When I woke up this morning, I did what I have become accustomed to doing lately. I sat up slowly and then gave myself a minute to readjust. Hmm. Nothing seemed to be spinning. I stood up. Still no spinning.
It was the first time in a week that I have woke up in the morning, and I didn’t feel dizzy. It all started when we drove home from the Smoky Mountains last Monday. Every morning and evening, I would have bouts of dizziness. By the weekend, I was feeling pain and pressure in my left ear. I assumed I had an ear infection because my 10-year-old also was having ear pain and was diagnosed with an ear infection.
By Sunday, I was so dizzy and nauseous that I could barely make it through what I needed to do at church before I went to Immediate Care. I was officially diagnosed with vertigo.
I know it kind of sounds like a joke. Maybe I’ve just watched too many Alfred Hitchcock films. But it really wasn’t funny.

To try to cope with a world that is always in motion is maddening. It gave me a constant headache and nausea. At its best, it was like being car sick all of the time.

During the past few days I also have gained a better understanding of what it would be like to lose my brain function. I spent most of the time lying down or sleeping. (The doctor prescribed medicine for motion sickness, which actually made it difficult to stay awake.) I found out that the key was to move my head as little as possible. If I did need to turn my head, I had to do so slowly. 

Although the dizziness was horrible, the scariest part for me was my inability to focus or answer simple questions. When I got to the doctor’s office, the nurse started asking me routine questions, such as, “Are you allergic to any medication?” OK. I have answered that question many times in my life.

“I know the answer,” I said slowly.

Then it was like I had to dive into a deep ocean and swim around trying to find the information. This has happened to me numerous times over the past few days.

I feel like I need to apologize to my brain for taking it for granted. I have spent way too much time thinking about what it would be like if I were to permanently lose brain function. And I now have a lot more sympathy for older people or those who have gone through a stroke who have to cope with the loss of their brain’s ability to work properly.

This morning, it was a huge relief to wake up to a room that wasn’t spinning. I’ve been told by lots of people that once you have experienced vertigo, you are likely to get it again. But I am hopeful this is the end of my roller coaster ride.

dec2010emily

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