Still Waters: Dizzy dame


For two or three weeks I’d been feeling dizzy. I would get up in the night and feel like the room was spinning. I would close my eyes and hang on to the pillow to keep from getting too nauseous. I hate throwing up so will do about anything to keep from it.

I couldn’t figure it out, because I didn’t think I had changed the way I slept or sat at work or anything. I couldn’t shake it. Even washing my hair in the tub was a life-threatening activity. I would go down in the water and then feel all woozy when I sat up again, clinging to the side of the tub. I decided to take showers on hair-washing nights, much safer.

I could just see the news: Journalist drowns in her own bathtub. Embarrassing. Of course I wouldn’t be around to be embarrassed, but still…

Oso tried to help, of course, and probably would have tried to drag me out of the tub if he needed to. I still weigh much more than he does, although he’s “gaining” on me. Bless his heart. It’s just too hard to turn him down when he wants to share my meals with me, especially when his mouth is on the edge of the cheese quesadilla and he’s pulling it off my lap.

(Oso, “bear,” is my sweet black lab, chow, Shar Pei, or rather “sharpee” since he doesn’t look like a Shar Pei but is certainly a sharp one. He has lived with me since June, and I am grateful every day for his presence.)

Anyway, I finally gave in or gave up and called my long-suffering medical provider John Sisneros for an appointment. He had probably given up on seeing me again. Five years ago he encouraged me to get a colonoscopy, which ultimately led to cancer being caught very early and dealt with through surgery that year. I am very grateful to him for recommending that procedure, especially given my family history, since my mother has had colon cancer, which recurred and spread (she is doing pretty well now, considering, especially since she decided to discontinue chemo treatments that were causing more problems than cure), and her mother had colon cancer, and her mother’s mother had colon cancer …

Anyway, I have not been as good about going back for regular visits in recent years, using the reason or excuse that I just don’t have time.

So it took the dizzy spells to get me back into the clinic.

In his usual kind manner, Mr. Sisneros checked me out and determined I had vertigo, which he actually sees quite often in his practice, he said. (The movie’s not bad either, one of Hitchcock’s best with Jimmy Stewart, but that’s another story.) It can happen as a result of a head injury or something like that, but in my case was probably just the result of age. I am not medically inclined at all but understood something was off in the inner ear (“unbalanced,” which could mean more than one thing in my case.) I didn’t have an infection but just vertigo, which can be treated with medicine and certain exercises, thank goodness.

I remember when my mother had an inner ear infection many years ago and was so debilitated by it she could not even stand up. I am grateful mine was dizziness that was annoying more than anything, although I did feel like passing out a few times, and of course the nausea feeling was very unpleasant.

My little sister has a different type of dizziness and nausea that is not as easy to remedy, and I wish I could make hers go away as easily as mine eventually will.

I just took the first medicine Wednesday night, and it does cause drowsiness, so I was still groggy on Thursday as a result. I think I’ll try half a dose next time.

At any rate, the room will eventually stop spinning and I will be back to as normal as I get before long.

Nevertheless, I think I’ll avoid the merry-go-round.

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