Thursday Tidbits

Posted on October 28, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

Blurring the lines


“I fall to pieces, each time I see you again,

I fall to pieces; how can I be just your friend.”

I Fall to Pieces – Patsy Kline

Of course, Patsy is singing about love. It’s hard falling in and out of love. Relationships are hard. I don’t think romance writing, or romance for that matter, is my strong suit. I’ll stick to the mundane.

Sometimes I wonder if my body is my friend. My back hurts. My knee hurts. My neck hurts. Actually, a number of people have said that I’m a pain in the neck… and other body parts too.  My eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I wear progressive lenses. It’s the only thing progressive about Len. I have been told that my hearing is poor, but I think that’s more about the absence of active listening than hearing loss. My cholesterol is elevated. My muscles suffer from atrophy… mostly my brain. Ok, so the brain is not technically a muscle but an organ. It does however play a huge role in controlling muscles throughout your body. I think this particular organ needs a good tuning.

I am often chided for dwelling on growing old. I’m happy to be aging. It’s much better than the alternative. But most of us realize that the warranty on our bodies is finite.

On Friday night last week, I woke up and the bedroom was spinning. The last time that I had even remotely had this sensation was after a nasty encounter with a bottle of tequila back in my university days. I knew that the cause of my distress was definitely not alcohol. I wondered if the large piece of Betty Crocker French Vanilla cake with chocolate icing that I had consumed right before bed, could have possibly been my downfall. If that had been the case, I would have been suffering from vertigo for most of my life.

I don’t alarm easily but I must admit that my first reaction was that I was having a life changing event. I wasn’t in any pain, so I quickly ruled out a heart attack. Ditto for stroke. The episode lasted about 20 seconds followed by nausea. I put two and two together and reckoned that I had just experienced vertigo for the first time.

I lay very still for several minutes trying to decide what to do. Mother nature solved the conundrum quite nicely by advising that I go for my nightly pee. I cautiously put my feet on the floor, and I am happy to report that I made it to the bathroom without any accidents. I crawled back into bed, but sleep would not come easily. It was the nausea as much as anything. I normally toss and turn in my sleep. “Well I was tossin’ and turnin’, turnin’ and tossin’; A tossin’ and turnin’ all night.” (Bobby Lewis). I lay on my back perfectly still for what seemed an eternity. I even turned on my cell phone as a distraction. If you’re used to sleeping on your side, you know that you will never fall asleep lying flat on your back. Eventually, I rolled over to my right. Mercifully, the room didn’t change positions with me.

But I am a creature of habit and an imperfect human specimen. (“No shit”, I can hear you saying!) I eventually rolled over to my left and once again the room started to pirouette. The only real good news here is that this was a Friday night, and I didn’t have to be concerned about going to work the next day.

I have a brother who is a retired lawyer. Over the years, I leaned on him for sage advice… pro bono, of course! As I lay in bed pondering the current state of affairs, I knew that my first call the next morning would be to my brother, an ENT physician (Ears, Nose, Throat).

He listened attentively to my symptoms and concluded that I likely had BPV, a very common malady, as it turns out. Knowing that I was definitely a glass half full kind of guy, I immediately understood the acronym: Bring Positive Vibes. No. BPV stands for Benign Positional Vertigo. It happens to a lot of people and not just old retreads like me. He asked if I had suffered any acute hearing loss. I told them that this had happened a few times during my marriage. (I’m going to get in big trouble for that quip). He recommended exercise to cure this problem with the crystals in my ear. Crystals are like tiny rocks. He likened it to a rock rolling around inside your car tire. Of course, if your symptoms are worse, seek medical attention. Not only do I give lousy advice on love, but I will refrain in future from discussing serious medical issues.

Exercise? I wondered if he wanted me to stand on my head or try yogic flying. Like most mere mortals, I was expecting a quick fix with drugs but apparently one of the best remedies is doing Brandt-Daroff Habituation exercises or going to see your family doctor to confirm the diagnosis and have them perform an Epley Maneuver.  He went on to explain to me that many people in my situation would immediately run to an emergency department at the hospital. They would likely get an expensive scan and possibly receive a prescription. There would be an excellent chance that the problem would not be resolved. Now, of course, I had the luxury of getting advice from a family member who happens to be an ENT, but I guess the lesson is for all of us to try and avoid emergency rooms where possible. In this era of telemedicine (especially during Covid), many medical issues can be managed without clogging up an already fragile medical system.

I tried the exercise for a few days- a nauseating experience. You’re basically asking your body to create vertigo. A few days later I went to the nursing station and had the Epley Maneuver. I’m happy to report that I am on the mend.

A few years ago, while doing the New York Times crossword puzzle, I noticed a blurring of vison, with little dots passing back and forth across my eyes. I scheduled an appointment with my excellent optometrist, Jolene (not THAT Jolene of Dolly Parton fame) and she assured me that these “floaters” were common and not to worry.

One other thing. My brother advised me to avoid craning my neck. I guess that rules out visiting Old Montreal on a warm summer’s evening. Some of you know what I mean.

Now I can attest that I have stars in my eyes and rocks in my head.

“Take another little piece of my heart now, baby.” Janis Joplin

…and my knees, and my back, and my eyes and my ears….

Have a great weekend.

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