October 2nd, 2005

face

Vertigo

It was over 10 years ago, when I was working at NWS, that I saw Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. One of my friends who worked there told me it was his favorite movie, and he reacted with horror when he discovered I'd never seen it. The very next day, he handed me the VHS tape to borrow.

I dutifully watched it that night. But I didn't really understand it. I don't know if it was simply that the plot didn't capture my attention enough, or I was extra tired, or what, but it just didn't draw me in. I lost interest but finished watching it anyway, to be polite.

When I returned it, I told him how much I'd loved it. He knew I was lying, and I knew he knew, but I stuck to my story. It was more a fun joke, and it always made us laugh. From then on, I swore to him -- whenever he asked, which was often -- that Vertigo was my favorite movie.

Even though I didn't really get it, and I can't remember the plot. I just remember thinking it was artsy and weird.

So, back to present-day... my weird balance problems have continued all week. They come and go, and sometimes I feel just fine. Then I'll turn my head too fast, look down, or whatever, and I just feel the room spin or wobble a bit. I flop down on my bed at night, and watch the room spin around. But I don't feel like I'm going to pass out or anything.... actually, I kinda feel like I'm a little drunk!

It was kinda fun/interesting at first, but now it's just irksome. Especially since, thursday night, I started feeling nauseous. I sat down, puzzling it over. I hadn't eaten anything bad for me, I wasn't feeling flu-like, I just had mild nausea. Then I realized: I was sea-sick! Well, motion sick I guess, since I was nowhere near the sea. But my locations' habits of spinning had left me feeling queasy.

That's when I decided to ask the Internet what was wrong with me. The internet is both a valuable resource and a terrible curse in situations like this.

It seemed likely to be an ear problem, since I know ears affect your balance. A few searches led me finally to a proper name for this balance oddity: vertigo.

Vertigo, my favorite movie! Perfect.

Then I googled "vertigo causes". Here is where the internet became a curse. I found a nice page detailing causes of vertigo in laywoman-speak. Skimming through it, my eyes stopped on possible cause number six. Multiple sclerosis. I stopped breathing. My dad has MS.

Despite its location six entries down, somehow my finger creeped over and I clicked that link first of all. Meanwhile telling myself in my head how ridiculous I was being. "See," I scolded myself, "less than one percent. See, it doesn't appear until the fourth or fifth decade. I'm not in my fourties yet."

But then the last sentence hit me like trying to catch a bowling ball: ...the average age is approximately 34 years. I'm approximately exactly 34 years old.

Oh right, the thirties IS the fourth decade. Dammit, stupid mathematics, tricking me like that.

So I spent several stressful minutes clicking my way through those links, freaking myself out. Then I gradually started seeing reason again. I don't have any other symptoms. I'm feeling otherwise fine, just a few Alfred Hitchcock issues. I'm being ridiculous.

Finally I forced myself to stop with the dramatics and return to the original page, and I looked at some of the other links. The ones that made a TON more sense, and were listed as more likely causes anyway. Hm, yes, Labyrinthitis, an inner ear inflammation, that sounds exactly like what's bugging me. It certainly is a more realistic and likely proposition, and a far less of an over-reaction. Especially since I've been having some allergy/sinus issues recently.

Despite not sounding like a big deal, the thing does recommend visiting a doctor -- and I've been promising myself I'd see a doctor if it was still going on monday anyway. So if I still have issues tomorrow, I'll give my doc a call. It's time I visited her again anyway, come to think of it.

In the meantime, maybe I'll watch my favorite movie again. Maybe I'll appreciate it better now!

(On the plus side of things, the vertigo thing hardly bothered me at all while biking today. If anything, I felt more stable on the bike than walking around! That's a good thing, and it helped make for a good day. Yay!)