It was three or four months ago that my mum rang me at work. My daughter was feeling dizzy and she wasn’t sure if she should go to dance. To be honest, I took it with a pinch of salt. My daughter has my mum wrapped round her little finger and my mum is always that bit more cautious than me. But my girl rallied and 20 minutes later she was busting some moves.
It happened a couple more times – sometimes first thing in the morning and sometimes after school. It never lasted more than half an hour and I must admit I wondered whether Mr Hypochondria and his good friend Miss Attention Seeker weren’t paying us a visit.
But then one Saturday it hit after swimming lessons in the morning and it didn’t leave. My daughter could do nothing but sit on the settee with her head propped up. She had no temperature, no tummy ache, she wasn’t sick, she was eating and drinking fine. She just felt dizzy. It continued into the next day. We tried to take her out, but all we ended up doing was carrying her from bench to bench. I was starting to worry. And then the next day it was gone. No sign that it had ever been there.
She woke up on Saturday morning three weeks later and she could hardly open her eyes or lift her head as she was so dizzy. She needed the toilet, but she couldn’t get out of bed. Very gradually she lifted her head and I carried her to the bathroom, which is only next door. But she couldn’t even get on the toilet. She begged me to lie her down. So there she lay on the bathroom floor, with the room spinning and completely unable to get up. She was desperate for the toilet and lying right next to it, but couldn’t even face us lifting her onto it. I’ll admit I was scared. For a moment I even wondered if we should call an ambulance.
In the absence of any better ideas, we got her a biscuit and a carton of orange juice with a straw (because she couldn’t lift her head high enough to drink from a cup) and gradually she felt well enough to go to the toilet. Within an hour she was back to normal, but the dizziness was back in the afternoon – not as bad, but she couldn’t do more than sit on the settee.
Vertigo was one thing which had been suggested to me as a possibility. I’d also considered low blood pressure and low (or high) blood sugar. She has a small appetite and I know the proportion of sugar in her diet is too high. I’d noticed that salty food, like Tuc biscuits, seemed to help her a bit. But I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that there might be something seriously wrong and we should be doing something about it.
The GP diagnosed vertigo, but said it’s unusual in children so she’s referred her to the paediatricians at the hospital. That’s still two months away. I’m happy to have a plausible sounding diagnosis, but still worried in case it’s something else. I also want to know how she can live her life if vertigo could hit at any time. She’s been prescribed travel sickness medication, which we haven’t tried yet. To be honest, Calpol does a reasonable job.
I’m keeping track of what she eats and drinks and when she goes to sleep to see if I can spot any triggers. It hit her hard one day after school last week. That day I discovered she’d had very little to drink, so maybe dehydration is a factor. But maybe it isn’t.
She’s decided that being carried makes her feel worse, so she crawls and then lies on the floor. Watching her struggle to the bathroom, and then lying on the floor for the worst of it to pass, doesn’t seem right. But I admire her persistence in trying to deal with it.
We’ll give the travel sickness medicine a go next time it happens. I know it’s a ‘when’ not an ‘if’. I’m praying it doesn’t hit when we have our dance show next month. We would all be heartbroken if she can’t do it after all the work she’s put in.
I hate to see my poor girl suffering, but all we can do is wait for answers.
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