The past few days have been hellish – I have had wicked fierce vertigo that appeared outta nowhere on Wednesday morning. I woke up and was a wee bit light-headed, and thought, “oh I just got up too quickly.” But it was clearly more than that when I walked to the bathroom and promptly threw up. And then again when I got up to take the dog out, with the puking in the kitchen sink from all of the motion. IT SUCKS. This has also meant NOT doing all of the running around that I typically do every day, my house not getting cleaned, the laundry not getting done, and appointments being rescheduled. I do not have time to put my life on hold because of damn vertigo causing an inability to drive! It has been so bad that rolling over in bed will cause the bed to literally come off of the floor and spin. OK so not really “literally,” but it sure as hell feels that way when it happens. But I have discovered that if I keep my eyes tightly closed, the room spinning will typically stop sooner than if I leave them open.
So this morning, day three of this bullshit, I shift position – not even rolling over – and here it comes, fast forward spinning of the bed. I lie still and close my eyes until it stops, and try to not move and just stay relaxed. The house is fairly quiet, and the boy has left for school. Right then it was just me and the dog, chilling in the bed, and I just wanted to go back to sleep for a while to escape the dizziness. But lying there, awake but with eyes wide shut, I became acutely aware of many things all at once – it was wild.
I first became hyper-aware of physical things, by touch. Things like my toes, and the fact that my toenails seem a little long, and I could easily scratch my own legs if I wasn’t careful. And my heels – they are usually really, really dry and cracked, but aren’t so bad today, despite the fact that I haven’t had a pedicure in two weeks. I became increasingly aware that I was having some heart flutters, especially in correlation to the dizzy episodes. I could feel my heartbeat in my ears, especially the left one, which feels like it has the most fluid in – and I am hoping to be the cause of the vertigo. My nose is congested, moreso on the left side than the right. My stomach is gurgling with hunger, as I haven’t been able to eat much the past few days, not wanting to throw it back up…just in case. The dog, a six pound ball of fur, is curled up right against my ribcage, making it impossible to move at all because her sleeping body is dead weight on top of the sheets/blanket – I bet you never knew how heavy six pounds of sleeping puppy can weigh!
I then become keenly zoned in to all that is going on in the room around me, and outside of my window. The TV is on the news, volume low because of my pounding head. I can hear the ceiling fan…barely…on the lowest setting, circulating the air. The mini-fridge that we keep in our room kicks on and off, with a low whirrr that I usually don’t notice, but now find to be very loud. The air conditioning kicks on and off, with the main unit outside just under the window behind our bed, making a noticeable start and stop. There is a chorus of birds outside of my window, welcoming the day loudly and in several different octaves – all of which usually comfort me and make me smile; not so much today. Today the birds have become an annoyance, at best.
All of these sensations are taking place while I lie perfectly still, eyes closed. My sense of touch is heightened, my sense of sound engaged. My sense of smell is weak because of congestion, as is my sense of taste (not eating so much). But while my sense of sight is diminished, the others take over – and it amazes me. And of course, I, who tend to overthink things, began to correlate this to other avenues and wonder if the same holds true. It makes me think of people – those who hold tightly to rigid ideologies and beliefs, rather than embrace anything new or different.
I picture someone like my mother, for instance, who has such a difficult time accepting me, my life, or my family. She stands her ground, hands balled into fists, and squeezes her eyes tightly to shut out anything that I try to tell her, share with her, or attempt to reason with her. So I wonder: While people like this close their eyes so that they can’t see anything but what they want to see, do their other senses take over for them? And if they do, does that mean that they have to willingly ignore those other influences and sensations as well, in order to continue their unwilling stance for change and/or acceptance of something foreign?
Think about it. How many people do we know who are metaphorically lying very still, eyes wide shut, unwilling to embrace the changes that are happening in our world? Do they push out the sense of sound that takes over, with the voices of those who are fighting for equality, screaming for change, begging to be heard? Do they shove the sense of touch, as people in their lives – family? friends? neighbors? – give them gentle nudges to walk with them as they fight for equal rights, or as they try to hug them with unconditional love despite the inability to be accepted? Do they smell the air of hatred that emanates from them, often fueled by their own self-loathing; or do they smell the winds of change and love that stream from their fell0w mankind while they stand, chant, and sing about a world where all are treated the same? Do they block out the taste of bitterness on their own tongues, as they spew unkindness towards their neighbor who is different from them, maybe by race or sexual orientation? I guess it just seems to me that there are many out there who do these things, every day, in order to adhere to a particular religious belief, personal stance, or public policy – no matter how outdated or antiquated it might be.
For me, it was an interesting insight, to experience heightened senses in the absence of one or two – one that I welcome and embrace, because it ultimately opened my eyes to other things going on around me. I guess one can only hope that others will become acutely aware of what is going on around them while they have their eyes wide shut.