Saturday, October 29, 2016
It has been nearly a year and a half since my first episode of vertigo and it has settled down signifcantly since then. I feel normal during normal activities. Sitting, walking, standing, even running. No problem. It is the less common head positions that have remained problematic. Dentist chair tipping, sleeping on the "wrong" side, and of course the dreaded yoga inversion. These kinds of things leave me wobbly. But why? After so much time, why?
I went to see another physiotherapist yesterday. (My first one was yummy, and perhaps this allowed me to not notice that he wasn't fixing me. Instead I was taken in by his deep brown, almost black eyes. His accent. His stories about his country. Maybe. Maybe not.) The new physiotherapist is younger, with red hair and thick glasses, horrifyingly crooked teeth and man-boobs. And still, by the end of the session I wanted to cuddle with him. I think it was because he is so smart. He had no distracting stories to tell me about India (because he grew up in Richmond) but he knew more about vestibular disorders than anyone I have spoken to so far, including the Ear/Nose/Throat doctor who was supposed to be god's gift to vestibular medicine. (Nope.) (It occurs to me to note that the ENT probably knows more but he articulated nothing. And surely that matters at least as much, if not more. What good is knowledge if one does not use it to educate others?)
The physiotherapist conducted all kinds of tests I have not yet had, and what was more than that, he asked me a lot of questions that no one has ever asked me about what happened. After all of this, he concluded that my vestibular problem was probably more complex than had been diagnosed by my doctor (who conceded he knew very little about BPPV), and therefore requires a more complex course of treatment. This could be distressing, but it isn't because I have had no treatment at all, and been left alone to try and sort myself out for the last year and a half, and having someone tell me he has ways to help is actually highly encouraging. This physiotherapist sent me home with homework, and a new hope that one day I will do yoga again without being afraid of falling over. And this makes me glad I decided to give physiotherapy another try.
My new job is a huge job. It wrings from me things that are frightening and heartbreaking. Some days I go home and think I am a terrible, useless counsellor. But it also allows me to shine in ways I have never done in my other job, to be creative and smart and helpful - and when I recognize - or better, when someone tells me - I have done well, I am elated.
At the start of the year I registered a new grade twelve student who was part boy, mostly turtle, tucked so far into himself I could barely see him. I enrolled him in his classes and wished him a happy year, and gently reminded him that counsellors were also for counselling, should the need ever come up. Just saying. And miraculously, he did come back. And we have been working together since then. And he's getting better. He really is. He is smiling now, he is forgiving himself for a million human flaws that used to fill him with self-loathing. He has friends. He is flirting with a girl in the library. These small successes, although they belong to their owners, spill over onto me and fill me up to almost exploding.
In my other job, I did these things too, but I did them off the side of my desk. Now they are my main purpose, and being paid to help people feel happier and better about themselves seems impossibly too good to be true. So when I fuck up someone's schedule from time to time, I will forgive myself as lightly as I can.