Sansaku: An Unexpected Journey
I took an unexpected journey this week, and while I didn’t leave home, I’m glad to be back. I took a road trip through the land of sickness. It was a weird one.
I’ve had migraines come on fast, where I barely had time to take shelter, and a toothache that slowly devoured me, but this one sucker punched. I didn’t see it coming.
I knew what it was, I had vertigo, and it felt like a hang-over without the headache. I’ve always been susceptible to motion sickness, and have puked in cars, planes, boats, and amusement park rides. But nothing quite like this.
Because I don’t know much about the condition, I was free to imagine all manner of cause. A friend of mine, who just happened to be suffering from a similar symptom, said he immediately evaluated himself for stroke. I’d spent some time there, too.
He thought his was viral, and would pass in a few days. I wanted to believe that, and waited for the sudden take-off that spun me into nausea to gradually cease. It didn’t.
I was slipping into a depression; I could feel it. I hadn’t posted a blog in days and could only concentrate on one thing. It was spinning me into a state of hyper-vigilance, and I knew what that meant. This was becoming traumatic.
This is why I don’t drink, even though I like to. I hate the spins. I’m probably lucky my body protects me. I might have had potential.
I finally decided to get serious, and it took about a half-hour to properly diagnose myself. I’m grateful for the internet and Dr. Google. I had an odd sounding condition that was common, although I’d never heard of it.
My brand of vertigo was caused by little crystallized ear rocks rolling around in the inner ear. When a clump of them goes rogue and bumps up against a particular structure, it’s instant motion sickness hangover. It’s termed benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
I went looking for treatment and finally found Dr. Susan Foster, of the CU Medical School, on Youtube. She said the magic words I longed to hear, “I know exactly what you have. I’ve had it.”
She described her experience and I laughed in relief. She said, “I woke up one morning and when I rolled over, thought something horrible had happened. The room was spinning out of control. And then I thought, this is what I practice as an ear specialist.”
She then explained a relatively simple home remedy that involved rolling the rogue rocks back to where they belonged. Of course, you had to tolerate the wild ride, and work it through. But it felt like a miracle cure and I shouted, “Hot damn, I’m back.”
There’s a saying about how good it feels when you stop hitting your head. And even electro-shock therapy was developed after observing people coming out of epileptic seizures and feeling calmness and peace. It felt like freedom to me.
I’ve also heard it said that a sickness can take you farther than a trip to Europe. I don’t know about that, but I was definitely grateful to be back home. It was quite a journey.