Mom’s Spaghetti

I woke up at the usual time and decided to stay in bed. I used my feet to pull my phone off the charger where it sleeps at night and emailed work. “I’ve got vertigo. I won’t be in.” Then I texted my two best friends, one after another, and said, “I can’t walk. Halp.”

Then I lay in bed for another hour til the roommates were gone, so they couldn’t see me crawl to the bathroom on my hands and knees. The world wouldn’t stop spinning so I closed my eyes. Coming back from the bathroom I had to stop a couple of times in the yoga pose known as “the Child”, clinging to the floor so I wouldn’t fall off. I stopped at the refrigerator also for about two swallows of almond milk, but they came right back up again. Last night mom made beef stroganoff for dinner. It was delicious and I ate a lot of it, but that all came out the wrong end as well.

I made it back to bed and stayed there, not moving at all, til 11:30, when Shane and his girlfriend Jenna showed up with ginger beer to rehydrate me.

Shane attempted the Epley Maneuver, in which an assistant rotates your head around in a prescribed pattern in an attempt to let the loose crystals in your ear canals tumble out. These crystals, apparently, are what cause the dizziness. They’re not supposed to be in your inner ear fluid – when they find their way in, they cause ripples in the fluid that make your brain think you’re still moving even though you’ve stopped. It’s the same sensation as when you get off the merry-go-round at the park and everything keeps spinning for a while. Except it’s super annoying and it won’t go away.

Anyway, the Epley Maneuver works, eventually, but you have to do it just right, and it usually takes a bunch of tries. We didn’t know that and thought it was supposed to work after the first couple of tries, like it did last time I had vertigo in 2012. We also figured it doesn’t have that great success rate, because it didn’t work when Shane had vertigo in 2015.

Jenna thought I probably had an ear infection, and voted for emergency room. Off we went. ER at noon on a Monday is not too bad. I got in and inspected by a Dr. Tristan Jones within about 10 minutes. He checked that I didn’t have a fever or any kind of neurological problems, made sure I wasn’t high, and told me about a regular expressions problem that he’s been having with his side project. I politely refrained from telling him the joke about regular expressions. (You tried to solve your problem with regular expressions; now you’ve got two problems.) (This is a programmer joke. If you don’t get it, that just means you’re normal.)

He told me it was BPPV (benign positional paroxysmal vertigo) like I originally thought, and that the cure is either Epley or just suffer it out.

He went off to get a printout of official instructions for the Epley Maneuver, and I quickly texted Shane for help again, knowing that his pickup lines are more effective than mine. He replied with “Do you make house calls? and when he says no, say “What if I promise to be getting out of the shower every time you call?”” Sadly, he was too late and I ended up using my own line – “Do you need my email address in case you need someone to commiserate with about code?” He wasn’t having it. What, it’s noon and I’ve got vomit on my sweater already. It’s literally mom’s spaghetti. He’s not into that? Oh well.

I hung out on Shane’s couch for the rest of the afternoon. I’m still dizzy and not sure if I’m going to work tomorrow. Comedy makes me feel better, but if this doesn’t go away after three days I’m going to take up hard drugs as a lifestyle.

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Shannon Graham

Shannon has been writing brief essays and occasional how-to articles at Rocketships, Unaffiliated (.ca) whenever inspiration strikes, since 2012.

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