Amid seizures, man sketched his 'beautiful' hallucinations

A man drew an image of the "beautiful" visual phenomena he saw while having a seizure.

Story highlights

  • Seizures caused a Washington man to have visual hallucinations
  • He was diagnosed with epilepsy in the region of the brain that controls vision, color and motion

(CNN)At first, he would see a colorful circle. It would grow a shimmering, flashing tail "dripping" down, which he compared to fireworks. "It's beautiful!" he said of one of these episodes -- but they gave him headaches, blinded him when they occurred and left a visual deficit in the right field of his vision for minutes after they subsided.

Five days went by, and the 71-year-old experienced episodes more and more frequently until they were occurring several times an hour. That's when he decided to drive himself from western Washington to the Seattle division of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, according to Dr. Christopher Ransom, a staff neurologist at the hospital and first author of a report that accompanied an image the man drew of his hallucinations. The image was published Monday in the journal JAMA Neurology.
Initially, the man was treated in the hospital's emergency department for a migraine, but his symptoms did not subside.