Two days after Tommy’s “outbreak of ebola” had been curtailed I rolled out of bed at 6am on my Thursday off work and plopped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. I lay there thinking ‘I’m going to vomit’ and started crawling to the toilet, thinking ‘I’ve caught Tom’s virus’. Then I thought “Hang on, why can’t I move?’ It dawned on me that something was seriously wrong. My ear was on the ground and my arms and legs wouldn’t move. Holy sheeyit! Was I having a stroke?
I knew this was not like being drunk, a condition I remembered vaguely from my student Doories Daze. (OK, and a few times since). Then I would still be agile and erudite (why, once when I was drunk a guy spoke to me in isiZulu and I understood him perfectly).
I abandoned thoughts of reaching the toilet and reversed towards my bed to reach my cellphone. Crawling backwards was slightly better, but I still felt like a beached bluebottle. I got hold of my phone. And couldn’t dial! I tried five or six times and got the wrong list of numbers. My vision was crazy! Eventually I dialled my good mate Jonathan. “Leave a message” he said heartlessly. So I dialled his far more reliable better-half Dizzi and got hold of her.
‘I think I’m having a stroke. I’m lying on the floor like an amoeba, unable to move. Can you come over?’
Then I dialled the doctor. The wrong doctor. Also a message: Phone the doc on duty. Luckily that was my GP and I got through to him at home.
“NO YOU’RE NOT” came his confident assertion after I’d said ‘Dammit Steve I’m sorry to phone you at home, but I think I’m having a stroke”. “You’ve got vertigo” he announced after asking a few pertinent questions. “Lie dead still, don’t move your head left or right or up or down. Just lie still. I’ll come and see you later. People who have strokes don’t phone their doctors, their family phone the doctor. Soon you’ll be feeling like a fraud” he says.
He was absolutely right. So when Jon & Dizzi arrived they could laugh at me and repeat the doc’s admonitions of “Sit! Stay!” and go home again. Later Steve (and sister Sheila) arrived, ran me over, handed me some medicine and repeated his “Lie dead still for 48hrs” message.
So I lay dead still for 12hrs then fell asleep and woke to find myself on my side a few times. Friday I lay mostly dead still but got very bored so I did a few Semont manoeuvres to get the otoliths out of the semicircular canals and vestibule into the urticle and that seemed to help a lot. Wikipedia. Which also explained the poor vision when trying to dial: Nystagmus.
Today Saturday I’m as right as rain. Upstanding, level-headed and well-balanced. I can pirouette like Nijinsky.