There was a very old merry-go-round at the playground in town when I was a kid. Wooden floor to it, with iron rails that curved out from the center and down to the edge of the floor…like a big, tough spider holding the whole thing together. Kids would stand on this, hanging on to the spider legs, while one or two other kids held the outer leg part and ran, around and around, making the whole thing spin faster and faster until the running kids couldn’t keep up and jumped on board to spin along with everyone else.
I didn’t like that ride. I don’t like spinning around and around, seeing the rest of the world blur and zip past….
I remember one time in elementary school I went over a friend’s house after school. There was a tire swing in her yard, hanging from a long, long rope tied to a limb of this giant tree next to the house. Stupid, or anxious to please, to be accepted, to be cool, I got on the tire and was spun around and around, slowly, until she let go and I spun back around the other way, faster than the speed of light.
I prayed I might survive that ordeal.
And I remember when I got off, the strange sensation of the ground actually angling up so it was nearly standing up beside me…until my face smacked the dirt and I realized no, that was me, falling. The tree, the swing, the house, my friend, all spinning and spinning around me.
I never went on another tire swing.
Yesterday morning I woke up around 3:30 and when my eyes opened, my bedroom was spinning, just like the world around the playground, just like that tree, that house, that tire swing.
I closed my eyes quickly and then slowly opened them again.
Still spinning. Everything. Crazily and horribly.
A few years ago when Bill and the kids and I went to Seattle, I had an attack (for what else do you call it when what you fear invades your brain and grabs hold and spins it relentlessly?) of vertigo the morning we were to fly home. I remember struggling just to remain upright without being sick…somehow managing to get dressed, to find my way down the stairs, to try to eat a bit of food in the hopes that it would settle my stomach. At the airport Bill found me some Dramamine, which I gulped down gratefully, and I spent most of the rest of the trip home blessedly zoned out on motion sickness meds.
Yesterday all I could think about was that I couldn’t take anything because in an hour I had to get up and go to work, and you can’t operate heavy machinery, like a car, when you’ve got motion sickness pills soothing your system and slowing your reaction time.
I lay there, trapped in the spinning. I stared at the light fixture above, and willed it to slow down, to stop all that moving.
Amazingly, it obeyed.
I thought I was fine.
Until I turned my head, ever so slightly, to the right, and all the craziness began again, horrible, horrible spinning, the walls and ceiling and windows almost zipping past then somehow rewinding and doing it again. Fast, fast, fast.
I grabbed Bill’s hand in fear.
It was that scary.
I probably whimpered, too.
And I carefully shifted my head so it was facing the light fixture, and I planned to never, ever, ever move my head again if the light would only stay still.
I didn’t go to work. I couldn’t move. If I moved even the teeniest bit, my room swirled and spun, dragging my stomach along with it.
I’m still amazed I didn’t throw up.
Finally, finally, some time after noon, the awful spinning stopped.
And such fatigue. I stayed in bed, mostly napping, the rest of the day, only getting up to visit the bathroom or, once or twice, to go downstairs and see what the undizzy members of my family were doing.
Mostly I kept my eyes closed and drifted in and out of odd dreams.
I worried that all that napping would result in a sleepless night, but no, I slept pretty well.
This morning I was still light-headed…”swimmy” is how I described it – and exhausted and fatigued and I didn’t go to work again. I didn’t think I’d last. So tired. It felt like when I had mono…and when I had Lyme disease. Inescapable, relentless fatigue. No choice but to obey. To close my eyes and succumb.
I hauled myself out of bed around an hour ago, though. Some part of me is sick of lying down. I feel like I need to be upright. Like that will help get rid of this fuzzy-headed feeling.
I had some breakfast. Some iced coffee.
Right now I’d like to take a nap. I’m fighting it, though. That’s why I’m writing this post. Something to do other than lying down and sleeping. Although maybe sleep is still what I need.
At least I got this little story all typed out.
Maybe I’ll just go sit on the couch and watch cooking shows.
And if I fall asleep…well…then so be it.