Thursday, 16 April 2015

N is for Nystagmus


For this year's A-Z Challenge I have selected a word from the dictionary for each day and written a story around it with a 100 word limit. For extra interest I have chosen words that are unknown or unfamiliar to me. All definitions are from the Oxford Dictionary & Thesaurus 2007 Edition. Today's word is: Nystagmus.

Nystagmus: Rapid involuntary movements of the eyes.

Geoffrey shook in fear, his eyes flicking from side to side rapidly.

“Be still, child!” said Father Simpkins, flicking holy water into Timothy’s face. Timothy blinked; the priest was just a restless shape before him.

“Begone, foul demon!”

After many more exhortations, the priest turned to his parents and said, “I am sorry, but the devil’s influence is too strong. The boy will have to be taken to a sanctuary for further measures.”


It was a few centuries too early for the priest to know the condition had a name – nystagmus, and it was only made worse by stressful situations.

35 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - taking us back into almost medieval times, and then updating us as of today .. great tale .. loved it - and good to know about Nystagmus - hope I never get it .. cheers Hilary

Medeia Sharif said...

They must have mistaken a lot of medical conditions for something else back then.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Wow! How sad. Thank goodness we are a bit better off now than we were then.

Scribbles From Jenn - Visiting from the A to Z Challenge

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

Poor Geoffrey. I hope his parents grew some sense and just took him home.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

blogoratti said...

I like this word...and its a great but short tale!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's really sad.
Be sure to stop by today Nick!

Keith's ramblings said...

Interesting word, even more interesting story!

Jean Davis said...

Poor Geoffrey. Love your endings on these tiny tales.

Melanie Schulz said...

And that situation certainly appears stressful.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I've had Nystagmus. And, yes, it is brought on by stress and nerves.
Play off the Page

T. Powell Coltrin said...

So true, that in the past things that were odd about people were thought to be spirit possession or witchery.

Christine Rains said...

Neat new word for the day! And poor kid. So many things were once thought the work of demons.

Shell Flower said...

Oh man, exorcisms are just the worst. Poor Timothy! I recognized this word from my days in hell at the insurance company :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's a cool word. I learned something new today.

Poor kid! Back in the day, they always thought something they didn't understand was caused by the devil or possession. So sad to think of the things kids and other people were put through because of that.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Glad I live in today's world! I love modern medicine:)

Tamara Narayan said...

This was one world I did know. My cat exhibited nystagmus last summer while suffering from an ear infection. I'd have to hold his head super tight in order to get a pill down his throat. On a few occasions, his pupils would "tick" back and forth like a clock. Not sure of the connection between the ear ailment and the eye movement, but it was disturbing to see.

Jeff Chapman said...

Another fascinating word. These stories are a great way to illustrate usage.

David P. King said...

I've seen this before. It was creepy. :)

Michael Abayomi said...

Nystagmus you say. Then how do you explain all the bed levitating, excessive vomiting, backward talking and spiderwalking? Hmmm, how!? :D

betty said...

LOL, I know this word because of my work :) (this is the first word I've known LOL of your challenge words :)

Yep, not to a priest but to a doctor who might be able to prescribe some exercises to help it :)

betty

diedre Knight said...

If we only knew then... Great story, Nick!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

So many people probably suffered in the past because of all the misunderstandings.

djinnia said...

poor kid! scary thought what the priest will probably do to him.

cool word.

Patricia Lynne said...

Awwwww, that story was sad. =(

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

Tyrean Martinson said...

Oh, poor kid. Great flash! BTW - gave you a shout-out at my blog today!

Sophie Duncan said...

Poor boy. We put much down to the devil that we did not understand :(
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Stephen Tremp said...

It’s officially the second half of A to Z. Time to catch that second wind, rest up on Sunday, then it’s that mad dash toward the finish line!

Stephen Tremp
A to Z Cohost
N is for Numerology

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Hah! I feel sorry for all people who were sick in times when exorcism was still the go-to treatment...

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

J E Oneil said...

Cool story. I didn't know that had a name, either. Of course, I wouldn't go for an exorcism...

Jamie Ayres said...

Yikes! Very informative!!

Julie Flanders said...

Geez this poor guy. Honestly this word alone gives me the creeps for some reason. I guess it's just so scary to think of anything wrong with your eyes.

Liz A. said...

So many things attributed to the devil back then.

Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

Truedessa said...

That is sad, but back then what they didn't understand scared them and they thought the devil was in everybody.

Melissa Sugar said...

Finally , I know a word. I know This one from my very early prosecuting days. When I prosecuted DWI's. The HGN test - horizontal Gaze Nystagmus was one the police offers testified about it court daily . The follow my pen with your eyes test.

Holly Jahangiri said...

It's also a symptom of BPPV. Poor child! Next you know, he'll be burnt at the stake.