The day the room spun

Posted 10/4/23

It was about noon on Sunday when I began to noticed it. I had only woken up a few hours earlier and I thought that I might be hungover. If so, it would be my first time in over a year as I …

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The day the room spun


It was about noon on Sunday when I began to noticed it. I had only woken up a few hours earlier and I thought that I might be hungover. If so, it would be my first time in over a year as I hadn’t had a drink since January or so. I’ve been on epilepsy medication, and one of them doesn’t seem to appreciate it when I drink.

However, just the day before I had been switched to a different medication by a specialist and found myself with an opportunity to skip a night’s dose of the medication I’d soon be weaned off of  in the coming weeks to allow me a few drinks at a friend’s wedding the next night.

I had two during cocktail hour and, even though I felt only the slightest buzz, my balance seemed to already be off. It was odd, but I attributed it to the fact that it had been so long since I drank. I put the drinks aside and stuck with water for the rest of what was a lovely evening.

We got home later than usual. Doug and I have a tendency to turn into pumpkins by 9 p.m., but tonight we stayed up till midnight and still had to drive home an hour from the vineyard the wedding was held at.

We woke up at about 9:30 a.m. astonished that our internal clocks had let us sleep past the rising of the sun and chirping of the morning birds. Well, it’s getting colder so maybe they’re already headed south and mornings have been quieter. I woke up ready to start the day on Sunday morning and took all my medications before having a nice breakfast with Doug at the diner up the street from my house. The day proceeded normally.

We took care of some errands, made a simple lunch, had a late afternoon coffee so I could stay up a touch late and get a headstart on writing my stories for last week’s issue. I had noticed during the day that I had moments of vertigo, but at the time I was so glad that they didn’t have the same flavor as the signs of epilepsy, and I took it to just be a light hangover from having a few drinks the night before. By the time I’d put a dozen words onto a page my expectations for the rest of my evening began to change.

Dizziness began to set in. I found myself nauseous. The feeling wasn’t unlike sea sickness – not something I’m prone to but under the right conditions I’ve come to know what it’s like. Knowing I still had Monday to get work done I decided to just lie down and let myself get some rest. Monday wouldn’t bring the relief I had hoped for.

The whole day melted by with me feeling as if I was walking through fog. My stomach was uncomfortable, every step made me feel off balance and if I turned my head too quickly I came to regret it before I’d even realized what I had done. It was light, but constant and beginning to become a worry.

The feeling, however, was ethereal enough to leave me at a loss for a cause and with nowhere to point my finger. I made it through my normal morning work routine, but was failing to keep my thoughts coherent enough to write more than a few paragraphs. Something was wrong, and by the time I took my second dose of the medication that night the world had begun to lightly spin and I felt as though I’d been drinking all day… You know, the kind of day where you’ve been at a barbeque with friends and didn’t drink too much but over the course of seven hours in the sun and more than a six pack under your belt all signs were pointing at a nap being the only remaining viable option.

I prayed that waking up on Tuesday would bring some relief but it did not. The symptoms only gotten worse. Tuesday morning I must have seemed like I’d caught the plague. The room was in constant motion around me and my stomach was not willing to put up with it any longer. Lying down helped, but sitting at my desk was an up-hill battle I didn’t want to be a part of. I called my doctor before even arriving in the office to leave a message and tell them how I was feeling – at this point narrowing down the most likely culprit to the medication.

I made it through. I may have made a few more mistakes than usual in putting the paper together, but another issue was put together and I had received a call from my doctor telling me to stop taking the medication and the symptoms would go away.

It took a few days to go away completely. The sensation of the earth revolving under my feet slowing over a few days and eventually disappearing by Friday, a week after I’d begun taking it in the first place.

On the one hand, I need to find a new way to control my epilepsy. On the other, I can walk without my feet acting like they’ve never done it before and my stomach rebelling. And walk is all I can do I guess. One foot in front of the other. Holding it together and knowing that not giving up will eventually mean things get better.

No matter how bad it gets, the only thing that can stop the situation from improving is failing to move forward.

Ed, room, spinning


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