All my adult life, I’ve had what I call occasional “dizzy spells”. One moment, all will be fine, and the next moment, it’s like some giant hand took the ground below me and tilted it quickly one way and then the other, leaving me with a spinning, unsettled sensation in my head. Sometimes the feeling lasts for just a few seconds after I steady myself, and sometimes a vague feeling of motion in my head lasts the rest of the day. Usually, it is associated with a certain point of my, ahem, female cycle, so I’m not all that surprised by it. It’s more of an annoyance than anything.
Today, I’ve been either violently dizzy or vaguely dizzy for over 12 hours. The past few hours have been the best. When I first woke up, at 6:00, I was trying to find my phone to turn off my alarm–no work for my husband and no school for our son because it was a “Hurricane Day”: the county shut down almost everything official in anticipation of “Isaac”, which ended up veering westward and just giving us lots of rain. As I reached for my phone, I knocked it off the nightstand and onto the floor. Without getting all the way out of bed, I leaned over the edge of the mattress as far as I could, fumbling to make the cheery jingle stop (please, please, stop!). That motion of leaning my head down initiated the horrible spinning. As I placed my phone back on the nightstand, and my head back on the pillow, I prayed that by the next time I moved around, the world would be steady again.
6:30 brought the first calls of “Mommy!”. Looking back, maybe I should have just asked my husband to go upstairs to her room instead of me. Knowing my little girl, though, and her obsessive desire for the familiar (Mommy always gets her in the morning), I pushed my own disequilibrium aside and somehow crept up the stairs. Once I was up there, though, I didn’t move a millimeter if I didn’t have to. Little Girl was content to just have my company as she played with stuffed animals in her bed. Soon, her brother came in to join us. By that time, I actually texted my husband, who was enjoying a few more moments of sleep, for help. I knew I would not be able to safely get the kids downstairs and through breakfast feeling this way.
How much of a blessing was this “hurricane day”? Well, if his office hadn’t been closed, Dear Husband would have been ready to head out for a busy morning of work. If school hadn’t been closed, I would have gotten up with my alarm, having to either push through the dizziness (which didn’t seem possible) or figure out another way to get our son to school. I know I wouldn’t have been able to drive. As it was, the kids and I had no morning plans. My husband was planning to assist with a surgery, but that wasn’t until midday. How wonderful it was just to be perfectly still while the kids played with their daddy. How reassuring it was just to have my husband nearby, not just from a medical standpoint, but mostly from a personal one!
Slowly, we made it down to the table for breakfast. That’s when I got a most lovely surprise. My sweet boy disappeared for a few moments, and when he returned, he placed on the table my hairbrush, hairspray, makeup, mirror, deodorant, a container of Aleve, and a Bible. I guess the teeth could wait to get a brushing, or probably that was all he could carry. Then, he went over the sofa and made me a “sick nest”, which is something I always do for him when he is sick–like every day last week! Perhaps in his suffering from strep so often, he developed another level of sympathy. I was quite moved by his compassion and action! As I finished my breakfast, he sat down next to me and read from the Bible. (In case you’re wondering, he picked Daniel 5.)
I started to gradually feel better as the morning went on, but I was happy to let the kids sit next to me in the sick nest and watch way more than 15 minutes of a movie, which is our usual limit in one sitting! By the time my husband was ready to leave to check on a patient and help with the surgery, I was dressed and able to move pretty normally. He did spend a few minutes leading our son through the exact steps he should take to call Daddy in case anything happened to Mommy. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve fainted a few times, and none of those times have been in my husband’s presence; and one time was when I was home alone with my son, who was a toddler at the time. There’s a little bit of healthy fear in all of us when we see any warning signs of fainting, even though I’ve been on medication to prevent it for a few years now. I am pretty familiar with how I feel before I faint, and that’s not how I was feeling: it was “just” dizziness.
The day passed with no incidents, and with each hour, I felt better. While sitting in my daughter’s room as she settled down for her nap, I Googled “dizziness” to see what I could rule out and what I could consider. I’m not surprised that dizzy patients are some of the most confounding that my husband sees–there are so many possible causes. I ran through my mind anything that I might have done differently over the past day or so. I’ve had a cold all week, and last night, I took a cough suppressant medication when I could not stop coughing, and was coughing so vigorously I was gagging. If nothing else, I might just be worn out! Dizziness that lasts all day, though? Even for me, that was extreme.
I may never know what caused me to feel so rotten today, but I know exactly what made me feel better. A hurricane is a strange thing to be thankful for, but I am very grateful that today was a Hurricane Day, so that my husband and son could be at home to help me!
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends we have on the Gulf Coast, as they brace themselves for a bigger hit than we got from Hurricane Isaac!