How Being Sick Can Make You Kind

Be Kind

The year 2020 will be a memorable year for all of us. The enormous burden that has been put on our shoulders is heavy. Sadly, the oppression is omnipresent. There is nowhere to go, nowhere to escape. So we wait…

A Prisoner Can Never Rule the World

In early June of 2020 I developed vertigo. The vertigo lasted nearly 3 months. It was debilitating. Thankfully, during this time I was laid off from my dental hygiene research position at Case Western University. Without the ability to exercise, go shopping, and at times drive, I became a prisoner in my own body. Sadly that really didn’t matter, like many of you, I became a prisoner in my own house. Except for the occasional trip to the grocery store.

One day while at the grocery store I had a terrible bout with dizziness. I held onto a shelf and pulled down my mask to gulp air when a man walked by in his mask and gave me a dirty look. Pulling my mask back up I got out of the store as fast as I could. I sat in my car frustrated and in tears. Doing simple tasks became a hurdle I never knew could be so high.

After 6 weeks I realized that the vertigo was not going to go away and I had to make a plan. The first step was to visit my medical doctor. He prescribed tests including an MRI, an ultrasound of the carotids, blood tests and therapy. Getting around was extremely difficult and frustrating. It was challenging to perform the simplest tasks.

I managed to get the MRI and the ultrasound of the carotid arteries, all which came out fine. That was a relief. Nothing like lying awake at night thinking you might have something wrong with your brain. I was extremely grateful. We were slowing checking things off of what it wasn’t and getting close to what it was.

How Therapy Made Me Sick

Therapy day came and I actually was having a decent day. I was only mildly dizzy. Days and bouts varied, the occasional relief from being dizzy was graciously welcome. I wasn’t full on spinning ALL THE TIME, just some of the time, but it was ALWAYS there. Always.

My therapist performed the Epley Maneuver on me, which brought on the vertigo and on a scale of 1-10 it was 1000! I will never forget the experience and burst into spontaneous tears. It was one of the most frightening things I have ever gone through. The therapist confirmed that it was vertigo and that a crystal in my ear was loose and the therapy that she just performed would set it back where it belonged.

After the therapy session, I was really dizzy, to the point where I could not walk a straight line. I had never been so discombobulated in my life and in hindsight should have never driven home. The vertigo overwhelmed me and was not letting go. When I got home I stumbled into the house like a drunkard. I had no balance at all and flopped onto my bed, spinning and spinning.

I had to go back to the therapist the next day but I was wise and asked my husband to take me. He gladly did and while waiting for me he went to get his haircut. The dizziness had continued as I walked into my therapy appointment weaving back and forth. My therapist asked me how I was doing. Barely audible and with tears in my eyes, I told her it was worse. She said, “One third of the patient report they are better, one third report the same and one third report worse after the initial treatment. Lucky me, I was in the latter category.

How 1/3 is Like a School Bully

Not looking forward to lying back again, she proceeded to lay me back and the therapy began. An hour later I staggered out of the building like I had been beat up. I tried to focus on the parking lot to find my husband and after a scary moment, I spotted him sitting in our Jeep waiting for me. It was difficult to reach the Jeep but I swaggered over to the waiting truck and got in. My husband asked me how I was and I said, ugh! Not good. I don’t know if I cried, I might have. When I got home, frustrated and dizzy, I went straight to bed.

Later when my husband got home from work he asked me if I had gone out. I said I couldn’t get out of bed.

The day after my 2nd therapy session I awoke and reluctantly sat up from my bed. I was scared that I would find myself in the usual space of spinning but I didn’t. I wasn’t spinning. I slowly got out of bed and walked to the bathroom. No spinning. I made coffee. I opened the curtains in the living room, fluffed the pillows on the couch. I wasn’t spinning. The first time in nearly 3 months I wasn’t spinning!

Hopefully I can resume my life again and see my friends, exercise, drive and shop and just be. I thought I had lost my freedom before June 2nd, but after June 2nd I had lost much more than my freedom, I had lost my health.

When you are sick, you are vulnerable, afraid, and your nerves become frayed. I became frail and a target; like a wounded bird. But nobody knew that, not anyone in public that is because I covered my face and my pain with my government mandated mask.

Social Media Is a Blankety-Blank

During the time I had vertigo I took to social media for SOMETHING to do and discovered an ugly side to human beings. One man told me that he hoped my mother and father died from COVID because I tried to convey that not everyone can wear a mask all the time. My argument was that when I am out and no one is around, I am pulling down my mask for air. He then proceeded to tell me that my mother and father must have been brother and sister.

What’s the moral to my story? Simply wearing a mask doesn’t make you a good human being. What’s under that mask is what matters. What is in your heart is what matters. You never know what someone is going through, especially now that our faces are covered up. Let’s try to be kind to each other. We are all going through a hard time.

Stay safe, Annamarie

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