Sunday, August 24, 2008

As the world turns

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.


  1. Ugh. I hope you feel better soon.

  2. Dang! And you just happen to live in the allergy corridor of the world. I'm amazed you managed to get to your computer long enough to write an entry. Take good care of yourself and I hope your head settles down soon! Carmon

  3. Oh, I do empathize! I have allergies, too, but fortunately for me that hasn't let to vertigo (which I agree is a misnomer}. For whatever reason, mine have been worse this year and while they don't lead to vertigo, they do frequently lead to asthma and I walk around with an inhaler in my hand all day. A real pain for both of us! Hope you feel better very quickly!

  4. Been there, done that and hope it doesn't return. I went years between bouts and then BOOM! When that one was over I just kept hoping that it would never return. So far it hasn't but that doesn't mean I have thrown away my pills! I have anti-nausea pills and they - the MD's - say that "it is better if you can take it and not use them". They do not know what triggers my attacks. I can empathize with you and hope you never have to suffer again.

  5. I had one attack when I first moved to Texas and I thought it was a brain tumor! Doctor said, you'll get used to it. But I never had another one, now I just sneeze, itch and get sore throats (like the one I have now). I'm wondering what they did in pioneer times, the pollen was here then too. Hope you get better soon.

  6. Oh Velvet! I hope you feel better!! My mom has vertigo and suffers so!

    Take care of yourself!

  7. I've had problems with allergies for a few weeks now, I don't remember having so much trouble before. Maybe I can blame it on global warming.

    I haven't had vertigo, I've been a bit dizzy at times but nothing like you have. My mom has atherosclerosis and has constant vertigo-some days are better than others, so I know what you're going through.

  8. alliergies are a pain in the head!

  9. I know Velvet has a lot of readers and I hope she doesn't mind me posting this here but the area she's in (I have family there too) is predicted to be without power for another 10-14 days as of 4:30 p.m. CST 9/4.

    Velvet and everyone down there - I pray you are all safe and not too terribly hot and uncomfortable!


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