So many things in my life have changed in recent years with the arrival of my pain. One of the big things is my limited transportation options. I don’t drive or travel by public transportation anywhere anymore. I don’t drive because I’m not comfortable gauging how foggy my pain medications will make my mind or how much they dull my reflexes and the time it takes to respond to sudden, unpredictable movements. I don’t take buses or the subway mainly because I have a tough time climbing stairs and I can’t stand for very long before my pain increases. Not to mention the painful, unexplained reaction my body has to what I assume are the vibrations from any vehicle I travel in for longer than ten minutes. I also have frequent bouts of lightheadedness, dizziness, and nausea, which does not bode well for traveling alone or operating a two-ton vehicle.
Sometimes my dizziness becomes full-blown vertigo, which is “the sudden sensation that you’re spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning.” It comes with no warnings. The best method of coping with it is sitting down, or lying down when just sitting upright makes everything spin. I had one episode that stretched over an entire week. It was impossible for me to do much beyond lying on my couch or sleeping. The constant feeling of the room spinning around nauseated me. At one point, I sat on my bathroom floor next to the toilet bowl for about an hour, so I could avoid falling over if the need to vomit did arise. Luckily, I haven’t had an episode as severe as that in the last couple of months.
Although there is no cure for vertigo, there are treatments to manage it. If it doesn’t go away on its own or if the frequency of the episodes increases, I may have to undergo a procedure called canalith repositioning, which involves “several simple and slow maneuvers for positioning your head” to move particles from your inner ear to another area where they are more easily absorbed. This procedure is taught by a doctor, audiologist, or physical therapist and “is usually effective after one or two treatments.” However, if canalith repositioning doesn’t work there is a surgical option that boasts a 90% success rate. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that things don’t get any worse and that the worst part of my vertigo remains the need to hug my toilet bowl periodically.
Even with this periodic dizziness, I’m still trying to focus on creativity. I think my body’s unsteadiness has given rise to my current obsession with patterns with curled and circular lines. I’ve given a lot of attention to a tangle pattern called ‘sand swirl’. I noticed while drawing it how my lines wobble, giving each swirl a shaky, non-uniform appearance when I want smooth, curved lines. I’ve drawn it repeatedly, by itself and with other patterns, even in coloured ink, trying to practice the wobbles out of it. But alas, no matter how deeply I concentrate, the wobbles aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they show up in other patterns I draw that have curled, circular or swirled lines. I can’t seem to will my hand to hold my pen to create the steady, smooth curves I want to draw.
Surprisingly, while trying to eliminate the unsteady, wobbly lines, I created some things I really enjoy looking at. I’m starting to think these unsteady, wobbly lines may be part of my artistic signature. Instead of trying to eliminate them, I’ll just embrace them and let my shaky hands lead me to create more swirling line art to become lost within.
Tiffany Lovering Tangle Tutorial – Sand Swirl