In its day, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo was considered creepy, but it’s nothing like the real thing, which is truly a horror show. When you have vertigo, the world seems to careen and spin, causing nausea and its attendant panic. Yes, panic, because if you’re like me, there are few things scarier than the feeling that you have to throw up. Not surprisingly, there’s a name for that fear; it’s called emetophobia. I’m not claiming to be an emetophobe mind you, primarily because it’s defined as an irrational fearof vomiting, and if you ask me, there’s nothing irrational about it.
For two days (and perhaps three, I’m teetering even as I type), I’ve been feeling dizzy. I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but I know that feeling dizzy is most likely connected to some kind of inner ear disturbance. When I alerted my friends on Facebook that my world was spinning, many of them advised me to see a doctor. A doctor friend suggested that being dizzy could be “self-limiting,” but even she said that if it was not, seeing a doctor was in order. The question is, how long does one spin before calling their doctor?
I was raised by a doctor and the answer to “when does one call a doctor” was typically never, unless, of course, you could demonstrate that something was broken. As a result, I have to be pretty sick to call in the experts and I always start with my dad. In this case he suggested I take Antivert, an over the counter medicine for motion sickness. I thought I had some related drug in the house so I dragged myself upstairs to look through the medicine cabinet, but couldn’t find anything. Unwilling to give up, I spun my way through a couple of other likely places and finally found some motion-sickness medicine in a kitchen cabinet: expiration date 2000. Another thing my father modeled for us was that expiration dates don’t matter if the pill still works. The only way to find that out, however, is to take the pill. I knew from experience that the active ingredient in motion-sickness medicines, meclizine, could bring down an elephant, so I figured if it was slightly less effective that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Many years ago (pre-daughter), Andrew and I were going out to dinner with another couple in VT. Even though my motion sickness usually entitled me to ride shotgun, I sat in the back so Andrew could give directions to the driver over the windy, twisty, hilly, curvy roads we had to use to get where we were going. After about twenty minutes I made the driver pull over because I couldn’t stand it anymore. I got out of the car, dug a motion-sickness pill out of my purse and swallowed it. When I thought I could stand getting back in the car, we started up again. Within a minute, yes, sixty seconds, we arrived at the restaurant. By the time the food arrived, the pill had done its job and I was face down in my soup bowl. So this time, I took a quarter of a pill. Maybe it was the placebo effect, but I felt a little better.
Today I have a date with an old friend that I refuse to miss. I’m going to chew up a few milligrams of meclizine and hit the road. For your own safety, I suggest the rest of you stay home. If I’m still dizzy tomorrow, I’ll give in and call the doctor.