I'm an Alfred Hitchcock Movie
September 22, 2004

Ever since my last day at the cheeseshop when I came over all faint, got nauseous, took the bus home and threw up, I've had persistent vertigo. Thankfully it's not as bad as the initial attack, because in that case my vision slid sideways, I got sweaty, and when I tried to walk, I listed to one side. This wasn't my first attack either. In fact, I had my first Hitchcock Movie experience last February smack in the middle of recapping. All I could do was lie face-down on the bed in a dark room and not look at anything. Unfortunately, this recent episode has left me in a persistent state of Hitchcock Movieitis. Like I said, it's not nearly as severe as the actual attack, but when I move my head or walk around or even look around I don't feel quite right. And forget about wearing anything with a heel to work. It's like, "Well, hel-lo stomach contents -- I didn't see you acting like a wallflower in my digestive tract!"

Picture this: you're on a bus in traffic. The bus and all the cars around you are stopped. Then the car right next to you begins to slide forward. All at once you realize the car isn't moving at all, the bus is, and you get that weird jolt of motion disorientation. That's how I feel all the time.

Now I'm not saying I'm an alarmist or anything, but when I started reading up on vertigo causes and symptoms, I began to imagine certain scenes from Dark Victory. You laugh, but the nurse practitioner I finally went to see last week did have me perform a few tests that were similar to the ones George Brent put Bette Davis through when he discovered those cigarette burns on her fingers.

Now I'm not saying I'm a hypochondriac or anything, but when I started waking up in the middle of the night with lots of weltering bug bites that drove me nuts with the itching, I diagnosed my vertigo as West Nile Virus. When my husband actually killed the spider in our room that had probably been midnight snacking on me, I knew we had discovered a new breed of poisonous arachnid in San Francisco that preyed exclusively on cookbook editors and cheesemongers and transmitted vertigo through their venom.

Now I'm not saying I'm a conspiracy theorist or anything, but when someone at work said she threw up last week due to dizziness from an inner ear infection and was prescribed Antivert, I started wondering if the publishing company was built on an ancient Indian burial ground.

I got a bunch of blood tests which ruled out thyroid, anemia, and other stuff, and that's all great, but we still don't actually know anything. The doctor thinks it's related to my allergies, which is funny because I'm not congested, runny-nosed, or even remotely itchy-eyed. Maybe I'm having allergy attacks behind my back. Sneaky little buggers.

In order to deal with the side effects of the vertigo, I have to go on something called Antivert for a few weeks. It won't cure me, but it's supposed to alleviate my feelings of weirdness. The thing is, the drug is basically Valium, which will just bring in a whole new level of weirdness. But it will be chilled weirdness. The hope is if the vertigo is being caused by something viral or allergy-related, it'll clear itself up and all side effects will be gone by the time I go off the meds. If they're not, I guess they'll have to dig deep in my ears and find all that gold I've been hiding.

In other news:

This sunglassed Soul Patch was just gettin' INTO it on the 21 Hayes tonight! He twitched, he pounded, he moved his mouth soundlessly and contorted his face. He stamped, he snapped, he irritated his seat mate and everyone around him. No, it wasn't a grand mal, it was music.

The iPod has unleashed a new breed of commuting freaks on us: the Seat Musician. That little white plasticy box seems to send people to realms previously unexplored with the dancin', the jivin', the bustin', and the high-fivin'. Where the Walkman was happy with simple toe-tapping, the iPod demands a full-body conniption. That's the power of Apple.

Soul Patch was playing his leg like it was a guitar. That's right. His leg. A guitar. I have an iPod and I listen to it. I listen to it -- I don't spin it onto the floor like this was a USO Canteen and all the boys are going off to war. You don't look cool, you don't look hip, you're a menace, and you need to be stopped.

Especially with that soul patch. Seriously, just shave and take a Valium, man.

Better yet, take my vertigo medicine.

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