miriam english (miriam_e) wrote,
miriam english
miriam_e

vertigo

Well, this is perfectly horrible. I woke from a nap today with awful vertigo. As I get very bad motion sickness when my vision of out of sync with my inner ear's motion sensors this is especially nauseating for me. I keep breaking out in cold sweat and worrying that I'm about to lose my last meal. Very annoying.

I'm hoping it is merely that an otolith has come loose from its gravity sensor and is tumbling around in the semicircular canal triggering unexpected signals from my motion sensing hairs. If that's the case there are some simple exercises I can do that cause the otolith to become wedged where it can't cause any more harm. So far these exercises haven't helped.

An alternative explanation that I'm less keen on is that I've somehow poisoned myself. Last night was my once-a-week protein night. As usual I had a can of sardines for the protein.

Having come from a long line of vegetarian apes, we humans are not terribly well adapted to eating meat. Unlike many genuine carnivores, we don't have a liver capable of rendering safe many of the dangerous poisons in unfresh meat. A dog could eat with relish a piece of meat that would quickly kill a human. I'm still alive, so I don't think the sardines were unfresh.

Freshness isn't the only concern. With humanity using the oceans as major dumping places for all kinds of toxins I have to wonder what we take in through fish.

In many parts of the world heavy metal contamination of fish is a major problem. Of the heavy metals, arsenic is the only one that I know of that is associated with vertigo. Unfortunately it often turns up in sardines. A pity, because sardines are exceptionally nourishing for hermits like me.

I also drink well water. The government no longer offers free water testing, which strikes me as very short-sighted. I have no idea whether my water is contaminated with arsenic. It is a very common problem in many parts of the world. We have filters that take out all microbes in the water, along with many of the chemical contaminants. The filters are overdue for changing, so I'll do that tomorrow.

There is another interesting, but disturbing possibility. Over the past week, or maybe a bit longer, I've been feeling an odd kind of vertigo whenever I angled my head to look inside a computer that I was rebuilding for a friend. I thought little of it at the time, but later as it kept recurring when I would put my head at an unusual angle, I began to wonder more about it. I tried closing my eyes and moving my head to induce the feeling, and I didn't fall over, so I figured this wasn't normal vertigo. It wasn't sickening; it just felt weird. I resolved to simply keep an eye on it and see what happens. I really didn't expect this sudden, full-on, stomach-wrenching affliction that hit me today after my nap.

An odd thing about the nap, too. Normally my midday nap lasts only about 20 minutes and I wake refreshed and ready to attack whatever problems I'm working on with a reinvigorated, alert mind. Today my nap was, I think, about 2 hours. That only really happens if I've been neglecting my night-time sleep. But I'm pretty sure last night I got almost a full night's sleep. (I have, however, a terrible sense of time, so I can't be certain.)

If this problem hasn't eased by Wednesday I'll make an appointment with the doctor and take it from there.

Now I'll have my dinner (a lovely bowl of veggies) and hope I can keep it down.

Additional: The veggies were delicious, and I'm feeling much more settled. I still have the vertigo, but it isn't making me feel quite so ill anymore... perhaps because I've been keeping relatively still. I'll be interested to see how I feel in the morning. Early to bed tonight, I think.

Further: I went to bed early, however I only slept about 4 hours before waking again. I was surprised and happy to find I no longer had vertigo. After taking little Nata the dog out for a walk and wee I came back in and succumbed to the lure of the computer. About 3 hours later I noticed the beginnings of vertigo again, so I went back to bed to sleep about another 3 hours. This time when I awoke it was with noticeable vertigo once more. I managed pretty fine in spite of it, then had another nap about midday. I deliberately slept on the side I'd woken on a little after midnight when I'd been free of vertigo. And when I woke from my midday nap I had only very slight vertigo. Excellent.

I rang Mum to tell her about it and she wasn't there, but Dad was so I explained it to him. He surprised me by telling me he'd had short episodes of vertigo for many years, about once a year or so. Oh dear. That may mean I have these "delightful" experiences to look forward to every now and then for the rest of my life. Well, people have worse afflictions. I'm sure I'll manage fine.

(Crossposted from http://miriam-e.dreamwidth.org/329007.html at my Dreamwidth account. Number of comments there so far: comment count unavailable)
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  • 6 comments
Yich, vertigo. It's something I've only rarely experienced and have no great love for, particularly since a few times it involved my passing out.

Has it been coming back much? (Sorry if you've mentioned it since; I'm catching up in chronological order.)

miriam_e

September 19 2015, 07:18:14 UTC 2 years ago Edited:  September 19 2015, 07:19:13 UTC

Hi hon. :)

Holy cow, passing out from it. That would be most unpleasant. What caused yours?

Yeah, I still have it, though it has eased off so that it's just very mild now. The most bothersome aspect now is not the dizziness, which continues, but that I feel light-headed all the time, almost as if I've been hyperventilating. It doesn't seem to affect my ability to think as I've written some nice computer programs in the past couple of weeks. (I am a little concerned that I haven't written any fiction, but being the terrible procrastinator I am, I often go long periods without writing more on my stories, so this might not be related.)

The day after tomorrow I'm finally going to the doctor. It will be interesting to see if he knows what it could be.

One thing that has occurred to me is that it could be a viral infection. One of the bad aspects of that is that they can cause long-term damage to the inner ear. Luckily, we humans are so flexible that we can adjust. I've noticed this already. A few times I've wondered if I still feel odd. I would pause for a moment and realise that, yes, it is still with me. I appear to be adapting even if the initial problem doesn't appear to be going away.

In fact it has a quite nice side-effect. A few times it has caused me to remember feelings I had when much younger when I was in new situations. These were emotions that I'd forgotten. Some of these were quite wonderful. Indeed it has sometimes brought a beautiful freshness to everyday things. Recently I went into the little town near here (just 10 minutes by car) and was walking about with a big smile because it all felt quite so new and bright.

I really do need to sit down and get stuck into some fiction writing though. If I do that tomorrow it will be another thing I can cross off the list of symptoms for when I see the doc the day after.
I am very late in responding to this--it's been in my inbox--but eventually I do try to get around to everything!

I think my vertigo was less the problem itself and more a symptom of whatever else was going on. Once was when I was 14 and in gym class; there seemed to be no reason at all, just one moment I was fine and the next I was dizzy and gravity suddenly seemed strange, then I had dark spots, and the next I was on the floor. It happened again later that year when I had my period--my cycle got worse and worse the more that was done to my hip surgically and the more tension I had.

Nowadays I'll get it at random and I know to sit down. I've got it at the moment so I've got a dog in my lap--you know, just as a reminder not to get up. (; I've always had bad ears that were prone to infection; I wonder if some of the bad ear stuff has to do with it. My balance is fine--much better than average, actually--but I do get these random spells of vertigo or straight-out dizziness. My body is a very strange thing to inhabit; nowadays I don't mind it much. I actually like my odd idiosyncratic body now that it's strong and trustworthy again.

You may have posted after this and I missed it, but what did the doctor say when you went to see thon?

I love the way you describe the remembered feelings, though. I've often felt that with mine. Sometimes it makes a moment feel surreal, almost fictional--in a way I quite like--and other times it has me diving deeper into a moment, as if I can swim in it.

I've been writing most days at work with pen and paper, something I hadn't consistently done in about 10 years (around the first year I did NaNo WriMo, actually!). Now I've got probably 15,000+ words of writing in various notebooks. It's all fanfic for friends at the moment, but I won't be surprised if at some point I go back to original. My next big project once I finish these two stories is to finish the re-write of my novel from my first NaNo WriMo. I was really getting into it when November ended and I had to move on to Real Life things (alas). I've always dreaded rewrites, but now I wonder why: it's actually quite fun! I get to take a story that I'm not proud of writing-wise and turn it into something I like better; I get to reconnect with old characters that I like at the same time.

(And the more pressure I put on my body with a day job on my feet the more tempted I am to start churning out lesbian/queer novels every month or few, perhaps chapter-by-chapter, and perhaps accepting requests!)

I've got a short story of yours up as a tab on my desktop computer (I'm on my laptop at a teen/petsitting gig). I hope I get to read it soon!

miriam_e

January 24 2016, 16:23:29 UTC 1 year ago Edited:  January 24 2016, 16:31:57 UTC

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I saw the doctor and that he diagnosed it as a loose otolith. I have done the exercises that help it roll into a part of the inner ear where it jams and doesn't rattle around loose anymore to disturb my motion sensors. The vertigo gradually decreased and ceased. I don't really know if the exercises helped or not.

I'm glad you're feeling better these days. Passing out can be quite dangerous. I'm relieved you've developed strategies for dealing with it.

I've always had very low blood pressure and used to often become dizzy upon standing suddenly, especially in my wayward youth when I used to smoke weed. (I don't use any kinds of drugs nowadays -- not even caffeine.) We have a reflex that tightens the muscles that line the blood vessels in our extremities when we stand in order to maintain blood pressure in the brain. If the reflex is slow to act (e.g. you're tired or off-color) then your brain quickly stalls due to lack of blood. There are tricks you can use to prevent this happening. Standing on tiptoe tightens the calf muscles and can force blood pressure back up for the brain. I would often bounce on tiptoe and clench my hands as well as my abdominal muscles. Sometimes lifting my arms above my head helped a little too.

Of course my strategies only work for faintness from low blood pressure. High blood pressure can also cause blackouts. My tricks would wouldn't help there -- they'd worsen it.

I'm glad you're writing regularly. My current novel has ground to a stop. I wish I would get back to it. I've had visitors over the past month which tends to tip my life upside down. But they'll all be gone in another week so I'm hoping I'll get back to writing then. However I have been creating covers for some of my books. You can see them at the top of the stories page on my website http://miriam-english.org/stories/index.html and larger versions when you click on the thumbnails. Most recently I've worked on covers for my "Shirlocke" and "Companions" books. And I've been sketching some pictures to illustrate some of my short stories, most especially "Pet" and "Dragon". I'd love to make a comicbook of some, but I fear I'm too slack and way too slow.

Speaking of comicbooks, I've recently bought two absolutely wonderful ones: "Lovelace and Babbage" and "Logicomix".

The first is quite a large book about Ada Lovelace (the world's first computer programmer) and Charles Babbage (the first person to design a general-purpose computer) way back in Victorian England in the age of steam. You can see some the artwork and writing by incredibly talented Sydney Padua at http://sydneypadua.com/2dgoggles/the-book/ I love her work. She has put so much research into it and conveys reams of information in a delightfully humorous and quirky manner.

The second book at http://www.logicomix.com/en/index.html is equally large, but is more serious and details the life of philosopher/pacifist/maths-logician Bertrand Russell, who became obsessed with attempting to unify maths and logic and place both on a firm foundation. Sadly, he abandoned it after decades of work when Kurt Godel presented his incompleteness theorem. The whole story is amazing. (Even more sadly, I don't think he should have given up as I've come to believe the paradoxes Godel used to "break" poor Bertrand's work can actually be embraced by maths and logic. The pendulum in every clock, the vibrating strings in musical instruments, and the light switches in every home are working examples of paradoxical objects because they have unstable or multiple states.)

Great to hear from you and that you're well and happy.
I'm glad the vertigo ceased, at least! (Ahem. Didn't mean to rhyme there.)

Oh, I love your covers! The 'Companions' one is my favourite, I think, though I may be biased as I adore hands. ;D Stories with author illustrations are some of my favourite and I love your art; I'm sure they'll be excellent. I would absolutely read a comicbook of yours! I'll have to check out the two you mentioned. They sound fascinating and I love comicbooks based on things other than superhero culture.

Looking at your website always reminds me of how much I want to make one for my own works, but I never get around to it. One of these days, when I've decided what I would put up and what I would keep to myself. (It's always a question of what I might want to try getting traditionally published in the future.)

miriam_e

January 26 2016, 08:07:01 UTC 1 year ago Edited:  January 26 2016, 08:10:28 UTC

Thank you for the nice words.

Oh, you would love the enormous, long-running comicbook "Strangers in Paradise". It is one of my all-time favorites. Written by Terry Moore, it is the story of a very unusual love relationship between two best friends, Katina and Francine. Katina (everybody calls her "Katchoo") is in love with Francine, but Francine is not sure about her feelings for Katchoo. The series is enormous, running for more than 2,200 pages -- 6 thick volumes. It is part romance, part adventure, with spies, detectives, organised crime, assassins, and more (no superheroes or supernatural stuff). Running through it all is this golden thread woven around comedy, heartbreak, suspense and sweet love. It is a monumental achievement. Terry Moore drew the artwork and wrote the story. Amazing.
http://www.strangersinparadise.com/

If you want a web presence I'd be happy to help you set one up (free) on my site. If you have a domain name (for example, http://cranky-crocus.com) you could point it at your webpages hidden in my site. That way you'd have your own web address instead of being a subdomain of miriam-english.org (even though it would really be hiding there). Later, when you're happy with it and felt confident getting your own site I'd help you move to your own, separate webhost elsewhere.