No, I wasn't on any kind of vacation -- unless one calls an overnight in a hospital a "vacation."
I landed in the hospital more than a month ago after nearly passing out on a subway platform one evening while on the way to the shelter to see a dog (whom we later rescued).
I did manage nevertheless to make it to the shelter that night -- but barely.
I was so out of it by the time I got to the AC&C that the memory of meeting the black Chow named Brady was, quite literally, like something out of a bad dream or total fog:
No ground seemingly below, it was like trying to walk on water or in a very rocky boat.
Those who did not know me, might have figured I was someone on bad drugs or a keg of booze.
When arriving at the shelter, I explained to Jesse, (the New Hope rescue coordinator) that I felt very dizzy and sick and that she would have to accompany me to meet the dog. I weakly added that I could not stay long, though that must have been blatantly obvious.
Walking through the narrow corridors and winding halls of the shelter did not help. By the time Jesse and I made it to the Adoption ward of the shelter, (located in the garage) my legs felt like cooked spaghetti and I had to immediately sit down. Everything was in a whirl.
Jesse brought out the bouncy black Chow.
"Do you want to take him for a walk?" she cheerfully chipped.
"I'm not up for any kind of walk right now," I mumbled barely audible even to myself.
I managed to pet the friendly Chow once or twice and told Jesse that we would take Brady after he got neutered. I then asked her to call me a cab.
A few minutes later I stumbled into the cab debating with myself whether to go home or go to a hospital.
Panic won out and I told the driver to take me to Metropolitan hospital.
The thought of passing out or worse, dying in my apartment was not appealing.
By the time the cabbie dropped me off in front of the Emergency Room, I was barely able to walk.
Indeed, I must have looked scary as the doctors saw me right away.
After insuring that I was not having a heart attack or some other immediately life-threatening condition, I was left sitting in a freezing exam room while they attended other patients.
When a couple of the doctors finally returned after what seemed like hours, I requested to go home.
"Oh, we don't advise that," one of them answered somberly. "That is a bad idea. You could pass out in your home. You need to be admitted for tests."
"But, my animals!" I shot back. "My two dogs need to be walked and my cats fed!"
"Don't you have someone to call?" the other doctor asked. "It would be very risky to leave tonight. We can't be responsible for what might happen to you!"
Well, there was a scary proclamation. Gee, thanks, I thought.
Yet, who was I to pick a fight with a doctor? Though feeling slightly better than the previous couple of hours, I was still shaky and unsteady.
Reluctantly, I called my friend, Elizabeth who thankfully has keys to my apartment and lives close by and asked her to tend my animals.
Elizabeth kindly obliged and said she would be happy to help.
"Hopefully, I will be able to leave here tomorrow," I tried to promise her.
The next 24 hours was like some blur of constant blood pressure monitoring, EKG's, temperature checks, numerous blood tests and even an X-Ray.
Perhaps from the anxiety, stress or horrible hospital food which I couldn't eat, my blood pressure at one point fell to 95 over 47. The low count threatened to add an extra day in the hospital.
That thought was worse than death however and thankfully, the BP came up on the next check and the doctors told me I could leave later in the day.
All the tests did not seem to point to anything concrete.
Perhaps that is why the hospital sent in a couple of psychiatrists to confer with me.
"Are you depressed or anxious about anything?" one of them asked.
"Well, yes," I answered. "I'm depressed and anxious about feeling so lousy! I've been having these dizzy spells for some weeks now. They happen out of nowhere. I feel I could pass out in the middle of the street or in my home. Anywhere. Anytime. That is depressing and scary. -- I have no control."
One of the doctors wrote out a prescription for Zoloft.
I left the hospital in grateful time to miss dinner.
The only food that was edible during the day-long hospital stay was a small box of Rice Krispies as that was the only thing the hospital could not ruin. -- Even so, they provided no sugar to go with the cereal.
Probably from the lack of nutrition, I was so weak when leaving the hospital, I had to take a cab home.
My legs felt like cement blocks when walking up the stairs to my apartment.
Gratefully, Elizabeth offered to walk Tina and Chance that night as well as the first one.
Its vital to have reliable friends when one runs into trouble like this.
Since returning home more than a month ago, life has become one daily adventure -- but not an adventure one particularly enjoys.
"Vertigo" is, I guess the official term for it. But, unlike the condition that plagued James Stewart in the famous Hitchcock movie of the same name, this sense of spinning in a rocky boat has nothing to do with heights.
Rather, it seems more to do with some kind of fluid imbalance (or retention) in the inner ear that affects one's sense of balance and equilibrium. (Did I swim too much over the summer and into early fall?)
One recalls former first lady, Mamie Eisenhower reportedly suffering from the condition many years ago and being touted by some tabloids as a drunk.
So far, I don't think I am walking like a drunk most of the time, but there are numerous occasions of feeling "tipsy."
Its enough to make one want to take up drinking just to earn the feeling.
But, rather than embark on a blitz of dizzy lizzy alcohol or prescription anti-depressants whose possible side affects can include dizziness or suicide, ("Suicide cures depression!" the ads should read) I'm considering taking up a blitz of almost non-stop dancing or really long and brisk walks in the park with the dogs.
Yes, those things really do seem to help keep the spells or "adventures" at bay -- at least while one is doing them.
Perhaps I should aspire to become the dancing ballerina from the movie, "The Red Shoes?" ---PCA