Why isn’t it much, much faster to fly west in an airplane, given that the Earth is spinning at 700-1000 miles per hour relative to its center? This video answers that question and even describes how some routes are faster going west due to upper level winds caused by the Coriolis effect.
The alarm buzzed, I rolled over, shutting off the annoying chime I set it to like I do every morning. I sat up, started to move my feet from the bed to the floor and all of the sudden it felt like I was floating. “I must still be really tired” I told myself as I put my feet on the floor and stood up. Then I was reaching for the wall balancing myself. Straight to the restroom and then back to bed, the whole time feeling like I was falling over. I send an e-mail to my boss: “Not feeling well, will work from home today.”
That’s how my Friday started. It is now Tuesday, four days after I first experienced the worst vertigo in my life, and that vertigo is still around, rearing it’s ugly head any time I try to do something quickly. Turn my head; Falling. Bend over to grab something; Falling. Rollover in bed; Falling. Normalcy seems to have come to a screeching halt on Friday. The doctor’s office was booked full when all of this hit so my wife took me to a non-emergency clinic, neither of us put vertigo into the “critical” column, ruling out the emergency room. I’ll just say the drive there involved a lot of nausea (and its results).
The staff were prompt in looking at me and quickly ruled out a neurological issue. They settled on something I had never heard of, vestibular neuritis. Essentially it is an inflammation of the inner ear, usually caused by a viral infection. There are not a lot treatment options, basically control the vertigo, nausea, vomiting, etc. as much as possible. The staff at the clinic said it could be a week or a month until it dissipates. The vertigo medication has done little to relieve my symptoms but my body seems to have adjusted to the nausea, at least somewhat.
After a short discussion, my wife and I decide a second opinion is in order and I made a follow-up appointment with my family practice for Monday night. We went and the doctor again confirms no neurological worries as well as the vestibular neuritis diagnosis. My vertigo is not dependent enough of direction to be BPPV, which has a few different treatment options. There is also a slight chance that what I have is something called Meniere’s Disease, but the doctor wants to hold off testing to see if my symptoms dissipate.
Today, Tuesday, has been a little worse than the last two days. There is ringing in both of my ears and I don’t seem as “sharp” as I did yesterday. Doing little things like taking a shower have become tedious adventures that require my full attention. I think the only way to describe it is to imagine being on a Merry-go-Round and spinning as fast as you can, then stepping off and trying to do your taxes. Now apply that to everything you do. Even this post is hard to write. Focusing is not easy when you are putting a lot of brain power into making sure you don’t fall over. I am otherwise healthy though, so when we walked down to the car to go to the office, I’m sure I just looked drunk.
I am otherwise healthy. I have to remember that. This puts on hold a lot of things that I had planned and it triples the amount of work my wife is doing on day to day basis but she has taken it in stride. We can hope and pray this dissipates quickly but if it doesn’t, we keep moving together. Well, I’ll probably be a few steps behind her holding her hand, balancing myself.
Alive Inside is a documentary that follows social worker Dan Cohen as he reintroduces music to those who are suffering from diseases involving degenerative memory loss. The results are fascinating (YouTube video).
Having experienced what memory loss can do to a person and their loved ones and knowing that many families endure such a challenge on a daily basis makes me want to go take iPod Nanos to every nursing home in the immediate area. Even if the results are temporary and limited, there is something uplifting in the knowledge that a loved one is still themselves, even when their memory may no longer be sharp.