Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 16.3 (W.G. Sebald)

Sebald, W.G.

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

I have suffered for about ten years with a kind of vertigo known by the disturbingly Borgesian designation of "Labyrinthitis." Reportedly, this condition arises by way of a virus to the inner ear. Neither the source nor the cause of this mysterious virus is currently known. What is known is that it exists and that it attacks the inner ear, which is responsible for maintaining equilibrium.

When an attack occurs, it feels like being on a ship being tossed about on a stormy sea or, less romantically, like being dead drunk, without the pleasing effect of inebriation. My worst attacks signal themselves by a single click sound in my head, almost like a light switch being turned on. Right after the click, the room begins to spin, sometimes so violently I can't even see. Walking even a few feet becomes impossible because I am unable to stand up. In short, I can do nothing but take a dramamine (or meclezine, which is the prescription version they give you), and wait for the storm to die down.

It usually passes in a few seconds, but can last hours, days, or even weeks. I once had lie on the couch in our apartment, the same one I described yesterday, for more than two weeks. Thankfully, I have never had an attack while driving.

Ok, off to work -- I'll finish this story tomorrow.


Gary said...

I had no idea you had vertigo. It sounds terrifying.

This is the Sebald book with the story about him meeting Herbeck. Do you have the book with the essay on Herbeck's poetry in it: Campo Santo?

I love Sebald's writing, although I've only read a couple of his books so far. I need to get the others!

Gary said...

Also, OMG, did you know this book of Sebald's collected poems just came out?

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

Thanks for the tip on the poems, Gary -- I wasn't aware that they had come out. The vertigo story has a somewhat satisfying conclusion, laced with a few pot-shots at the medical establishment. Tune in tomorrow!

Gary said...

I just read the follow-up ... so the chiropractor more or less fixed it? That's pretty amazing ...