High Anxiety

Last Thursday, in the wee hours of the early morning, I awoke in a cold sweat, with the entire room spinning so badly I could not control it. I’m only now recovering from what I thought was a terrible virus of some sort. The only thing was: unlike most every virus I’ve ever had, this one had no other symptoms: my throat didn’t hurt, I wasn’t coughing. Wasn’t congested in my chest or my sinuses. No, uh, “abdominal issues” (except nausea; see below).

poster for Mel Brooks' 1977 comedy High Anxiety

Those who are tardy do not get fruit cup.


Soooo…turns out that what I had was NOT a virus – although a mild virus may have caused it. Or not. Might’ve just happened on its own. What I had was full-on vertigo. Apparently (and this may be old hat for some of y’all, but it was new(s) to me), we all have these little “grains” in our inner ears. Everyone knows the inner ear is responsible for a human’s sense of balance. But most people don’t experience “dizziness” on the scale I did. I put “dizziness” in quotes because to describe what I experienced as dizziness is an understatement on the order of describing the thermonuclear destruction of Seattle as “a seismic event.” ;o) Turns out these little grains in the ears are the culprits. They’re usually distributed throughout the fluid in your inner ear. But if you get too many of ’em in one place (unevenly distributed), you get this vertigo.

The closest thing I can liken it to would probably be extreme seasickness, or being really, REALLY drunk (but without all the fun “loss of inhibitions” stuff). The kind of drunk where even lying down doesn’t keep the room from spinning. In fact, it makes it worse. For about the first thirty-six hours, I couldn’t even WALK. I had to crawl to the bathroom if I needed to use it…and even then, I fell over. While crawling. That’s how bad it was. I couldn’t read, couldn’t even watch TV for the first couple of days. Just had to sit there and try not to feel nauseated (seasick). I barfed a few times.

The medical types dunno why it happens — these grains getting out of whack. But the end result is two things: one, let’s just say I don’t recommend it. 😉 And, two: through the good graces of modern medicine (Meclizine) and some grain-rearranging exercises (no, really!), I am mostly better. I’m still not entirely sure I should be driving, but my doctor said it ought to be on the wane by now, and he assured me this is temporary. Which is good, because I don’t think I could go through the rest of my life like this. 😉