of, possibly due to dehydration. I think the micropsia has occurred more recently, during the past few years.
Migraine is a specific disorder unto itself. It's not a term for any headache. Severe headache is very often a symptom of migraine, but some migraine sufferers don't even have headaches. All the visual effects you report suggest you've had that kind of atypical migraine for some time. What's going on is: the blood vessels go through a routine of over constricting and overdilating.

The "flu" things are separate, and are probably triggering the pre-existing tendency to migrainous micropsia. The headache/ear/sharp pain, chills, fever, and dizziness concern me. These could be alot of serious things, lyme disease among them, I think. You really need a doctor to sort it out with tests.
 

Moonbear

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loseyourname said:
It sounds to me like he might have meningitis.
With added details, I agree. BT, get to a doctor TODAY! If that's what it is and you have a contagious form, those people who were at the event you attended earlier in the week ALSO will need to know, and the sooner it's diagnosed, the more chance they can prevent it. The throbbing headache and neck pain are rather classic symptoms of meningitis. With flu, you'd feel all over achy and tired, not really the way you're describing your symptoms as focused around your head, neck and back. I hope we're wrong, but if we're right, you should NOT delay getting treatment.

The symptoms of meningitis vary, but often include:

Headache
Fever
Stiff neck
Expected Duration

Viral meningitis tends to get better on its own in 7 to 10 days. In contrast, if bacterial meningitis is not diagnosed and treated early, it can cause permanent disability or death. The length of time that medication is needed for bacterial meningitis depends on the person's age, response to the medication and other factors.
http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9339/10302.html [Broken]
 
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I really don't think I have meningitis--at least I do not have bacterial meningitis, or I would not currently be feeling mostly okay.

Warning people in the class? Well, viral meningitis isn't so much of a worry, even if I do have it. Anyway, the symptoms seem similar to flu symptoms. Also, I only started producing wet mucus this morning and I didn't sneeze or cough during the tour.


I once read that migraines are caused by potassium imbalance in the brain, causing waves of activity.
 
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I have had meningitis. trust me you will know it if you have it. its nothing like the flu. theres no way you would be walking about. it actually kind of sounds like strep throat. now bear in mind that nerves in the throat are shared with the ear and so it can feel like your ear is infected when really its your throat. try a more natural approach. sleep. take some vitamine c. some ecinecha(sp?) keep your fever down. if symptoms persist see a doc. no harm in seeing one. recently I had a virus, and I had similar symptoms. my throat and ear and whole side of my face and head still hurt a week later even though my fever and fatigue had gone away. I went to the doctor and discovered it was all from a canker sore in my throat. who would have thought all that pain from a canker. obviously thats not your situation, but bear in mind that pain can move, sometimes where you feel it is not where its coming from. especially in your face. yes I agree you should get yourself checked
 

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