Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Quick Word

A quick word: benign.
That was the first word in the diagnosis given to me by the emergency room doctor. Which was nice, since I had assumed that like the nearly departed Luke Perry, I was having a stroke and this would be the first stage of my downward spiral. I imagined calling frightened relatives and reassuring them. Gathering my friends around for one more chuckle for the road. I would be brave. I would be inspirational.
"Actually," I was reassured, "it's pretty common."
What I had not fully acquiesced was feeling dizzy to the point of falling down was "common." Not for this high-speed roller coaster-type rider. I have committed a large portion of my life to spinning myself or paying others to do just that in order to disturb the workings of my inner ear. I walked the upper rail of the wooden fence around my parents' back yard when I was ten. Balance was something in which I took a great deal of pride. Now, here I was on my hands and knees, with my cookies ready to be tossed at a complete loss of how to make things hold still.
Even when I used to drink, I was labeled by my associates The Thing That Would Not Heave. I might stumble, I might babble incoherently, but I would not fall down. I was a drunk Weeble. Even when I tore up my knee and was forced to hobble around on crutches, I maintained my balance if not my dignity.
But here I was, clinging to the carpet, assuring my wife and son, "It's okay. You can't fall off the floor."
The challenge with my head, aside from the obvious gravity storms, is that I tend to race to the worst possible scenario. I tried to imagine what my life would be like if I was never able to stand up on my own. I wondered if I would be able to ride a bike, go for a run. Sit at a table without an extensive network of rigging and pulleys. Would I ever play the violin again?
Not that I ever had, but it worried me nonetheless.
So yes, "benign" was a big deal to me.

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