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I’m So Dizzy, My Head Is Spinning

Monday, December 19, 2011, 17:20 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

If you are now singing to yourself, “Like a whirlpool, it never ends,” then good for you for proving that you have a great memory for bad pop songs of the late ’60s. For that, Tommy Roe thanks you.

But, as Arlo Guthrie has often said, that’s not what I came here to talk about. Ooohhh, Den Mother, you are probably thinking, two obscure song references in the first two paragraphs of one post? You are SO cool. For that, I thank you.

What the title means is that I am on day 5 of an attack of vertigo. “Attack” is probably too strong a word, since the symptoms aren’t constant and can be more or less kept at bay by simply staying upright and not tipping my head too much in any direction. But it’s significant enough that I haven’t felt comfortable driving.

If you’ve never had vertigo, here’s the best way I can describe it: Remember when you were a kid and you used to spin around and around for as long as you could, and when you stopped, it felt like the world was still spinning around you and it was hard to focus your eyes on anything and you kept falling down? That’s what severe vertigo is like. I am fortunate that I don’t get nausea with it. And this time, it isn’t severe.

My first experience with vertigo was a few years ago, and it took several hours to improve even slightly and a few days to subside entirely. I awoke one morning, opened my eyes, and marveled that the room was spinning. (No, alcohol was not involved.) When the spinning hadn’t stopped after five minutes, I tried to get up and walk to the bathroom because, you know, I hadn’t peed in eight hours and some things just can’t wait. I made it out of the bedroom, through the living room and kitchen, and into the bathroom, listing rightward the entire way, only because there were furniture, cabinets, and door casings along the way that I could hold onto. I somehow managed to take a shower, get dressed, and make my way down the stairs of my apartment building and into the waiting car of my father, who was kind enough to drive me to the doctor. She prescribed meclizine, which seemed not to do much, although others have pointed out that the attack might have lasted longer without it. Whatever. I was just grateful when it improved enough that I could read a book or watch TV.

My current episode has been less severe and more intermittent. I rode the bus today because I wasn’t confident that the highway wouldn’t begin undulating while I was on it. When I get home, a new meclizine prescription will be waiting because I finally called my doctor this afternoon, if only to get my family off my back.

I also went online and found some exercises that have been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of vertigo. I’ll be trying them out this evening, in the privacy of my home, where no one else will be able to see my contortions.

Once I am rid of these annoying symptoms, I can focus on more important things, like getting that stupid song out of my head.

Categories: health/safety
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