Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just call me dizzy... and an AMAZING video

For the past three weeks, I've been a dizzy dame, and not in a "fun" sense. I have been diagnosed with what's known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV. Basically, it means that my head spins with sudden movement, whether I'm laying down or standing, picking something up from the floor, or reaching for the top shelf. Driving is an impossibility because shoulder checks just don't work. Simple tasks like unpacking groceries or making the bed take a long time. This morning I took a walk around the neighbourhood with two friends who let me hold onto them as if I was a ninety-year-old woman who is unsteady on her pins, which is true, except I'm only half of ninety.

This same thing happened to me five years ago after a day surgery. At the time, I blamed it on the anaesthetic, but this time, I'm suspecting it came out of the blue then, as it has now. I haven't bonked my head on anything recently; I haven't had an ear infection or even a common cold. There's no excuse for my dizziness, which means it's idiopathic, occurring for no known reason.

So, what to do? Well, the last time around, I waited it out, mostly. It took three months before my body got rid of whatever was causing the problem and I went back to life as usual. I visited doctors and saw a physiotherapist who gave me some exercises that included walking up and down my hallway, focusing on a picture to my right until I'd passed it, then one to my left until it was behind me, turning my head this way and that, over and over. The physio also did something called the Epley manoeuvre, a turning of my head in different directions in an effort to move the crystals that might be causing the imbalance in the semi-circular canal in my ear, and perhaps that helped. I hope it helps again when I see him this week.

Having vertigo again after being so healthy for the five years since the last bout has brought home to me once again the marvel of nature, of the human body. Everything works so well most of the time... but get a few little ear crystals in the wrong place, and they set off chaos that stops me in my tracks. My neighbour down the street broke her arm somewhere close to her elbow last week, and now she has a full arm cast that means she can't drive either (and dressing herself is a trick too, I imagine). Nature's balance is a delicate thing, and it's so easy to lose sight of that fact until something unbalances.

So, though I'm frustrated by my present unbalance, I'm also trying to appreciate the places where balance exists. I'm grateful for the fact that this vertigo has nothing to do with brain tumours or Meniere's Disease. A few weeks of dizziness is but a speck in time when I really think about it, so rather than complain any more than I have, I'll save my breath for prayers for the people who live with frequent attacks of dizziness. I'm appreciating the friends and family who have supported me these last three weeks by helping me do things and go places, and I'm looking forward to getting back to life as usual.

This morning my friend Mark sent me this completely amazing, two minute video of an incredible and balanced murmuration of starlings that blew my mind. Kudos to the girls who got such wonderful footage! It made me think about the fact that, even though so much in our world is imbalanced and out of kilter, nature does these inexplicably amazing and wonderfully balanced things. If we can stop life's dizzying pace and make ourselves aware of our connectedness with every living thing and our need to live in harmony within life's web, nature's balance will be enhanced in our world... and our bodies.

Have a balanced day!


  1. I have a girlfriend who suffers from this as well. Even unloading the dishwasher can put her in bed for a week if she is not slow and careful. I am sorry that you have been dealing with this. Best of luck and keep moodling!

  2. Thanks, Nature Girl. I'm supposed to get some physio exercises to fix me, and I can pass them along for your friend if she likes.


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