But then, later in the evening, I was stretching out my hips by lying on my back and then twisting to one side, then the other. Left was fine. Right...had the room spinning again. Like, major visual disturbance -- I was looking towards my brick fireplace, which is two-sided so I could see through to the dining room, and it was literally spinning. I sat up and held on to the floor for dear life. It subsided, and I pretty much couldn't tilt my head to the right on the floor or the bed for the rest of the night without some major Inception-style mindfuckery.
I googled it, which is always dangerous, but in this case it assured me that I am NOT dying, that it's NOT a tumor, that it's just little displaced crystals in my inner ear wreaking havoc on my spatial awareness and balance.
I had PT today for my shoulder (two more visits to go!), and I mentioned it just because sometimes we loosen my neck and do some tilty things that I was pretty sure would result in me a) on the the floor and/or b) vomiting. He said it was pretty common, and if it doesn't resolve naturally he'll do this thing called an Epley Maneuver that tries to resettle the crystals and usually works.
But then he said, "I've seen this a lot actually, it can be caused by stress, or an ear infection, but also it's never young people."
"It's always middle-aged and older."
I know I'm not exactly YOUNG, but "young" is relative and I have a hard time with "middle aged" as a concept. I think that was the first time SOMEONE ELSE labeled me as such. It makes sense -- I'm 46, which is half of 92, which would be a nice long life and so yes, I am middle-aged. It was just weird to be classed so nonchalantly.
Later, at Pilates again (can't go tomorrow so she fit me in to a class today, two days in a row = super sore!), my teacher said it a little kinder -- "I've had a lot of clients in perimenopause or post-menopause who have that. I wonder if there's something to that..."
I know I am middle-aged, and I know I am perimenopausal thanks to hot flashes and other sneaky clues since removing my uterus makes it tricky to know in other ways, ha. I feel like being labeled perimenopausal was less ouchy than middle-aged, though. Not sure why!
Maybe it's because although hot flashes and irritability and stomach bloating/weight gain suck, but I'm perfectly happy to lose the cycles that never worked properly in the first place. It's more sobering to realize that I am teetering on the downslide of my life cycle. That I would be fortunate to be halfway, especially given the precarious state of the world.
It stuck with me throughout the day. Thankfully, the spinning has lessened today, although dizzy spells where I have to grab on to something to steady myself have not. Fingers crossed that I can stay upright or at least be near something soft if I upend my middle-aged self -- I can't afford another injury! Quite literally, as my insurance only covers 30 PT visits PER CALENDAR YEAR, not per injury or script, which is some bullshit for those of us who are accident prone. I have two visits left before I would have to cash pay, which is $80/pop, which especially in the summer when I have no paycheck is a NO GO.
This experience keeps underscoring how the way society is puts everyone an accident away from financial disaster, especially if you're on shaky ground to begin with. (Slight tangent.) Anyway, age is just a number (but does actually mean SOMETHING), and I'd far rather be middle-aged than have to do "youth" over again!