One of the funnier things I have seen on television is this scene from “Arrested Development” where Lucille 2, played by Liza Minelli, is sauntering herself into a clinic for treatment of her vertigo. It then cuts to Lucille 2 leaving the clinic “cured” and running into a man arriving at the clinic for his own treatment, and well, things get dicey.
Okay maybe you can only appreciate the extreme humor of that scene if you actually suffer from it.
VERTIGO (DEFINITION): The condition by which your balance and physical stability is compromised apparently due to some loose-piece-of-shit-eating-calcium or somethingorother in your inner/middle ear which enters and gets stuck in a part of the ear in which it does not belong and bangs around in that wrong place, wreaking havoc with your sense of motion – essentially creating the feeling of what you’re certain the brown acid must have been like at Woodstock ’69.
Hi! I have Vertigo. I was diagnosed with BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo).
I have had this condition for years, enduring for the most part only short-lived bouts of it. Sometimes is hangs on a bit longer.
This time it is the latter of those.
I woke up abruptly in the middle of the night a while ago while on my left side, decided I needed to know what time it was RIGHT THEN for some reason, whipped my head to the right to look at the clock – and whhhhooooooooossssshhhhhhh – there it was.
The entire room started spinning violently. I grabbed hold of the covers and side of the bed and held on for dear life, gritting my teeth. It was several minutes until the spinning completely stopped. It was the worst it had been since the first time it happened to me around 8 years ago.
It has settled down. I can certainly function normally. After I’ve been awake and up for a while I forget about it.
But then I do something reckless like tilt my head backward to chug a Diet Pepsi or lie down without propping my head up on 12 pillows first…and there she is, that bitch.
Doing sit-ups at the gym is full of hilarity and fun! I pop in my headphones, rifle through my iPod to choose a song that enhances the mood such as “Rubber Band Man” or “Stuck in the Middle with You” – and wait.
My head has to be in the offending position for a fairly prolonged period of time (15-20 seconds) before it happens.
If I lie prone or tilt my head back and keep it there…at first it feels fine. Then I get all cocky thinking, hey, it’s gone. But I know better:
- My eyes feel it first. Almost like they start getting heavy and I close them.
- Then a pulsating starts in my brain and the whooshing sound starts in my ears. Maybe it’s my heartbeat. I don’t know.
- Then the spins start. If you’ve ever been drunk, pretty damn drunk, and you plop down on your bed and stare at the ceiling and have gotten the spins – that’s it. Only without the fun and mayhem of the drinking beforehand.
- It gets worse and worse, culminating in a full-out your-drunk-with-the-spins-while-at-the-same-time-on-the-tilt-a-whirl-at-the-carnival type feeling.
- Then it starts to subside. It lessens. It slows. Eventually it stops, like it never happened.
- Until later if I tilt my head backward or lie down again, in which case – yipppeee – it basically starts all over.
When I went to physical therapy for this condition years ago I FREAKED OUT on the poor intern, so sure was I that it would never go away and would happen constantly every minute of the day no matter what I was doing (not the case), and verbally accosted her with:
“How am I supposed to LIVE?? What the fuck am I supposed to DO for the rest of my life…take the BUS?!?”
(That poor girl. I really dislike buses. The only time I took a bus regularly, ever in my life, was when downtown Chicago flooded in 1992 – underground. Remember that Chicagoans? No subway. Had to take the bus to work from the far North Side to Michigan & Randolph every day. Man that sucked.)
I feel no symptoms of vertigo while I am driving. Thankfully I do not drive staring up at the ceiling or lying down.
That very patient intern gave me some maneuvers to do (this and this) which either completely eradicate the dizziness or significantly lessen it.
I did one of them on a park bench once, after leaning my head backward to catch a frisbee triggered it.
When you see people made of clay doing this in public, you’ll know why.
Some day relatively soon, as history has proven, I will wake up and it will be magically gone again. And it might be months until it rears its ugly head.
What really pisses me off though, is that it’s prohibiting me from pursuing a career in so many things like for instance, figure skating.
How could I perform one of those pretty tilty-head spins?
Come on. If my vertigo is acting up I cannot do that.
Because I would look like this…
My secret dream of becoming the first 43-year-old, never-trained, never-before-ice-skated Olympic Silver Medalist (I am realistic…Gold at my age would be difficult) in solo or pairs ice skating can never be realized.
It makes me bitter.
And it makes it difficult to write.
I always write while sort of semi-laying on my left side. I don’t like to sit straight up at all while writing. I am a lounger.
So I haven’t felt much like writing in a damn long time. But I caved and have been sitting up writing this as if I have a 2×4 shoved up (noooo, not shoved up that) the back of my shirt with my head duct-taped to it.
But it is not at all conducive to creativity.
So if you don’t mind I am going to assume my normal Cleopatra-esque writing position here, reclining on my left side with my head tilted to the left, hoping the dizzies will keep at bay – because I have been dying to tell you all this one thing that happened:
h qwpeoi hgpajas ;lhgk.
lkdl lwkneu Piuuake lkwp oiue;lksntnbs;lkjsd. Destiny lsadfoidE!!!! Lhkasdkf[p. l;kjd. lads0ufgh’sdlkj@@R%. HA! Right!? ;lskdfo9lkhetr.
LJlkdf. &4e8#$dafkj8. angels singing 0o9e3r4u daljgj384 adfj[og8add. *&3. O(dlkfa. =profound 4dlkaf*. og[a=adfouk.
*&4ew a’w33rmD 0)(*r WEr9jd’fa09832 dsl never the same kjfa0-9rk=((87r)(r#$. )98r39kjfd. It was (*RJjtrLEUjh;ds life changing (ri;lfgnNcbbvnbk, ever.
Hold on…sitting back up now. Okay. Okay. Definitely spinny but not too bad. That was not as bad a spin session I don’t think.
Soooo….can you BELIEVE that HAPPENED?! Seriously? Seeing that changed my life forever and I hope it has as great an impact on you as it did on me. I had to share it with you. Please take it to heart.
Ah, it feels good to be back.