What’s the first thing you notice about someone?

A friend once sent me one of those email quizzes where you have to answer a long list of personal questions. Perhaps you’ve gotten one of these yourself? I see quite a few of them posted on other people’s blogs, and I think they’re sort of interesting. Anyway, these quizzes tend to ask many of the same questions (mostly about favorites, what you’re wearing, listening to, etc.), but the one my friend sent also had the question: What is the first thing you notice about someone?

Vertigo is a little something like my friend’s quiz – a semi-illuminating answer that only hints at what’s below. I can describe to you what it feels like, but until you experience it firsthand, you’ll never really understand. Up until a week ago, I had a really good hold on my Meniere’s symptoms and had the feeling that I was in control of the disease. I don’t know what being on that boat did to me – whether it was the food, the motion, or some combination thereof, but this past week has shown me that control is an illusion. We simply can’t control much of what happens to and around us.

Yesterday evening, 2 teenagers with a sawed-off shotgun assaulted a man right around the corner from my home. They tried to rob him, but he didn’t have any money or valuables, and that really pissed them off – so they blew an enormous hole in his leg. His blood is still pooled on the front steps of the house behind mine. It made me think of my husband’s response to the same quiz question I listed above: What is the first thing you notice about someone? Whether they’re packing [heat].

I guess that’s life as we know it in Philadelphia, November 11, 2007.

Not funny at all.

We can’t control much of what happens in our lives, but we can all make choices. Today I am well enough to be out of bed – and I’m making the choice to share with others something I learned this week.

If you’re waiting until everything is *just so* in your life before allowing yourself to really live and be happy, you’re destined to be one sad sack. Things will likely never be perfect. So do the best you can with what you’ve got – because I can guarantee there are people who have it way worse than you. And surprisingly, many of those people have a better attitude. When terrible things happen, don’t look to the heavens, shaking your fist at God and wondering why you’ve been cursed. Look inside, believe in yourself, and understand there are things beyond your control. We may never understand why horrible things happen, but I do believe there is a greater plan. Be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t wait around for someone else to do it, don’t sit around complaining that things suck. Fight against injustice, DON’T be a part of the problem. And always, always, embrace the positive. Love and respect yourself and those around you. And for the love of God, get over yourself already (No, it’s NOT really “all about you”), take time to share and be a servant to the world, rather than expect everyone to bow down before your sorry ass. Despite what your tee-shirt says, you are NOT royalty.

You’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with the title of my post. Well, I guess in my own roundabout way I’m trying to make a point. What is the first thing you notice about someone? Is it their eyes? Their crutches? The gun pointed at your face? What do we see when we look at others? What do we see when we look inside ourselves?

I was about as low as I’ve been this week, but illness is not necessarily a bad thing if it renders you a wiser, humbler, and more appreciative person. If you can laugh at pain and hold strong in times of fear, then you’re no longer captive to either. And that is a worthy goal.

Someone stop this crazy thing – I wanna get off.

It’s been 3 days since we left the ship and I’m still suffering from motion sickness. The constant bobbing seems to have abated, but I continue having the oddest sensation of falling backward – even when seated – like my head and shoulders have a gravitational attraction to the floor behind me. I also have the persistent sense that things are tilted or slanted. When I walk, the world angles sideways. When standing I feel really off-balance, like I may fall.

It’s definitely getting to me. I try to stay calm and ignore it as much as I can, but frankly it’s not easy. How the hell do you ignore the fact that the whole effing world is skewed?! My personality doesn’t help matters. My normal speed is 50 miles a minute, I bore incredibly easily and can’t sit still to save my life. My husband urges me to rest – but I just don’t do bon-bons and daytime TV! Asking me to lie around all day is equivalent to “let me drill a hole in your head and let your brains ooze out.” I am the suckiest patient ever.

I had some wine the past few nights (to relax as much as anything), and it helped quite a bit. But this morning the carousel was up-and-running and I was really nauseous (and not wanting to spend the day drunk) I ate a bowl of cereal. Immediately the spinning seemed to intensify. WTF?!

Normally when I have this level of dizziness my ear is totally jacked up – meaning my Meniere’s symptoms are terrible: deafness, pressure, tinnitus, the whole shabang. And the episodes almost always have a cause (though whether I can control them is a whole other story). In the case of sodium (aka food) it’s totally up to me, meaning I watch what I eat very carefully. But my ear is also incredibly sensitive to the weather (barometric pressure) and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about that. So, often when we get a quick change of weather (usually fair to rain) I have a spontaneous change in symptoms (fine to bad and then back again). But this is the first time I’ve had the intense dizziness or vertigo without any of the accompanying ear symptoms.

I have been really busy catching up on chores since we got back, and doing a lot of bending over/up/down, so I decided to take a breather and just sit in front of the computer for a little while. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be helping much.

I hate having no control over my own body. . It’s one thing to make the conscious choice of getting wasted or riding the tilt-a-whirl and then paying the price, but this blows. And there’s nothing I can do about it. I have Meniere’s. I can’t change it and it’s not going to go away. But at least I know I won’t always feel as lousy as today. and I love life. So my frame is tilted.. I have to cope the best I can.