Saturday, November 6, 2010

Off Balance

Work ground to a halt yesterday when our painter failed to show up. After a couple of hours, LK finally rang the project manager to be told that although our painter is 'an artist' he also suffers from vertigo, which can keep him in bed.

That seemed to me like a potentially bad condition for a painter - especially one who may need to climb up ladders. I knew nothing about vertigo other than the Hitchcock movie and its weird pinwheel effects every time James Stewart looked over the edge of a tall building - which he seemed to do an awful lot for a guy who had vertigo.

So off to Wikipedia, which has in just a few years become my preferred source of knowledge.

(from the Latin vertō "a whirling or spinning movement"
is a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary.

When you phrase it that way, I would have to say that I can sympathize with vertigans.  There's a WiiFit test where all you have to do is stand still for 30 seconds. I always feel I've aced it, only to get the message "Stability: 62%". And that's on a good day.

Actually, reading that definition of vertigo did make me look at the longer entry. It has been weeks since I've added a name to my list of Possible Diseases Based on My Symptoms, and the last few have ended in disappointment when I eventually discovered they are exclusively female diseases.

This search, however, was more promising as it led to the information that vertigo can be caused by Meniere's Disease, which is characterized by periodic episodes of dizziness, progressive hearing loss, tinnitus and a sensation of fullness or pressure in one or both ears. Cool, I have all four. I can add something else to my list of possible explanations for my poor balance.

Deep down I doubt that my dizziness is something to fret about. First of all, it almost never happens. And second,  Wikipedia may have added a more likely explanation:

Excessive consumption of ethanol (alcoholic beverages) can also cause notorious symptoms of vertigo.
They even offered a link to an entry on the "Short term effects of alcohol" but I thought that might force me to justify an unhealthy lifestyle, so I didn't bother to click through.

Anyhow, I digress quite badly. When the painter was a no-show, LK's reaction was truly noteworthy. In fact, given that this could easily mean that the renovation won't be finished before we take off on our holiday, her reaction was amazing.

That's because she had virtually no reaction. It will either happen or it won't, she said, while showing zero signs of stress. In fact she was so stress-free that when talking to the others whose work may be pushed back because the painting wasn't done, she kept saying "It's no big deal to us" and "Really, we're not going to be upset if we don't get it done."

Last night she thought about our day and noted that this wasn't her typical, expected reaction to having a tight schedule go off the rails. "I guess I am nowhere near as tense as I was when I was working," she said. I tactfully did not mention the Color and Lighting Crises.

And as a reward for her refusal to get too fussed yesterday, the painter showed up this morning and said he would work through the weekend to get us back on schedule. That has led LK to go upstairs and start working to get some of the rooms in shape. I'd help her, but I'm feeling just a little light-headed and I have a ringing in my ears.

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