Yesterday morning I woke up around 6 am … then around 7 am … then around 8 am. Each time I woke up I opened my eyes and felt the disturbing sensation as though the room was going to start spinning at any moment. And I thought … uh-oh.
Several years ago, my doctor listened to my questions about bouts of unexplained dizziness, ran a few quick tests, and told me that I probably had BPPV (Benign Proxysmal Positional Vertigo). Which on the one hand was alarming, but on the other hand wasn’t as alarming as my previous theories — that I had a brain tumor or I was going insane. He told me that I should go home and search online for a video of how to to something called the Epley Maneuver. He said that he didn’t want to show me how to do it right there in his office because “… it might make you throw up, and I don’t want you throwing up in here.” He’s very informative, but not always the greatest with the bedside manner.
Anyway, if you’d like to see what the Epley Maneuver looks like and have 40 seconds to spare, then you can check out this video which I keep bookmarked in the “health” folder of my computer. Okay, so you see what a calm, simple process it is? Well, it’s much less calm and simple when I’m doing it. When I’m doing the procedure it looks pretty much the same, only there’s a lot more wincing, and gasping, and cries of AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH, IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!!! OH MY GOD!!! AAAAAAAAAAAGH!!! Because, you see, the Epley Maneuver induces the vertigo, making you feel about a hundred times worse than you did before you started. The end result, of course, is that after you complete the procedure you usually feel better afterwards, because you’ve made all the loose doohickeys in your inner ears slosh back into the right positions. But while the procedure is actually happening it REALLY REALLY SUCKS.
Long story short, I probably should have done the procedure yesterday morning, only I didn’t because … well, because I’m an enormous wuss. Instead I had a cup of coffee and two sinus headache tablets, which made my symptoms more bearable, at least. Then this morning it happened again, so this time I did the maneuver, complete with the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Unfortunately I didn’t really think through the timing of this, because I was going to the chiropractor a few hours later. Going to the chiropractor involves lying down, which you’re not supposed to do after the Epley Maneuver because then your inner-ear doohickeys float back to the wrong places again.
So long story short (really, this time!) I went to the chiropractor, had my usual procedure done, got up from the table, and about a minute later was hit with another terrible wave of vertigo. I have to tell you, Dear Readers, it was a very scary, disorienting, and (to be honest) embarassing experience. I’d already told my chiropractor that this had been happening, so she sat me down and started working on some spots on the back of my neck that she thought might help. She also took my blood pressure, which turned out to be high and not low as she originally expected. Well, it was 140/90. Which isn’t awful, but it’s higher than it should be. She told me that I should check my blood pressure once a day to see if this is part of a larger problem or if it was just because I was in “I’m panicking because the world is spinning” mode.
Okay, so my boyfriend just found the blood pressure monitor he bought a while ago. So as of this moment, my blood pressure is … drum roll please … 117/76. Huh. So that’s not so bad. Maybe I WAS in panic mode earlier. Okay, well, now that I know where the blood pressure monitor is, I’m going to check myself first thing if (God forbid) this happens again.
Anyway, after I left the chiropractor I staggered onto the bus, went back to work, muddled through for several hours but went home early. Because I kept feeling like I was going to keel over or throw up, neither of which are ideal in a public service environment. Or, frankly, any environment. Then my boyfriend picked me up and brought me to Rite Aid, where I discovered that sinus headache tablets were on sale! Woo-Hoo!!! Then we came home, I did the Epley Maneuver again TWICE (*sob*), and I’ve been sitting here with a stiff neck and a stunned expression ever since.
On the plus side, I’m going to be recording a long-overdue podcast tonight about a bad movie. In case you were wondering, this movie is not bad in a good way. It’s bad in an “Oh dear God, NO!!!” way. So anyway, we’ll see if my screwy frame of mind will add fuel to the fire.
On the minus side, the whole “not lying down after the Epley Maneuver” thing means that I have to sleep in a recliner instead of in my bed tonight. Which is really really really going to suck.