Thursday, April 26, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 16.4 (W.G. Sebald)

The Rings of Saturn
Sebald, W.G.
The Rings of Saturn

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

This was the first book of Sebald's that I read. I can't recall who it was that introduced me to his work. I have a memory of seeing this on Gregg Biglieri's bookshelf, but I don't recall us talking about it until much later.

Anyhow, to finish yesterday's tale...

I think I had been having minor attacks of vertigo for a couple of years before I had a major one. I can remember on several occasions getting dizzy suddenly, then recovering immediatelgy. At first I thought I had just stood up too quickly or something, but then it started happening while I was seated or even lying down and with increasing frequency.

The first big attack occurred in December of 2001. I remember the date because we had just finished the fall season of events at Just Buffalo with a visit from legendary sportswriter Frank Deford. I believe the attack occurred on the same day he left. I was sitting in the living room of our apartment on Ashland Avenue watching a movie when I heard a click, like a light switch being flipped, sound in my head.

The room started spinning violently. I tried to walk down the long, narrow hallway, but could not make it because I kept falling into the walls. I basically crawled back to the couch, where I lay for the next two weeks, unable to do much more than sleep or watch short bits of TV. I couldn't read even a line.

So began one of those lovely medical odysseys in which a group of "specialists" performs a battery of tests and arrives at the beginning once again. I took eye tests, ear tests, had my ear canal flooded with hot water to induce nausea, etc. At the end of the day, they basically told me that I was dizzy and that I'd better get used to it.

I was told there were two forms of labyrinthitis, one viral, the other caused by a dislocation of inner ear crystals. I was told in no uncertain terms that I had the viral form and that it was untreatable. They said that eventually I would regain a new equilibrium and suffer less. The attacks continued for another two or three years, occurring less intensely but with increasing regularity.

I hurt my neck sometime in 2003 or 4. Not sure how, but I did something to get it out of whack. Lori suggested I see her chiropractor. I did. I told him about the vertigo during our visit and he told me that he had an adjustment that sometimes helped.

After adjusting my back and neck, he cradled my head in his hands and lightly shook it. He did this from three separate angles. I went back two more times in the following weeks. I didn't have an attack for almost a year. When I did, I went back again and the next time I went two years without an attack. It's now been five years or so without a major attack. I can still feel it lurking now and again, but it never overwhelms me like it once did.

So began my distrust of the medical profession...

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