As it turns out, Vertigo isn’t just a great Hitchcock movie, or a psychological condition associated with fear of heights. Its a fun condition of headaches and dizziness, and I have it right now. I have had a cold for the last week or so, nothing that slowed me down, just blowing my nose and sneezing a lot. I also noticed that I was getting dizzy after riding the superfast elevators in the office building where I have been temping. In fact, my normally antisocial self would actually be relieved if others got on and off with me to break up the ride a bit.

And if I was in a car going to the top to bottom of a hill – pretty common here in the hills of North Van – my ears would get all plugged up and I would have to squeeze my nose and equalize, a technique learned from scuba diving, to ease the pressure.

On Friday, while sitting and reading the papers over at the folk’s house, I began to feel all dizzy just sitting there. It went on and on, my dad was talking to me, and I was trying to concentrate and respond, all the while feeling faint and woozy. He said I should go lay down, but the feeling continued even horizontally. I know that anxiety can mask itself as a lot of physical things, but I couldn’t help thinking I was having some sort of premature stroke. My mom, a pharmacist came home, and helped me take my blood pressure. Depressingly normal. What the fuck is going on? Thinking perhaps that I was dehydrated, I drank a couple glasses of water and ate some dinner. All better then, I then went to my sister’s house to see my little niece. (Damn, she’s cute. I just made her a pretty little hat.)

When I got home, the dizziness returned. I finished watching Say Anything, and went to bed, trying to relax, still woozy. I woke up and felt my feet going numb and sore. Damn this was getting weird. I decided to call emergency, not knowing if immediate help was crucial or not, but thinking its better to call and find out its something stupid than not getting help and finding it isn’t just something stupid.

The paramedics came in about half an hour; on a Friday night they were no doubt busy peeling West Van kids from the pavement who had been racing Dad’s BMWs and Mom’s Jeep Cherokees. They came into the living room, one taking my blood pressure and pricking me with the pulse monitor, while the other asked about my symptoms and general health. And so, with my cold and habit of equalizing pressure all the time, plus those fun elevators, he diagnosed me with vertigo.

His explanation of why this happened didn’t really become any clearer after reading this article, but basically I have been abusing my little inner ears that help control balance. But I am glad it is mild, and I can still move around without being all nauseous or spinny. Taking some decongestants really helped too.

So, I said to the paramedics, I’m not dying then? No, they said, not for another 65 years or so.

Advertisements