Linus. And Jimmy Stewart.

I loved all the presents I got this year, but as each year some are more special than others.  I have written of the mug The NSLDB got me. My sister-in-law, the fire chief and world’s coolest aunt, gave me a throw.

It’s a lovely throw: dark green plaid velvet on one side, fake sheepskin on the other. It’s warm and comforting. It’s has turned into a transitional object. I’m like Linus and his blanket: I have it with me around the house, when I’m sleeping or watching television. And right now I need a blankie.

It’s not just the news: the craziness coming out of Washington, or the unnerving responses to Democrats declaring that they are going to run for President. Kamala Harris in particular seems to be a lightning rod. I’m sure that her being a woman of color has nothing to do with that. (One of the frustrating things, as someone who has watched Harris’s career for many years now, is how some of the facts that have been used against her are twisted or taken out of context.) If candidates are subjected to unrealistic purity tests (we are looking for a President, not a messiah) we are screwed. It was this sort of crap on the part of Bernie and his people that helped get us Donald Trump. (Although a significant level of misogyny hurt, too. Not to mention Russian interference.)

No, I am facing a physical  challenge that, while not dangerous in and of itself, has some very significant lifestyle impacts. I have vertigo.

I’ve been fighting it for a while: having occasional dizzy spells. It had gotten more frequent, and my neurologist diagnosed it as being due to migraines. (We’ve been working on dealing with them.)  Then last Tuesday I had a spell so severe I could not stand up. It was scary, but went away after a few hours.

Thursday I had another. This time, I went to the “Marc Andreesen and Laura Arillaga-Andreesen Emergency Department” at Stanford. (If you look closely, the names on the sign are slightly larger than the words “Emergency Department.”) The E.D. was really slammed, and since I wasn’t having a heart attack or an apparent broken ankle, it took them a while until they got me out of the waiting room. (To be fair, though, once I got back I did not have to wait a long time before being taken to get a CT scan and after I got back from Radiology it was not at all long before I saw a doctor.)

After reviewing the CT the doctor said that it was clear, and they were talking to their neurologists and my neurologist and he’d get back to me. After about an hour, he came in and told me that both sets of neurologists agreed that this was consistent with my migraines. Damn. I was instructed to see my neurologist within a week. Then he looked me straight in the eye, and spoke the words that struck dread in my heart….

“Until you see your doctor, don’t drive.”

[Emphasis his.] Don’t drive? In the South Bay? Damn. I’m at the mercy of public transit (although if I develop a fit of vertigo it might be hard to walk to the bus) and Lyft. I can’t decide on a whim “I need some fresh air and to see some other scenery, let’s go to Shoreline Park.” I can’t say “Uh-oh, where did all the milk go? I need to go get some more.” If I get a job interview, I have to get Lyft.

I know that not driving is just common sense. When I told my friend Cris about the vertigo, and that the doctor said not to drive, his response was something along the lines of “Well, duh.”

So I’m stuck at home now. I think I am going to grab my blankie and go watch all the back Jeopardy! episodes I have on DVR.

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