Vertigo is Cruel.
This photo is from last week when I enjoyed a vertigo-free evening with my handsome husband. We danced the night away at a family wedding. He twirled me. He spun me. At one point I did wonder if that was advisable given my vertigo issues, but I was having a rare moment of feeling great, and decided to take in the joy come what may.
And nothing came. I woke up feeing well and thought I had finally put vertigo behind me.
Then yesterday happened.
I had been feeling fine all day. Then without warning I had an intense vertigo flare up while getting out of my car at the grocery store. I thought it would pass as other flare ups have, so I continued inside. Once there, the vertigo intensified. I had instant nausea and I had to lean heavily on the cart just to remain upright. What to do?
I abandoned my list and headed to the check out with whatever was in my cart. I’m still not sure how I even managed to do that. I literally staggered to my car, took anti-nausea medication, racked the seat back and closed my eyes. Right in the middle of the grocery store parking lot. If people were staring, I didn’t care.
As long as I stayed perfectly still I was OK. Any movement at all set the world spinning hard and made me feel like I would vomit. In this setting I had to start problem solving. My husband was out of town on business, my daughter needed to be picked up in 30 minutes, and somehow, I had to get home, which was 25 minutes away. Should I call somebody? Should I get an Uber? Will the medication kick in in time?
I finally decided to go for extreme rest and hope for the best.
After about 25 minutes, I slowly raised the seat upright. I was a little woozy but nothing like before taking the medication. I managed to pick up my daughter, drop her off somewhere else and get home. All without moving my head much, without getting in an accident, and without vomiting. Mission accomplished.
The physical discomfort is the least of this episode. The unpredictability is the problem. I genuinely thought I had moved on from vertigo, and then got fully blindsided at a most inopportune time. It was both scary and sobering.
I am better today. When I got home last night I did something called the Epley Maneuver which helps vertigo. It basically involves laying on the bed with your head off the end and moving it in a particular way.
When I woke this morning, I was literally afraid to get out of bed. By then the medication had worn off and I had no idea what I would be facing. I laid there and read for 30 minutes just to put off the knowing.
When I did get up I felt OK. I wasn’t dizzy, but I felt physically drained and emotionally fragile. I’ve been gaining strength in both departments as the day progresses.
This is a new wrinkle. Is the vertigo gone, or just on break?
I don’t know. I can easily see how this could cause me to limit my activities. I’m going to be cautious in obvious ways like limiting my time on our boat. I’m not going to jump on a trampoline or ride a merry-go-round. But I don’t think I’m going to change anything in my day-to-day life.
I’m not going to be afraid of the prospect of vertigo. Or at least that’s my goal. I’m going to live my life. And if I get dizzy I’ll deal with it.