30 04 2010

Things are going swimmingly

Yesterday, I was afflicted with a bad case of vertigo. Not the worst bout I’ve had, but bad just the same. It kept me from my writing and wouldn’t let me read. Letters were swimming around on my screen and on printed pages. All the “w”s were doing the back stroke which made them look like “m”s. “p”s were doing flips off of invisible diving boards and maybe there were “b”s, “q”s, and “d”s doing that as well. I just couldn’t tell.

Putting the right spin on things

I sat quietly on my couch, bucket at my side. I’m not prone to motion sickness. Free-fall no longer gives me that weird feeling in my stomach. Comparing vertigo to free-fall, however, is like comparing a Guinea Pig to a full grown hog. So my companion of the day was the trusty plastic bucket. I did finally manage to get the couch and the living room to spin in the same direction and eventually at the same speed.

Practise makes perfect

I’m luckier than most, I had a wee bout with alcohol addiction in my teens and early twenties. It lasted more than ten years. I spent night after night wandering around dizzier than … well, dizzier than anything I experienced before or since, except for this vertigo thing.

Hold on to your seat

I find I can drive, if the vertigo isn’t too bad. Holding onto the wheel gives my mind a reference for which way is forward, I’m thus able to calculate left, right, up, down and back from this. I don’t drive for fun when I’m suffering from vertigo, no Sunday drives in the country. But, I must say that being unable to turn my head quickly has made me a safer driver. My wife tells me my head goes from side to side when I drive under normal conditions. Vertigo makes me focus, well, it takes away some of the lateral distractions.

I’m a “Yes Man”

My greatest problem can come from moving my head too quickly. Direction of movement is also a consideration. Although nodding my head can be troublesome, shaking my head “no” is like finding myself on a giant turntable. If you’re talking to me while I’m suffering from this malady, kindly phrase your questions so that the most likely answer is “yes.” “Would you like a million dollars?” “Can I wash your car for you?” “Would you like my chocolate bar?” These questions are fine, but don’t ask “Would you like to go to the carnival and ride the merry-go-round?” “Are you ready to hand over all your money?” “Did you enjoy your dental appointment?”

Which way is up?

Vertigo, of course, has an up side. It would have to or I wouldn’t be telling you about it. I find myself willing and able to put off everything, great and small. I just sit. My mind still spins, it does when I’m not suffering from vertigo, but it isn’t distracted by things I’m doing, so I benefit from an increased ability to focus my thoughts. Believe me, this is a wonderful thing for me, I’m dizzy, but not as ditzy.




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