There were signs that something was just not right. I was driving when I started to feel dizzy and thought I may pass out. I pulled over to the side of the road, rested and decided I must be dehydrated. I drove to WAWA, grabbed a bottle of water and continued with my day, never thinking twice about that strange feeling.
Five days after that episode, March 25, started as such an exciting day, it was my first ever one-hour special of my TV show on Temple TV. I felt happy and beyond excited to see three former guests I adore – Anna, Tracy and Sarah. And Gonen, my boyfriend, was on set to watch me tape the show, another first.
It was about half way through the show when I started feeling that strangeness again. I started to see more than three guests on the couch. I told myself, I was fine. But I wasn’t. I felt like I was going to pass out. As I ended the show, I kicked off my shoes, put my head on the chair and stayed there.
Time stopped. I was so weak and I had no clue what was wrong with me. My head was down and all I remember thinking was what is happening, something terrible is wrong. It felt like life had been sucked out of my body. I never felt that way before.
Gonen asked me if I wanted some water. The water sounded like a good idea. I took a sip and immediately started throwing up in a trashcan in front of everyone. It really didn’t matter. I was sick and to be honest, everyone was so incredibly loving and kind it just didn’t matter. All I wanted to do was lie down and rest. I heard people talking all around me and it was very hard for me to communicate with them.
George Cummings, a friend and the Assistant General Manager of Temple TV, came in the studio and started talking to me and asking me some questions. He shared with me that he is a first responder for the Fire and Police with Middletown Fire Company in Delco. He reassured me that he was there to help.
Paul Gluck, my friend and General Manager of Temple TV called 911. I was scheduled to be a guest speaker at Garden Logan’s class after my TV show, but that was not happening. Garden Logan and I have been friends for 22 years. She came to the studio looking for me when she found me lying on the chair with my head down. I remember her rubbing my arm, telling me I was going to be okay.
The ambulance arrived. They asked me basic questions, my name, age and if I knew where I was. (I don’t really know what they asked but usually it’s vitals like what happened.) All I remember is wanting to close my eyes and sleep. I asked God to keep me safe and help me get through this. Gonen was in the ambulance and never left my side through the entire experience.
I was taken to Temple University Hospital where they ran all kinds of tests to rule out a stroke, heart attack and other potential diagnoses. In my 52 years of life, this was truly a first for me. I was admitted and the next morning the neurologist told me it was vertigo. I had no idea what it was then, but now, today, May 21st I know what vertigo is and what impact it can have on someone’s life.
56 days later and I am still dealing with vertigo. I am still not 100% over my vertigo. My balance is not perfect, especially at night when I’m tired. I need to rest more, drink more water, and most importantly, I need to pay attention to what my body is telling me. I have learned a lot about myself in the 56 days since dealing with vertigo.
Vertigo taught me that my children, Jacob and Ari, are even more amazing than imagined. That when I needed them they were both there by my side supporting and loving me. I went from being fine one minute to not even able to walk to the bathroom without help. Jacob and Ari were there to hold me up both physically and emotionally.
Vertigo taught me that Gonen is an incredible man and I am truly blessed to call him my boyfriend.
Vertigo taught me it’s okay to rely on people. I needed people to help me with everything including driving, walking, food shopping and the basic everyday living skills. I relied on my family and friends and they were all there when I needed them. My mom was my go-to person. If I needed something, she did what she always does and made sure I had it.
Vertigo taught me the power of touch. Lying on the stretcher in the emergency room at different times, Gonen, Jacob and Ari would hold my hand or a rub my arm – a touch to say we love you. Garden’s touch at the TV studio while waiting for the ambulance to come. Touch is a very powerful sense when you are sick and scared.
Vertigo taught me to be kinder. To be more patient. I was not communicating clearly. It showed me how people treat those who are slower, or not 100%. I looked just like the old me. However, I was not the old me. My speech, my energy level, my entire being was impacted and I didn’t know when it was all coming back.
Vertigo reminded me about the gift of time. My Uncle Ted and Bev came over to watch the Phillies Home Opener with me. A few hours of watching a game with me meant so much.
Vertigo reminded me about the beautiful friendships I have in my life. My friends couldn’t do enough. I am blessed with an incredible tribe of women who know what it means to support and love each other.
Vertigo reminded me that we are all students. I went back to teaching two weeks later with the help of Joe, a student who drove me to and from school. One very special student, Brianna, reminded me that I still needed to rest and take care of myself. Every class, she would say, are you resting enough? She wants to be a nurse and the compassion and concern she showed me reminded me how lucky I am to have such incredible students.
I gained so much from my friend vertigo. The most valuable lesson I learned is that I needed a reminder to slow down, stop and look around. I teach people all the time to get off the proverbial treadmill of life and look around. What is working? What is not working for you in your life? Vertigo forced me not to just slow down, but to stop.
It reminded me of something I always knew. That a life filled with love is a life well lived. When my children were younger, I would tell them that the best things in life are free, hugs, kisses and love. Vertigo reminded me that the best things in life that really matter are free and add the most joy in your life.
When you are finished reading this blog I hope you will slow down, take a look around and get off the proverbial treadmill of life and remember what the best things are in your life.