My Swiftly Tilting Planet

On the Tuesday before Christmas, when my husband was on vacation, we took our boys to a water park, located at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville.

This is the place where they house the Spruce Goose and lots of other vintage aircraft, in two gigantic, glass-fronted hangars. Last June, the museum opened an indoor water park in a third hangar. There is a wave pool, a water feature for toddlers, a regular pool (complete with basketball hoops), and four huge swirly slides, which begin inside a hollowed-out, 328,000-pound 747, which is perched on top of the building.

Very cool.

Since our boys are only 3 and 5, hubby and I had to go down the slides with them (which meant I had to get into a bathing suit, which is not quite the jolly fun it once was. Alas.) During my first trip down the slides, I got a very strange, light-headed feeling. That’s weird, I thought. Since I had no other choice, I decided to ignore it.

So we kept going down the slides, and into the wave pool, and into a round section of the regular pool that has jets that shoot you around in a tight circle – hubby dubbed it the “toilet bowl.” All in all, it was a very fun day. The boys were in Heaven.

By 5:00 the next morning, I was in Hell.

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve been plagued with motion sickness. I had to quit gymnastics when I was five, because the tumbling gave me headaches. If I go on roller coasters that go upside down, I emerge dizzy and nauseous. It’s very unpleasant for me to ride in the back of cars. I am a hoot and a half to live with, obviously.

Still, I’d never experienced full-blown vertigo before.

I woke up that next morning feeling nauseous, and when I sat up in bed and swung my legs over the side, the room started spinning like a tilt-a-whirl. I staggered to the bathroom like a drunken coed, then back to bed. When I lay down, everything started spinning again. It was nightmarish.

It got worse.

Every time I sat up, laid back, turned my head to the side, or turned over in bed, the contents of my head spent 10-20 seconds doing swift laps inside my skull. I didn’t get much sleep at night, because every time I turned over in bed, the spinning would wake me up.

After spending some time on the internet, I decided I had Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

By the second day of this, I was so miserable I went to the doctor – something I had not done for any non-pregnancy-related issue in about 8 years. The doctor confirmed the vertigo diagnosis, wrote me a prescription for an over-the-counter medication I was already taking (thanks, doc), and said that I had to let nature take its course. Unless it got worse, in which case I’d have to see an ENT.

It’s an awful feeling to lie on the couch and watch the ceiling do 360-degree turns, as though your body were actually rotating that way. I didn’t even know the human eye could do such a trick.

Several days into the BPPV, I went on-line and found some exercises that would relieve the symptoms. They involved sitting on the edge of a bed and then lying back, turning over, and sitting up – sounds simple, right?

The minute I laid back that way, my head would start slamming around so violently, I felt like I was going to be thrown off the bed. It was not painful, exactly, but during those 15 seconds (each time), it was as horrible as natural labor. I cried out. I clutched at the bed. I may have kicked my legs, like a downed horse.

Hubby had to sit next to me and hold my hand and count to 30 and pray, throughout.

The worst of the vertigo lasted for about 3 weeks (and my head is still not quite right, although it no longer spins.) Somewhere in the middle of all this, because this is the kind of crap your body pulls when you wait until your late-30’s to have babies, my sciatic started acting up.

On New Years Day, I got up and started to make cranberry-orange scones, my husband’s favorite. I had a “perfect storm” of ridiculousness going on: my low morning blood-sugar, my still-spinning head, and intense pain in my back. One minute I was sifting flour and trying to pull up a chair to sit on.

The next minute, I was lying down, wondering why my bed was so cold. Once I could open my eyes, I realized I was lying on the kitchen floor. The last time I’d fainted, I was 9 years old.

My husband found me there, and got all endearingly frantic, but I made him prop me up on the chair so I could finish making the scones. No way is my craptastic body is going to keep me from some delicious baked goods.

My sciatic continued to bother me, daily, until this last Sunday, when we chained up the truck and took the boys to Mt. Hood to play in the snow. I spent the afternoon sledding and trudging up hills, which apparently is just the thing for a bad sciatic, because it hasn’t bothered me a bit, since.

Moral of the story? I see several. If you suffer from motion sickness, don’t go on really loopy water slides. If your sciatic is acting up, find some snowy hills to go sledding on (and I am not a doctor, so you’d best ignore that one.) And, as always, my number one piece of advice – unless you are some sort of Olympic athlete, DO NOT wait until middle-age to start having babies.

Your body will find all sorts of ways to pay you back.


8 thoughts on “My Swiftly Tilting Planet

  1. OMG this is so me! Not the full vertigo, but the motion sickness for stupid reasons. I cannot ride in the back of cars. I cannot spin around on an office chair. Do not even talk to me about roller coasters. I feel horrible for you, because I can just imagine what it would be like to have it so much worse for a time. You poor thing!

    • Well, of course…we are twinsies. There is a reason we have spent much of our lives with our noses in books.

      Also…Dude…NEVER go on those twisty water slides, or you will be hating life for a very long time. Imagine the worst it’s ever been and then quadruple it.

  2. Your word pictures are priceless! I’m sorry to laugh at your expense but, well, some good has to come out of your pain. Love you my friend!

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