Lynne Mortimer: The world just keeps turning – but in the wrong direction

The world is spinning for Lynne Mortimer

The world is spinning for Lynne Mortimer - Credit: Archant

It’s been a funny old week... well, to tell the truth, it hasn’t made me laugh much, writes Lynne Mortimer.

After the overly close inspection of a brick wall with my face in February, I have continued to have dizzy spells. My GP pounced upon my symptoms, immediately suggesting I might have BPPV, which has nothing to do with the petroleum giant BP or double-glazed patio doors (UPVC). Had it been the latter, a wipe down with a damp cloth would probably have sorted me out. My problem, she thought, might be benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This was the first time I had been diagnosed with something almost unpronounceable.

I was referred to an ENT doctor at the hospital and, last week, after a wide-ranging tour of the hospital car park in search of a space, made my way to the clinic.

First I was given a hearing test. I wore earphones and pressed a button when I heard a beep. Some were squeaky high whistles, some were bass notes. I won’t be downloading that one on iTunes. I did okay although I’m unlikely to respond to a dog whistle. I expect I’m age affected. Most of my livelier functions seem to be so.

Then I went in to see the ENT specialist plus the good-looking student doctor. I sat on a chair and sipped my water. It was the doctor’s water. I apologised and sipped my own water. The chair turned out to be the main instrument of torture. The back was lowered, the arms were folded down, the leg rest elevated. I was asked to lie back which I did and the world spun round like a fruit machine. I didn’t get three cherries, I got dizzy, came out in cold sweat and felt a bit sick. You don’t win a prize for that.

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Then I was asked to roll on to my side and look over on to floor. By now the lovely nurse was holding my hand because my sense of balance was off on its personal roller coaster. The good-looking student doctor (who wasn’t Tamal from The Great British Bake Off but a young man I have no doubt now hugely embarrassed) kindly opened the windows to cool me down.

“There, you see,” said the specialist to the younger doctor, regarding me with satisfaction, “that’s what I would expect to happen.”

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Even I was interested. “Am I a classic case?” I asked, hopefully. It seems I am. I felt so much better.

I was given exercises and advised to start them in a few days. I was also told to sleep, as much as possible, in a sitting position. That night, feeling a wee bit woozy, I propped myself up on two fat pillows and went to sleep. But smooth cotton sheets are slippery.

Consequently when I woke up feeling awful at 4am I had slid down the bed, turned on to my tummy and (as is my wont) tucked my feet between the mattress and the foot board. I crawled back up to the top of the bed and slept fitfully until the alarm went. As usual, I sprang from my bed, ready for the day but promptly fell back on the bed as the fruit machine spun once more.

“I shall be all right,” I assured my husband. I wasn’t going to let a touch of BPPV beat me. The way of dealing with this thing, I decided, was to keep my head perfectly still and I managed to accomplish this by channelling my inner Bond villain. “No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die.”

My friend Jane gave me a lift to work and I felt okay... for five minutes and then the most deadly wash of nausea flowed over me and my friend Jane gave me a lift back home.

I spent the rest of the day sitting bolt upright, immobile, channelling my inner statue.

This week, also, daughter Ruth and soon-to-be-son-in-law Kev (did I mention they’re getting married next year?) have been away and left us in charge of their white rats, pink-eyed, Dumbo-eared Ruby and dark-eyed, timid Arwen.

I don’t mind rats. Our son Mark had pet rats during his teens. I was a bit spooked by his first one, Buffy – don’t pets’ names date you – but, eventually, I came to appreciate their clever little hands and twitchy whiskers and snuffly, amiable ways. In fact, I think it is quite a good idea to keep one or two because they say, don’t they, that you are never more than six feet from a rat. Surely it’s better if the rats no more that two yards away are your own.

See more from Lynne Mortimer here

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