Sunday 19 February 2017


Sometimes looking after your body feels like such hard work. After over two years on a waiting list, I’m eventually awarded an appointment at a local clinic, where the very excellent physiotherapist gives me a programme of 10 exercises to do each morning.

Along with my everyday warm-up, the whole caboodle takes only a half hour, and after a few weeks I start to feel amazing. My body is moving as one unit - apart from the more wobbly bits - and after full-speed walks with Lady Dog I feel no pain in my back.

Fantastic! My spirits are finally lifting. After a long bout of that coughy flu bug everyone had this winter, it's wonderful to feel once again the spiritual and emotional boost of good physical health.

Whispering Blue is out visiting for the weekend, and I’m finishing my stretches in the living room before we take Lady Dog out.for a good long ramble The sky is cloudless and blue, a heavy frost encrusting the land, and I’m very much looking forward to heading outside when -


My legs collapse under me and I fall into my chair, clinging onto its arms as my lounge suddenly spins round and around, up and down, just like a carousel.

Facing the fireplace I watch with pure horror as the windows arrive in front of my eyes and disappear behind me, below me, above me, and then come round again. 

This was not your average dizziness in the head. I felt stationary (as I was) but the world around me was whirling and dipping and rising, as if I was sitting inside a raffle barrel.

Finally it dissipated and I wobbled into the kitchen.

“Whoah mate! Just had the weirdest bloomin’ dizzy spell. Up was down and round about and total madness, but I reckon it was just something to do with my exercises. Look, it’s gorgeous out there. Let’s head off and tramp some hoary bog!”

Not such a good idea. My legs felt as if they’d been at sea for three months, so we came home quickly and I sat down and did not dare move for a very long time.

A few spinning rooms and a fairly unpleasant night later, I see the doctor who tells me I’ve a form of labyrinthitis. If it’s viral it will pass in ten day or so, and if it’s not viral then there’s a tiny piece of calcium lost in a middle-ear tubule and only a certain manoeuvre, performed by a physiotherapist, can get it loose.

As I write now I’m not sure which it is. I’ve been to the physio and she seems to think it’s non-viral, so I’m doing the required manoeuvre. 

The Snapper isn’t convinced, because she knows well how foolhardy and stubborn I usually am in the face of illness, yet for the last few days I’ve been utterly wiped out, sitting in my chair, snoozing and dribbling in particularly sexy fashion.

There are vital things we take utterly for granted and it’s not until they are robbed from us that we understand their importance. The first time I was in an earthquake I felt slightly traumatised, not so much because I felt my life had been in danger, but more the result of feeling the earth move under my feet.

Orgasmic innuendos aside, it was the most troubling experience. 
Throughout my entire life the ground was there: solid; trustworthy; something so fundamental to everyday life that it never crossed my mind it might somehow disappear, until … whoooooaaah!

So it has been. Long periods of relative calm and then I’m clutching the mattress, as the universe’s fairground worker whirls my personal waltzer.

All this will pass, but it made me wonder about perception. Of course I know what my living room windows look like, but how did I see them in front of my eyes when the back of my head was turned to them?

Very similar to vertigo, this particular number I’ve got feels as if an external force is reeling my environment around, up and down.

Compared to some though I’m lucky. Consider those who suffer from Glass Delusion, which first appeared back in the 17th century, when a new clarity of glass was achievable, and considered by some supernatural.

Much rarer, yet still suffered by some today, Glass Disorder victims believe they are actually made of glass, and therefore in imminent danger of shattering.

Then there are syndromes known as ‘parasomnias’, which include Sexsomnia and the splendidly named Exploding Head Syndrome. 

Sexsomnia involves a sleeping person unknowingly instigating and performing sexual acts, whilst far way in the Land of Nod. Although a verifiable condition, Sexsomnia has become controversial, as it’s been cited as a defence against rape.

Exploding Head Syndrome usually shows itself very soon after the victim has fallen asleep. From inside their own heads they then hear either bombs going off, gunshots, screams, wild animal roars or, as suggested by the syndrome’s name, the sound of their own head blowing apart.

Sitting at the kitchen table, the Snapper and I chat about all these horrible illnesses and I try to convince myself that what I have at the moment is in some way preferable to other weird stuff.

As I witter away I see herself idly looking at a piece of junk mail that’s just been delivered.

Leaning over I take a look myself, only to see big bold wording announcing: Over 50s Funeral Plan.

“Steady love!” I offer. “I may be all over the place but I’m not going anywhere yet!”

We both laugh out loud. Always the best medicine.
©Charlie Adley

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