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In to the wind

August 22, 2012
By Mike Gilchrist , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Some people think I have always been somewhat dizzy. Yesterday I would have agreed. I have this knack of ignoring things and perhaps blame changes in my body on the aging process. Did I ever have an awakening yesterday.

It was early morning, predawn, when I decided to get out of bed and start my day. The timing was usual, the spinning was not. Before my first foot hit the floor, I knew something dreadful was wrong with me.

I stumbled and almost fell. I closed my eyes, shook my head, and tried my best to shake what I thought were just cobwebs from my head. It didn't work. While my body felt like it was stationary, the room wasn't. It was spinning clockwise at an extreme pace. Nothing I could do would stop the spinning, except lying on my right side in the fetal position. I spent most of the morning sleeping, flanked by two cats that seemed to be enjoying the quiet time immensely. Alas, not I.

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I finally admitted I needed to see a doctor. Something wasn't right and I was not in control. That in itself is very disquieting for someone who prides themselves on maintaining control. I tried getting up and only made it as far as the bathroom, and puked.

I have a stomach of iron. Even in the throes of the worst flu I don't vomit, ever. I can count on one hand the times I have, and most of those were back in my drinking days. When the room is spinning uncontrollably, nausea and vomiting are close at hand. It was an absolute helpless feeling.

Elaine took me to the doctor. They came out to her car with a wheelchair and treated me like the invalid I had become. Trish asked me a series of questions, and told me she was sending me to Marshalltown for an MRI, and blood tests. Because I spend a great deal of time down in my timber, West Nile Virus and Lyme's Disease have to be eliminated as possibilities.

Upon arrival at the hospital, I was again met by a staffer with a wheelchair. They wheeled me into the lab and drew blood. The samples had to be sent to Iowa City, which apparently houses the State Hygienic Lab. They have to culture the blood and results will be ready in four or five days. In the meantime, I was started on a regimen of antibiotics, just in case.

I lay in bed longer than usual this morning. I was a little afraid to get out of bed in case the motion of yesterday was going to be repeated. I placed first one, and then the other foot on the floor and stood up cautiously. I wasn't any more wobbly that usual. The worst has passed. I am still a little nausea, and the visual rotation has all but stopped. I am hoping the worst is over.

Some of my loyal readers will recall I suffer from migraines. I have managed to keep them under control and knowing that corn products, specifically those corn products made from GMO corn trigger the migraines. High fructose corn sweetener is the worst. I can get an immediate headache if I consume much at all. I think the vertigo and migraines are interrelated. Time will tell. I am too much the scientist to not look for answers, and find a solution that does not require medication. I don't like to take anything stronger than aspirin. And I do take a single aspirin, with a Zirtec and a couple cups of strong coffee every morning. I call it my migraine cocktail, and it works.

That same scientist in me is fascinated by the workings of the MRI machine. They put me on the slab, placed a cradle around my head, but headphones on me so I could listen to music which is supposed to drown out the sound, and slid me into a large white tube. The technician talked to me several times during the procedure, to make sure I was doing OK, and to tell me about the next series of scans.

While inside the MRI machine, listening to the sequence of sounds it makes as they bombarded my skull with radio waves, I tied to trick my brain into thinking I was inside a thrust reactor for an interplanetary mission. That's what it sounded like to me. The metallic pulsing sounds it emits are like no other sounds I've ever heard. I don't have claustrophobia, and tried my best to immerse myself in the experience. Yeah, some of you are right, I am a little dizzy.

So, if all the other tests come back negative, the diagnosis is going to be benign paroxysmal positional vertigo; I just know it. There are some manipulation techniques which reset those little crystals in your inner ear to alleviate the symptoms. I am exploring that right now.

So there you have it dear reader, the absolute truth of what has been happening to me the past few days. The lack of coordination leading up to the bizarre happenings of yesterday, the nausea, the spinning, and the other symptoms all has an explanation. I will not rest until I discover exactly what it is.

I hope you are enjoying this awesome change of weather. I am.

Until next time--

You can read past columns by visiting and clicking on the "Local Columns" button.

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2005 - 2012 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.



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