There’s two reasons you’ll get no sympathy for sharing this MS symptom with anyone else.
First, if you say, ‘ooh, me vertigo’s playing up something awful today’ as you fumble blindly for something to hold on to, you’ll inevitably hear, ‘oh yeah, I hate heights too.’ (Grrr).
Or they’ll say, ‘ha! Thought it was wine o’ clock and you’d already started on the Mother’s Ruin’ followed by them imitating your rolling gait in a totally exaggerated fashion.
This happened to me a couple of days ago and my ‘audience’ was non other than The Teenager, so I kind of expected just a tiny bit of concern on his part. Not a bit of it.
I was helping him to pack his bag for London, i.e. I was holding up clothes for his Romanesque thumbs up or down.
(Looks up from his phone for a nanosecond – snort, snigger) ‘Muuuuuuum, I know I’m going away for a week but did you have to start the celebrations early? Like, really?’ (imitates my rolling gait).
I did my best to explain in a non-worrying manner, playing it down, good parent that I am, trying to move ever so slowly so I didn’t fall flat on my face.
‘Vertigo? Yeah, I get that too. Dad took me up The Gherkin in London and I was like, woah, bit scary. But I didn’t look like you do. And I got some sick (sic) photos.’
After waving my little cherub off to the bus-stop I sank onto the sofa. The world stopped moving for a while, if I closed my eyes. But then I felt sick. My phone went.
‘Muuuuuuuum. You know when I get back next week, seeing as you’ll have missed me, can I have a Domino’s? Pleeeeeeeaaaaaase?’
‘Sweetheart, you’ve been gone all of three minutes. We’ll talk about it later.’
The rest of my first evening of child-freeness was spent attempting to walk the length of my house without veering off to one side. The world didn’t stop moving. Everything was spinning faster than I could walk. I gave up and went to bed early, mega early.
The next morning, I woke up to a panicked message from a friend, saying she couldn’t get hold of me last night and was worried. I explained I’d gone to bed with vertigo at 8-ish and had put my phone on silent.
‘Oh yeah, I hate heights too. What were you doing? Rock climbing?’