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Vertigo - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
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!)

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specialagentm From: specialagentm Date: October 2nd, 2005 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had episodes like this on and off for a while (actually, I still have them on some rare occasions). It mostly seems to be a sinus issue, I'm sure one look at your ear/nose/throat situation will find something like that. If not that, maybe your blood sugar levels are off?

Hope you feel better! Oh, and give "Vertigo" the movie another chance, I actually do think it's one of my favorite films.
atdt1991 From: atdt1991 Date: October 3rd, 2005 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)
My grandmother would get serious vertigo rather frequently. We think it was because there was serious mold in the basement of her house, and since she almost never left the house at the time, it affected her in dozens of ways, including her inability to sweat.

When she moved to florida for awhile, these effects all disappeared.

You should totally join a_secret_smile, Rennie :)
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: October 3rd, 2005 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Vertigo is a scary condition, to be sure.

The film, however, is a meditative study of madness and love. It's worth a second look.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: October 3rd, 2005 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd have a check up anyway if I were you.

To confirm your diagnosis Dr. Karen.

When was your last physical?
thenisaid From: thenisaid Date: October 3rd, 2005 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Good luck with the doc! I have certainly been having sinus issues lately, as have a lot of my friends. Currently I'm doing Mucinex to allow it all to drain, and that's making me feel a lot less like my head is stuffed with cotton wool. But do see the doc. I had vertigo for a couple of years once, and it's a totally sucky experience.
ellison From: ellison Date: October 3rd, 2005 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, getting checked out is a good idea. I had some vertigo for a while, and mine turned out to be diet-related. And yeah, sinus/ear problems suck when it comes to giving people vertigo - ugh. Anyway, I'm sorry to hear that the internet scared you! That happens sometimes! The internet - a blessing, and a curse, hehe! Anyway, I hope you figure out what's up and get it treated soon, so you can feel better. Good luck!
(no subject) - davehogg - Expand
mrs_sweetpeach From: mrs_sweetpeach Date: October 3rd, 2005 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
If you have seasonal allergies, there's a very good chance that they are behind your recent experience with vertigo. A week or two ago I thought I had a double ear infection and took myself to the doctor. Turns out I didn't have an active infection, but that allergies had caused my Eustachian tubes to swell and that my ears could no longer drain. The doctor warned that there would be a very good chance I would experience vertigo until the swelling went down. He also mentioned that he's been seeing a great number of patients with problems related to allergies recently. All I can figure is this year's weather has been ideal for ragweed and other common allergy-related plants.
devnul From: devnul Date: October 3rd, 2005 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I will second mrs_sweetpeach's comment about allergies bringing this condition on. I've had nearly the same thing happen due to (in my case) spring allergies swelling things up in my inner ears.
thatguychuck From: thatguychuck Date: October 3rd, 2005 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you're going to the doctor. And I don't think it's anything serious, but I understand nervousness. I'm glad you're going to find out what it is instead of it driving you mad with "what if's"?
johnridley From: johnridley Date: October 3rd, 2005 10:36 am (UTC) (Link)
My first suspicion would be an inner ear infection. Go get it checked out, it should be easy enough to fix if that's the problem, and if it's something else, the sooner you figure out what it is, the better the chances of fixing it.

I'd go to the doctor anyway. Even if it stops bugging you, some infections have a bad habit of lurking around in sub-symptomatic hibernation, then flaring up when you're under stress and don't need any more irritation. Also, who knows if it's sitting there active enough to slowly damage your hearing but not enough to feel anything?
cannibal From: cannibal Date: October 3rd, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Please see your doctor, sweetie. Hugs.
From: bloggingchick Date: October 3rd, 2005 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have the same problem about once a year. Mine is caused by the fluid in my semi-circular canals going bad. About the only treatment is antihistimines until the dizziness goes away. The worst case I had was bed spins for 3 days. (no, no alcoholic beverages were involved). Also try Merck.com. That's where I get my ear info. I'm not saying don't go to a doctor, rather DO. It's just a good source of info.

BTW I tried several times to watch Vertigo when it would be on AMC & never got into the plot either. I too couldn't tell a person what it's about.
jagdoe From: jagdoe Date: October 4th, 2005 01:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I had what I think was Labyrinthitis about a month or so ago. I was told to take Meclizine HCl 25 mg (available over the counter as an antiemetic for sea-sickness) three times a day for ten days. My inner ear thing went away eventually. The drug should otherwise be harmless.
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