High On Bike

A Bellinghamster On Wheels

Vertigo: Not Your Cute and Cuddly Harbor Seal

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I missed a couple of really good days for riding last weekend because I had a touch of vertigo. I started Friday morning out fine. Our friend, Sara Henry, from Vermont was crashing at our place while she attended a book convention called Booktopia at Village Books. Interestingly (or not…your choice), Sara is the one who got me into cycling years ago when we both lived in Nashville and belonged to the same writing group. Now she’s busy writing novels like Learning to Swim and A Cold and Lonely Place while I’m blogging about not being able to ride because I’m sick.

Anyway, shortly after breakfast after Sara and I continued to catch up, the vertigo struck. I don’t get vertigo often. I think the last time I had it was well over 5 years ago. But let me just say, it sucks. If you’ve never had it, it’s like being seasick minus the adventure. And I know seasick. I can get queasy just looking at waves. One time when I was out fishing on the Oregon Coast in gently rolling waves, I was characteristically yakking over the side when a huge sea lion surfaced about 10 feet away. Big sea lions are not the cute, cuddly harbor seals I was more familiar with. This guy was positively monster-esque. It snorted. I screamed. Fortunately, I managed not to aspirate my lunch at the same time. Unperturbed the sea lion hung out for a bit then slipped beneath the surface again. I continued to chum for fish and a mighty fine time was had by all.

With a bad case of vertigo, it’s like you’ve been sucked into a vortex where everything is spinning and rolling and closing your eyes does nothing to mitigate it. So there you are wishing you could die because the vortex won’t stop and hoping that when the next wave of wracking nausea overwhelms you and you hurl your Cheerios topped with strawberries that you actually hit the big metal bowl your husband put beside the bed so you won’t have to hire a carpet cleaner the next day. No refreshing sea breezes, no National Geographic moment, just you, the relentless dizziness, and your big metal barf bowl. BORING!

Fortunately, Friday’s vertigo was mild and everything was only a little wobbly kind of like when you have that extra glass of wine you promised yourself you’d forswear. Ira had to drive Sara to Village Books for the convention. I felt okay enough to ride shotgun but only after assuring Ira I was most likely not going to yak and promising him I would roll down the window in time if my assurance was for naught. The vertigo eventually subsided but I spent the rest of the next two days being completely useless, reading other bike blogs, writing this post, and generally feeling like dreck.

Sara was a great sport about it all and I really enjoyed spending time with her. I’ll get back on my bike again as soon as I can drag my carcass off the couch.

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Author: d2

I ride because it's fun. It's also healthy, good for the environment, and my gas budget but if it wasn’t fun, none of that would matter. It's what gets me on my bike almost every day, even when I'm tired, not feeling my best, or just not in the mood. No other form of "exercise" has equaled it. I used to love to run but I was injury-prone and couldn't do it every day. I certainly couldn't jog down to the store and come home with dinner. Walking is okay but definitely falls around midpoint on the fun scale. I enjoy it, especially when I'm walking with a friend, but am not exhilarated by it. So I ride.

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