I have nothing of import to write, and yet, I feel compelled. It really is my therapy I guess, and cheaper than talking my fool head off to someone with a few fancy schmancy letters after their name while they work on their weekly menu plan.
My incredibly talented writer friend Amy, who is disciplined, determined, fearless and above all....published...tells me; "JUST WRITE. Write about anything. It doesn't matter what. It's who you are and writing is like breathing for you."
So I thought I would just tell you about the very weird thing that happened to me this week.
Now, first, you have to understand that at least once a day, I convince myself that I am dying. It's an affliction that I come by honestly. My entire family tree is riddled with phobias, fears, disorders and neuroses.
And unfortunately, the worrywart gene has been passed on to my children. Once, when Pubescent One was in the second grade, I was called to retrieve him from school because he was writhing and howling in pain; clearly in the throes of some sort of gastrointestinal crisis.
The school nurse, who was a pretty unflappable sort (as school nurses are wont to be), was convinced he had a hot appendix, a perforated colon, or at the very least, a whopping case of food poisoning.
As we raced to the emergency room, he howled and sobbed, effectively freaking me right the fuck out. This, I knew, was serious. At one point, he stopped sobbing long enough to ask me if lead was poisonous, to which I obtusely replied, "Well, only if you eat it".
This elicited fresh howls, which were even more frantic, more agonized and decidely louder in volume. I began to get a glimmer of a clue, but before I put two and two together and come up with four, he wailed,
"MOOOOOOOOMMMMM, (sob, heave, sob)Iwaschewingonmypencilandpencilsaremadeoutofleadandnow
"But babe, pencils are made out of graphite. They stopped making them out of real lead a long, long time ago."
The howls stopped immediately. I looked in the rearview mirror to see that although he was still ashen and sweaty, he had stopped crying and clutching his stomach.
"Really?" he asked cautiously.
He puked with relief at a gas station up the road and that, as they say, was that. Mission ER - aborted.
I tend to convince myself quite often that I have some horrible deadly affliction. Gas? Colon cancer. Headache? Anuerysm. Pimple? MRSA. Weird flaky spot on the back of my knee? Necrotizing faciaitis.
See a pattern here?
I don't know why this is. I suspect its due to generalized anxiety disorder combined with the lack of a spiritual belief system. I would love to believe in heaven or reincarnation. But when it comes right down to it, I think dead is just dead. And that scares the ever loving shit right out of my cancer ridden ass.
So Monday morning I awoke feeling rather good, which is unusual for me, as I am a life long insomniac and usually awake feeling rather sluggish and groggy and thoroughly disgruntled that a new day has dawned.
I yawned and stretched in a most satisfying way. And then...
Before I had even raised my head off the pillow, the room began to whirl violently around me. I couldn't focus, I couldn't move, and a gray haze began to envelope me.
Honestly, my first thought was...I knew it! I knew I had an aneurysm. I guess it finally blew. I'll just lie here and wait to die. So tragic. I never got to say good-bye to my husband and kids. It's going to be so traumatic for them to find me here like this and....
I realized the room had stopped spinning. I put two fingers to the artery under my jaw and found to my profound shock, that I had a pulse.
I sat up cautiously with no ill effects. I then rose to my feet, whereupon the whirling sensation returned. I staggered to the bathroom and vomited copiously. Trembling, I crawled back to the bed and began to take stock. It wasn't a stroke because I had no neurological deficit (I did the finger to the nose test, and the follow it with your eyes not your head test), no weakness and no paralysis. So, what was it? MS? Brain tumor? Slow leak of cerebrospinal fluid?
All the morbid possibilities were giving me a major anxiety attack. So I went back to sleep, hoping it would all be gone when I woke up. I call that "The Ostrich Defense" and I have raised it to an art form.
It wasn't gone. Every time I rolled over in my sleep, it provoked another attack of vertigo. And so it went for two days before I finally called the doctor to make an appointment. I had divined by then that I wasn't going to die, so I wasn't in any big hurry to take my whirling head and churning stomach out of the house.
Vomiting anywhere but my own toilet elicits extreme dread in me. Actually, vomiting in and of itself elicits extreme dread in me. I will do anything to avoid vomiting because in the back of my mind...way, way back where I won't have to acknowledge how terrifficly foolish it is, there lurks the fear that I will vomit up vital organs.
Well whaddya know, another phobia.
So I stayed flat on my back, again...hoping it would just go away.
It didn't go away and I was forced to admit that I needed medical attention. Did I mention that despite my fear of being beset by catastrophic illness, I am a chronic doctor avoider? Yeah. I hate going to the doctor. A lot. Don't ask me how long it's been since I had a gyno exam. And don't lecture. I know. Forget cancer, I'll probably die of a simple case of crotch rot.
Then, by chance, an internet acquaintance happened to mention that she had suffered from the same thing. She said it was called BPPV (Benign Paroxsysmal Positional Vertigo) and that it was actually very easy to treat. In fact, I could do it at home. All I had to do was hang my head upside down.
PUH. I thought. I'm, like DYING here. I need interfuron or a lobotomy or something!
But later, in the wee morning hours, sleepless, dizzy and sick, I decided to give it a go, despite the rather daunting fact that hanging my head upside down might cause the theoretical aneurysm in my head to blow.
So I tried the Epley maneuver (see above link). I was dubious. Because *I* would never suffer from something that could be treated so simply and easily. Nosir. *I* would contract something horribly obscure, requiring some exotic, costly and most of all...painful, treatment.
But I'll be goddamned if it didn't work.
I gotta tell you, hanging my head backwards like that triggered one bitch of a vertigo spell and I nearly heaved my guts right into my own nose. But once I got past that, it was easy and painless.
I could tell as soon as I sat up that the vertigo was gone.
And I can tell you that apart from that moment when my children finally exited my womb (GOD, didn't you just feel SO much better when that kid was OUT of you???), I have never felt so relieved in my life.
The human body is an amazing and complex machine. And this old machine is breaking down piece, by piece, by piece.
SIGH. I guess I better take the ole girl in for a tune-up.
I really hate that.