March 10, 2009

An experiment

Try this:

   Stand up. Bend over as far as you can. Put your head down between your knees. Just hold that position for a minute while I get the camera. Only joking. OK, ready? Now, stand back up as fast as you can. Whoa! Feel woozy? Room spinning? Most people have experienced what is commonly called a "head rush" before. Imagine feeling that way all the time; every minute of every day. Welcome to my world.
   It started with a cold. You know, sore throat, cough, runny nose, sinus congestion. After four or five days with no let-up, I visited my doctor, and she felt there was a good chance it was a bacterial infection, and prescribed some anti-biotics. That afternoon Mr. Vertigo came to visit, and my world, quite literally, turned topsy-turvy.
   For three days I couldn't stand up without the room reeling around me, my stomach roiling and threatening to jettison its contents. I could sit on the couch and read for short periods of time, but would quickly have to retreat to my bed when the dizziness and nausea became overwhelming. Two nights running my wife had to hold my head while I retched over the toilet at 2:00 AM, brought on simply by sitting up in bed to take some cold and sinus medication. Finally, on the third day, she dragged me back to see the doctor again.
   "It's a virus," she said (the doctor). She had made me turn my head this way and that, push or pull back my arms and legs against resistance in a number of positions. She had shined a light in my eyes to check my pupillary response, checked my reflexes with that pointy little hammer, and asked me a myriad of questions - all to rule out a neurological cause. I don't have a brain tumor. "It's a virus," she said. "It's found its way into your middle ear, which is the physical center of balance control for your body." That's why I have to hold onto the walls to walk from the bedroom to the bathroom.
   The worst of it should be over in a week to ten days, she told me, but the balance problems could persist, off and on, for three to six weeks. Three to six weeks! I've already been off work for eight days (and missed six curling games, damn it). Another week, and I'll have exhausted my accrued vacation pay, and be incomeless. And while the nausea has abated, I still feel like I have a head rush for most of every day. I'm unsteady on my feet, slow-moving, and slow-witted.

   Curse you, Rhinovirus!

   On another note, Celle dropped by to say hello the other day. She has a new blog, and is hoping you'll all go visit her. I have no idea who Celle is, or how she stumbled across AWV. Still, she asked nicely.


Anonymous said...

Yuck. Makes me want to wear ear plugs. :)

Hope your recovery is much quicker than the doctor guesses it will be.

émilie b said...

Poor Paul :(
Ditto to what 2writehands said (the last sentence anyway).

I have a bad cold too, and now I'm really hoping it stays the heck away from my ears. In any case, thanks for sharing that piece of scary medical knowledge.

Celle said...

LOL, that was a sweet thing to do --- free advertisement. ;)

I've been having vertigo myself, but mine lasts for a few minutes and it's only happened three times the past month. I've got labyrinthitis, which is more the inner ear. I can't imagine having it for days!

Do you have medication for it?