Saturday, October 6, 2012

Solidarity with Mother Earth

Once I asked my neurologist if it was a coincidence that my vertigo made me spin in the same direction as the earth? The earth spins counter-clockwise around its own axis and around the sun. And my rotational vertigo continually spun me along just such a path. My doctor laughed and shook his head at my question. He said some patients spin one way and some spin the other.

That week I keep thinking about my body as a conduit for the rotational movement of the earth, as if I were a sensitive soul connected to her, at one with her impulses. Maybe it comforted me to imagine my illness had a significance outside of myself.

I had to give up that idea, but another symptomatic connection intrigued me: similarities between neurologic disorders and space sickness: Nausea, vertigo, stuffiness, confusion, weakness, dizziness, exhaustion. Maybe we already know what it feels like to travel and live in Outer Space. We just need to change the scenery.

I finally got a referral from my Otoneurologist for a set of Brain MRIs, though he emphasized there may be nothing meaningful in the results. He is treating me for Silent Migraines, which don’t show up on medical imaging scans, but I want to look inside nevertheless. Tangled nerves? Blocked arteries? Inner ear deformity? Strokes? Remnants of a long-lost twin wreaking havoc inside my brain? If only the culprit could be made visible. If only it could be snipped out forever, crushed, annihilated. But most likely these tests would be negative. What to do?

My neurologist told me my ongoing unsteadiness is the result of damage from years of vertigo, and it may straighten itself out over time. Lately my feet will suddenly cross one over the other, as if I were on a boat tipped by waves. I am stepping on eggshells, afraid the demon will grab me and throw me again into its utterly senseless orbit.

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