Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The room is spinning and I’m dizzy, dizzy March 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:08 PM

IF THIS HADN’T happened to me, I likely wouldn’t believe it either.

But nearly two years ago, while vacationing at a Wisconsin Dells waterpark, I suffered traumatic injury to my inner ear.

And how, exactly, did this happen?

I floated under a waterfall in a winding lazy river.

The pounding water hit my right ear at just the correct angle because I suffered permanent hearing loss, tinnitus and pain in my ear. My ear specialist has recommended a hearing aid.

All of that I can handle. Eventually I’ll swallow my pride and ante up the big bucks for the hearing aid.

I’ve gotten used to the ringing. My husband tells me if I answer, then he would be concerned. Get it? Ringing.

And the pain, well, it’s mostly bothersome at night and not intolerable.

But then came Wednesday night. Being a 50-something woman, I need to use the bathroom at least once a night, if not more. So, when I awoke at midnight, I sat up expecting to get out of bed like usual.

This time, though, the room was spinning, as in I-drank-too-much dizziness.

However, the only alcohol I had consumed were a few sips from my husband’s beer.

Earlier in the evening, I viewed a lot of alcohol at the liquor store. But I’m pretty sure that simply looking at, instead of consuming, alcohol does not cause dizziness.

After managing to make my way to the bathroom by clinging to the walls, I climbed back into bed. Four hours later I was awake again. Same scenario.

Luckily, when I awoke in the morning, I was fine.

But I’m a bit worried because my doctor told me that damage to my inner ear can be a precursor to meniere’s disease. Up until now, I had all of the symptoms except the vertigo.

Hopefully he’s wrong.

After all, I don’t want to give those people who already think I’m dizzy the satisfaction of knowing that I am, literally, dizzy.

I suppose, just to assure that I keep my balance, I should listen to my doctor’s advice and avoid cats.

Not literally.

But C-A-T-S as in:

Caffeine. That should be easy, you would think, because I’m not a coffee drinker, don’t even own a coffee maker. However, I like my chocolate. So, no, I can’t avoid caffeine.

Alcohol. This shouldn’t be a problem, you would think, as my alcohol consumption is basically limited to a beer with my weekly Friday night pizza. But then, on occasion, my sisters corrupt me with a Bloody Mary or a glass or two of wine. So, unless I avoid my sisters…

Tension. I’m the mother of a teenager. Need I say more?

Salt. I seldom use a salt shaker, but I like my chips. Do not, I repeat, do not, attempt to take away my chips.

In summary, I suppose I’ll have to risk the occasional ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Did you know that the Tilt-a-Whirl is made only blocks from my house?

OK. That’s another story…

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling