Dangerously dizzy… but life won’t wait

I’ve been increasingly dizzy, the past few days. My left ear is squishy and has been making its presence felt. Pressure in my head, and fatigue… I haven’t had good sleep hygiene, for the past few weeks, and it’s catching up with me.

It’s a scary thing, because it’s so disruptive for my daily life. I have things to do and stuff to accomplish, but if I stand up too quickly or move too suddenly, the whole world starts to rush and spin and I get very sick on my stomach. It also makes me extremely irritable, so I snap out at every little thing, which makes me very difficult to deal with at times.

The only thing that really saves me, is being totally focused on what I’m doing, and not moving much while I’m doing it. Working at the computer is a perfect solution for me, because I have to sit up straight and stay focused on the screen in front of me.

The only problem is, it’s Saturday… a few days before I take off on my marathon trip to see family… and I have a whole lot to get done. Dizziness puts me in more danger of falling or having an accident. If I’m not careful, I can get in a lot of trouble. The last thing I need this holiday season is another concussion — most of my adulthood injuries have coincided with holidays, when I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off and wasn’t paying proper attention. I was fatigued and disoriented… and I fell or had a car accident. Not good.

Yes,  I need to be very, very careful, in everything I do.

I think a big part of the problem I’m having right now is the impending holiday rush. The prospect of driving through several states to see multiple families, over the course of nearly a week is making me a little nervous, and that’s setting off my schedule and my focus.

I have been doing really well with keeping to my daily exercise, which helps.  I just finished my morning workout, in fact, and I feel noticeably better than I did before it. I worked up a sweat and got my heart pumping, which in turn moved the lymph through my system to clear out the grunge. I love lymph. So basic, so essential, so useful. Without it, I’d be in a heap of trouble, and I count my blessings that I don’t have lymph drainag problems, like folks with edema do.

Anyway, I’m feeling better, and I have a full day ahead of me. But I’m pacing myself. And I’ve blocked off time this afternoon to sleep. I haven’t had a good afternoon nap in weeks, and it’s taking its toll. If I don’t nap at least once over the weekend, it catches up with me — and that’s what’s been happening.

And now I’m really dizzy, with a lot of stuff to do, and I regret doing chores last Sunday, instead of taking my nap. I had three solid hours to myself, to use as I pleased, and I frittered away the time on futzing around and doing little chores that took longer than I expected.

Ah, well,  so it goes. At least I’m aware of my dizziness, so I can accommodate it and work with it. When I’m really, really dizzy, I find that keeping my posture ramrod straight and moving very slowly and deliberately helps tremendously. Also, if I sleep a lot and drink plenty of fluids and avoid sugar, that helps, too. I’ve taken medicine for vertigo, but it didn’t help a bit. Anyway, it turns out the medicine is really just for nausea that results from vertigo, not the vertigo itself — at least that’s what the PCP I had at the time told me. Come to think of it, they could have been wrong. They were a bit of an idiot, by average standards. (And it was a scary six months in my life, when they were my primary doctor.)

But now I’ve got a pretty good PCP, and I trust them a whole lot more than the last several I went to. Trusting your doctor is good. It simplifies a lot of things, in many ways, not least of which is the office visit experience.

But more on that later. Right now, I need to stay focused on my dizziness.

Tracking back over the past week, as it’s gotten steadily worse, I have been looking for what I’ve been doing differently that has contributed to this. The one thing that I’ve been doing regularly, that is very different from before, is that I’ve been eating pieces of chocolate to keep myself going. Not just chocolate, mind you, but those little Dove chocolates with peanut butter in the middle. I thought that the peanut butter would give them more staying power, but what I’ve noticed over the past week is how much sugar is in those little puppies.

Zoinks! Who eats this stuff regularly?! They’re dangerous! Sure, they give me a little pick-me-up when I need it — like driving home late from work when it’s very dark, I’m very tired, and I’m having a hard time seeing. But I’m finding that when I eat one, I crave another one about 10 minutes later — like I spike, and then I crash and am worse off than before, so I need another “little” piece of candy to keep me going… and my system gets totally fried by all the sudden, extreme ups and downs.

Which contributes to my fatigue… and apparently my dizziness.

Not good.

So, while I’m doing my errands today, I’m going to remove the chocolates from my car — just throw them out — drink more water, eat more fruit, and be very, very careful when I’m out and about.

The last thing I need is another accident or fall.

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

4 thoughts on “Dangerously dizzy… but life won’t wait”

  1. BB,

    Hey, I sympathize – and there’s only one cure, as you as can get it – rest, man, rest!

    Its funny, after all these years, I sometimes think I’m well over my head injury, that maybe it was never real to begin with because I feel fine, feel normal – then I’ll totally crash. It’s just a question of going a little over the edge, getting over-stimulated, over-tired, over-worked. This week was one of those weeks . . .

    Are you SURE being on a computer is the best thing? For myself, I find looking into a computer screen can really tire me out. It’s soothing in a way, but afterwards, I sometimes feel like something’s been sucked out of me. Just a thought . . .

    Anyway, hope the dizziness gets better.



  2. I find the stress of Christmas can make things worse, especially if you’re already using all your strength to cope with the every day challenges of life. There sometimes isn’t anything left over for extras. I often get sick over Christmas, and this one has been no exception. Very frustrating. There’s more to do, and I am less able than usual to do it.

    I think it’s good to remember that our health and well being, and that of our families, must come first. Everything else comes second. It’s exactly right that the worst thing in your case would be another concussion. Christmas is just one day. If it’s not perfect, so what. Life is more important.

    Hope you get that nap! I’m napping also today. Take care of yourself.



  3. Yeah, how ’bout that — just when I think I’m out of the woods and everything’s clicking and clipping right along, WHAM – I get hit. I think the belief that I’m fine-just-fine could be a symptom of fatigue, actually. When I’m fully rested, I can see all the areas where I am in need of improvement. But when I get tired, my “vision” gets foggy and I start to believe I’m SUUUPER-MAAAAN! I should start tracking that as a symptom of fatigue, so I can adjust my behavior accordingly.

    Workin’ on the rest thing… Got a nap in yesterday, and plan to nap again today. I’ve got a holiday gathering my spouse and I are attending tonight, but we’re taking two cars, so I can cut out and head home if I get too wiped out. No sense in exhausting myself.

    It’s funny about the computer screen. In one way, it helps me focus and keeps me upright. On the other, I end up getting so wrapped up in it, that I tire myself out. I do have to get work done, but I have a timer that I’m using to pace myself.

    Progress… more progress.


  4. Thanks Ellen –

    I did get my nap, and I’m going to get another one today. I’m actually looking forward to it. Sunday afternoon naps are one of my most favorite things in the world. They always have been.

    I think one of the other things that makes Christmas so demanding, is that there are so many more people to deal with in unfamiliar situations. The experience of standing in line with 300 other irritated, agitated, frustrated people who are questioning the wisdom of spending so much money on non-essentials (but can’t see any other way to celebrate the season properly) is not something I am not acclimated to. Nor do I wish to become so. I went shopping last night in a well-organized, well-planned, highly focused mission to three different department stores, and at one point I stopped and looked up, and all I could see was faces of not-so-happy people.

    It made me a little sad… So, I stopped looking around.

    Personally, I think that companies should have everyone work half-time for the last 6 weeks of the year. That way, we might actually enjoy our lives during the holidays — AND we would probably be more productive at work. If I ever start a company of my own, that will be one of the policies.

    Health and Family First — absolutely!


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