When it began, I was in bed.
Asleep, actually. And how odd it is to become suddenly aware that your brain is malfunctioning while in the throes of sleep. But it was Mother’s Sleep, disturbed sleep. That on-alert sleep that hears breathing changes in another room and bounds from the bed at the faintest whimper.
My daughter had crawled into our bed a few hours earlier. How long, I didn’t really know. She was lying on my left arm and I had been stuck n the same position since she snuggled herself next to me. I can’t see without glasses, so at night I can’t read clocks. i operate with a general vagueness, a sense of how long I have been asleep, but unless I am centimeters away from the clockface, the numbers are useless to me.
But I wanted to roll over. And to do that, I’d need to get my toddler out of my bed. I lifted my head and my right shoulder, prepping for a move I have practiced hundreds of times, now. A simultaneous sitting up and scooping lift that will get both of us out of bed and me standing on the floor with as little disturbance as possible. Only this time, the move did’s work.
Instead, I was hit with the surreal sensation that someone had just taken the bed and spun it 360-degreed on its horizontal axis. Predicting that I was not in a Saw movie, and my bed had not suddenly been tied to a rotisserie spit, I knew something was very wrong. i groaned out loud. My husband stirred I begged him, breathlessly, to take Lyra to her room.
In the minute it took him to return, my stomach began to lurch. I was hot all over and so incredibly dizzy. “Are you okay?” he asked me. I told him, “No. I’m dizzy. I can’t move without the room spinning. Something is wrong.” But by the time I had uttered those words, I was already standing up.
“I don’t thing you should stand,” he said.
“I have to,” I panted. “I’m going to throw up.”
A play-by-play of what happened next is unnecessary. Suffice it to say that it would continue every twenty minutes for the next twelve hours. I don’t know how the body manages to produce fluid to vomit when so many hours have passed without the consumption of food or drink. Every movement made my head spin. And every head spin made me convulsively nauseous. A doctor’s visit ruled out head injury and/aneurysm, following a CAT scan and several spewing episodes (BTW, vomiting is a very good way to get taken out of the waiting room and into a patient room before it is actually your turn). I was diagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and given valium along with an anti-nausea medication.
Ten days later, I am not exactly symptom free, but I am much improved. It took six days before I could change positions while sleeping, without experiencing the sensation that I was on the world’s fastest merry-go-round. If I bend over to pick something off the ground, or try to grab something from a high shelf, I experience a loss of balance. Carrying my camera and taking pictures was impossible during the worst days, which unfortunately all overlapped with a month-long photo project I signed up for. But, I’m hoping that in a few more days, more and more normalcy will return.
There are many scary things that having vertigo can be an indication of. But vertigo in and of itself, is somewhat common, and while highly debilitating during the period in which you have it, the condition doesn’t have any long term effects. Though I was diagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, I think it is more likely that I have vestibular migraine or vestibular neuritis. In either case, the two-week run that I am experiencing is pretty common.
It’s fair to say that the couch-bound period has been pretty frustrating for me. I have 1000 creative ideas right now—redecorating projects, photography projects, half-written blog posts that need to be finished. But for now, I’ll leave you with this sneak peak of my first ever maternity portrait session that I shot a couple of weeks, ago. I was terrified to take this project on, but I am thrilled with the results.
More to come, soon. When I am well. Or at least better.