Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Fun with Vertigo and Sushi

When I was eight years old, I was absolutely positive my grandmother was going to die. I remember sitting in front of her when it began, watching a National Geographic documentary on the Iceman. That leathery, noseless face will always be associated with physical illness and someone being in trouble. My grandmother became extreamly sick, terrifying the everloving life out of me. My father took her to the hospital. In my little young heart I knew that soon my parents would come back and tell  me my grandmother had died.

But it turned out to be nothing life threatening. The first time Mom told me what it was I thought she said "Veneer's Disease" and I thought it had something to do woodworking or dental caps. It's actually called "Menier's Disease" and it means your inner ear has gone haywire. Some people get it mild, some people get it severe. My aunt contracted it a couple years ago, and I began paying attention to every little quiver my equilibrium, because my aunt and my grandma? They are exactly like me.

So when I began having sensations of vertigo two weeks ago? I got worried. Especially as it got worse, and worse. I thought maybe it was a cold, and felt a little relieved until the cold went away and the vertigo didn't. I did, however, begin to have migranes. Although I'm not sure if it is "migranes" or "week long migraine" in the singular. The last three days were horrible. I had to work on Thanksgiving, and halfway through the shift I had to sit down and put my head between my knees. I had trouble walking in a straight line and the headache seemed to have its own color and flavor. I complained about it on the blog a little bit, but not to the digree that I could have. Two weeks of feeling as if I were floating on a ship, as if the room were spinning around me. Nothing made it better, and I tried just about everything I could think of.

Of course, it's always the stuff that you don't think about that gets ya.

One dumb, stupid thing got me through Thanksgiving thursday. It was knowing that the next day, yesterday, I would get to have sushi for lunch. I eat a lot of sushi, starting from back when I was eighteen and my mom handed me a piece. It started with the baby stuff--California rolls: imitation crab meat, avacado and cucumber--but by now I've moved on to actual raw fish. And the restaurant here in town has also addicted me to edamame and miso soup. To say that I eat sushi twice a week minimum would not be an exaggeration. Friday was twice the usual reward, though, because the restaurant had been closed while the owners went on vacation.

For two weeks. Starting about five days before the vertigo started.

I made a lot of homemade sushi too, but due to transportation issues I hadn't had a chance to go to the store lately, and when I began feeling sick I didn't really feel like going out much. Looking back, I think that was fatigue talking. But the result was, I went from eating a large amount of seaweed, miso and fish, both at home and by eating out, to eating none at all. Now, I'd skipped a week or so before, but usually by the weekend I'd be willing to kill for a philidelpha roll, and I had both the grocery store, the restaurant and my own kitchen to sate the craving with. And it was an active, sometimes even urgent craving. I'd ride a couple miles in blazing sunlight to pick up a couple boxes of grocery store sushi. And it's always the same thing: Tuna, maybe some shrimp, edamame and miso. I don't have to even think about it. My stomach says WE WANT THAT ONE. NOW.

Now, some people had brought up dietary triggers, specifically soy products triggering vertigo. I shrugged and said yeah, I DID eat a lot of soy beans, but I hadn't had any for two weeks, since before the vertigo began, and that probably should have clued me in. But it didn't. It seemed so freaking STUPID, this whole idea that not eating raw fish and seaweed could be causing something so painfully debilitating, I blew it off. I just hoped that it was Meniere's disease, that the headaches and balance problems weren't an indicator of something else. My other searches for the same symptoms brought up things like meningitis and MS. I needed to go see a doctor, I figured, and I could only hope that it wouldn't be expensive, that they wouldn't order six billion tests, and that if I did have something degenerative, it'd wait for me to find a way to make money at a job that didn't require eight hours of my standing and walking.

And then I ate one meal.

By five o'clock on Friday night, I felt almost normal. Not 100% but I could walk in a straight line again, and the headache, my friends, the headache was gone. So I decided to repeat the exparament by making my own sushi for dinner. And I feel utterly, completely and entirely normal now for the first time in two and a half weeks. No headaches. Minimal vertigo.

I've done a little research, and I will be doing more, because this shit is WEIRD man, but if you google "vertigo" and "mineral deficiency" the first thing that comes up is magnesium. A quick google of sushi reveals that it's high in magnesium, plus a bunch of other things. I'm going to be reading up on this, and I'll say more when I KNOW more. Right now I'm just freaked out that eating one meal could have such a strong influence on my own body. But it's just...well, kind of cool.

And if you're having vertigo issues, drink lots of water and take magnesium pills. And maybe order a couple extra rolls the next time you go to a sushi bar.

1 comment:

  1. Someone hasn't been eating their leafy greens.