In keeping with a dizzying trend with the women of my father’s side of the family, I experienced my second, significant bout of vertigo this morning.  My beloved grandmother, Beauty, was prone to it, and I recall her saying that she wouldn’t wish it on her worst enemy.  What compels about this quip is that not only did my Beauty not have any enemies, she never-ever complained.  For her to mention something was unpleasant was unusual. For her to actually confess an encounter was loathsome, well, that just didn’t happen…. at least not in front of the grandchildren.

I actually wondered yesterday if I was physically off, and felt fuzzy and overtired all day.  I knew when I woke  this morning that something was wrong.  The ceiling fan seemed to dart down toward me like a 3-D, horror film blade, and my head felt sloshy.  For those of you medical types out there, I respect this is an imprecise diagnostic term, but it’s the correct word.  My head felt wet.  It slipped like blurred vision, but I could clearly see.  It brought to mind pears in a mason jar.  The Husband had already gotten up, so I tried to get out of bed.

I immediately fell.  My legs couldn’t hold me up.  It took me a too-long moment to perceive that it was imbalance that threw me off my legs, and not weakness.  My step-mom had a couple of strokes in March, my step-father lost his best friend in a single car accident in July, and a dear family friend had a stroke in August.  The fragility of health has been firmly cataloged and rehearsed by my family circle over the past eight months. I confess, as I laid there on the bedroom floor, and the room swam in circles in front of my eyes, I was afraid.

I couldn’t walk, so I crawled out of the bedroom and called for The Husband.  I knew before he came around the corner that he was concerned.  I heard the haste in his fast steps and alarm in his voice before he knelt down to level his most welcome face to mine.

“What, Baby?  What is it?” he inquired as he put his arms around me like a shield.  I felt his eyes assess my condition even as his words ministered their comfort.

“Vertigo?” I said as I pulled myself in a ball against his chest.

The Husband did what he does.  He helped me.  He was my responsive and calm, steady port.  His arms were safety and home.

Vertigo is like a gale that flips a ship off course.  All of a sudden, the internal compass simply spins.

It leaves me feeling like someone put my brain in a jar and gave it a good shake like a holiday snow globe.

If you didn’t know, there are postures you can assume to help recalibrate balance in response to vertigo.  They make the room spin even worse, and I always feel like I need to throw up, but they help, as does a long nap.

As such, today I was low and slow, and sometimes spinning.   I briefly put my head up to attend to critical emails  I hadn’t addressed all day.  Naturally, my inbox was pregnant and bloated with messages.

I found I message from a dear friend’s mother.  She explained that her daughter and grandchildren were in a dangerous, potentially tragic situation.

The whirl of this most unwelcome news was the emotional equivalent of vertigo like PTSD.

Two short years ago, this dear friend was in the middle of a similar situation.  It took a full-scale intervention to extricate her and her children.

Like an unwelcome gale, it spins my compass to learn they are in the middle of another sea of abuse.

If you didn’t know, abuse postures you to assume debasement, to forcibly recalibrate worth in response to isolated helplessness.  It assaults the spirit to split from the body, and begins a cycle that uproots families.

There is no more insidious snare.

The fragility of her  choices has been firmly cataloged, and I confess I am afraid for her.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!