For the past three weeks I’ve been battling allergy-induced vertigo. This may be the longest bout of it I've had since the first episode 24 years ago.
Vertigo is funny, but not the least bit fun. It’s funny in the same way it was funny when we were kids to spin around and around and around until we could no longer stand erect or walk a straight line. I’m sure it would be equally hilarious to watch this much older version of me navigate a lurching, zig-zag course from the bed to the bathroom, alternately clinging to walls and bouncing off of them as they spin. If it wasn’t for the nausea, I could probably appreciate the humor.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to keep the worst symptoms under control except for one morning and another afternoon. “Under control” in this case means I can function at a minimal level as long as I hold my head perfectly steady. Certain routine tasks become dangerous. If I forget and bend over while filling the dogs’ water dish, emptying the dishwasher, or picking up the newspaper, my body tries to follow my head, and I have to grab onto something to keep from falling. It’s easier to just plant myself in the bed or the recliner and avoid any sudden moves.
Usually I can avoid the full-fledged vertigo by avoiding known allergens or by taking antihistamines at the first sign of a drippy nose or itchy eyes. But if I don't catch it in time -– for example, if it sneaks up on me while I’m sleeping –- I’m in for trouble. All I can do then is double up on the antihistamines, climb into bed, and keep my head perfectly still until the fluid in my inner ears regulates itself. Reading is impossible, and TV isn’t much better. It’s not only a nauseating condition, it’s boring as well.
Yesterday afternoon as I lay flat in the bed, missing the third annual barbecued-rib cookoff at my granddaughter’s house, it occurred to me to wonder why they call this condition “vertigo.” It seems to me that “horizontigo” would more accurately describe it.
I’m hoping that today’s non-stop rain (pushed here ahead of Tropical Storm Fay) will beat all of August’s airborne pollen into the ground. Then, if it would only rain on my household dust somehow, I might get some relief.
Hope to see you soon with a clearer head.