Goddank voor het winkelwagentje

Thank goodness for the shopping trolley. That’s what Lotte said as we left the Barkly Square shopping centre car park. Something about that shopping centre sets off my labyrinthitis, I tell ya. That’s the third time I’ve had a dizzy attack there this week, and this one was the worst. I literally had to wheel myself around with the shopping trolley. Then I bailed and just sat it out on a chair outside Coles while Lotte finished shopping. We came home and I took a Stemetil (an anti nausea drug) and slept for an hour. I still feel like crap now. What a crazy party animal I am sitting at home at 7.30pm on a Saturday night in my jammies.

Last night was a different story. Again I didn’t notice any real ill effects of dancing when we went to the Fun Pit. I definitely wasn’t dancing at my best, but I didn’t feel dizzy or nauseous. I did feel tired towards the end of the night though. I have this theory that my brain works overtime trying to keep me in balance and it tires me out.

On a cheery note Dory just called and invited us to breakfast tomorrow morning. Last week we did the same and it was really a lot of fun so I am determined to be right by then. The dizzy spells only ever seem to go for a short while anyway. Maybe an hour or two at the outside. Sometimes they are no more than 15 mins long. Also Ursi textmessaged Lotte to ask after me. Awwww.

Sea Legs

This ear thing is really not a lot of fun. Just when I thought I was feeling really great I had a pretty bad afternoon. This morning I woke up and felt absolutely fine, with no symtoms at all. I got through till around midday before I started feeling bad. I probably had about half an hour of feeling like crap before I cae good again. Then Lotte and I met up for lunch and just before we got there I started feeling bad again. It’s really hard to describe the feeling. It’s a bit like you’ve been away on a ship for a week and you’re trying to find your land legs again. On top of that every now and then there’s a big swell. Only problem is, nothing is actually moving! My stomach feels constantly on the edge while this is happening and I get this sensation of being out of control. If I’m walking, I feel compelled to immediately slow down and have to fight the feeling to continue walking at all.

For the past couple of days I’ve also felt a dull headache that goes all the way up the back of my neck to the crown and behind my right eye. I decided this was one thing I could try and fix and booked in for a neck massage with our favourite massage therapist, Bernie. He is a true pro, and concentrated entirely on the magic spot in the right side that was sending a shaft of pain along the exact path of my headache. So now at least my head feels a little better.

On a positive note, last night was my first try at dancing since Monday, and I found I was able to dance with absolutely no feeling of dizziness whatsoever. It really seems as though the dizziness is not related to what I’m doing at all. In fact I seem to be more likely (or maybe I notice it more) to suffer a dizzy spell when I’m sitting down for a while. I reckon I’m also more likely to start getting the spells when I’m feeling tired, which makes sense too. Until I start feeling better I am going to try to rest up as much as possible. But I am going to try dancing again tonight.

Permission to dance

I’ve been doing some reading about labyrinthitis and all the advice I’ve seen tells me that I should now be getting back on my feet and moving.

For example, the Vestibular Disorders Association website:
If treated promptly, many inner ear infections cause no permanent damage. In some cases, however, permanent loss of hearing, ranging from barely detectable to total, can result. Your doctor will be able to advise you about the usefulness of hearing aids in your individual case. Permanent damage to the vestibular system can also result. Fortunately, the brain can adapt to damage to the vestibular system, particularly when the damage is partial and/or confined to one side. This adaptation may take days to months, depending on how severe the damage is and how quickly the body is able to recover from the infection. Symptoms of dizziness, difficulty with vision, and imbalance may persist as long as the adaptation is incomplete. This adaptation can only occur if the patient makes an effort to keep moving around despite the symptoms of dizziness and imbalance. Sitting or lying with the head still, while more comfortable, can prolong or even prevent the adaptation process, and should be avoided if at all possible once the worst of the infection is over.

I take this as my permission to dance. I’ll have a rest night tonight, but tomorrow I’ll be teaching again. Unfortunately I am still experiencing the dizziness today and it can be quite offputting, but it sounds like it’s not a good idea to just stop alltogether. Suits me. I find it boring to sit at home anyway. And I feel absolutely fine apart from the nausea and dizziness.

The swizzle

One ingredient turned out to be more important than all of the others in that recipe. The swizzle. Turns out I have viral labyrinthitis, which explains why I was feeling so crap this morning. Basically it’s extreme dizziness and nausea caused by a virus getting into your inner ear. It got worse after I posted, and I had a bunch of dizzy spells over the weekend so it all fell into place when the doc peered inside my ear canal. I can’t work like this. I have felt ill all day and dizzy for most of it. So it’s off home (or somewhere) to rest, a course of antibiotics, and anti-nausea drugs for a couple of days.

Recipe for extreme sleepiness

Ingredients:
1 Friday night dance night (5am or later)
1 Renovation preparation box-moving exercise (start 10am or earlier)
1 Saturday night birthday party (4am or later)
1 Breakfast with friends (start 10 am or earlier)
1 Contact improvisation class (2 hours or more)
1 Mother’s Day family meal
1 Host film premier with extremely fast dancing involved (12 am or later)
1 Early morning commencement of renovations (7am start)

Instructions:
Take all of the above and stick them together in one weekend. Garnish with the remains of a cold and swizzle.

Hullabaloo

Hullabaloo was excellent. I returned late last night with Lotte, with very sore muscles and a dose of the traditional exchange virus. We skipped the morning workshops on both days but still had plenty to challenge us. 3 hrs of classes per day really is enough when you’re social dancing as well, but that might just be us. We are probably beyond the phase in our learning where we are excited enough to get up in time for an 11am class after having danced til 4am. For me the physical challenge was clearly enough as well.

The workshops were overall extremely valuable, which is something I found last year as well. There were some things that were are a disappointment of course. I was a bit frustrated by being invited to DJ and then being given a 30 minute spot in a non-preferred time. On top of that, invited DJs were expected to pay full price and were not paid. I thought that was pretty poor. Also the only live band I got to see was the Fremantle Jazz Orchestra at the Ball, and it was a really good line up with a fairly poorly chosen set list for the occasion. They played what I would expect to hear at any big band gig at a local fete — not what I would expect for a bunch of hardcore swingers wishing to relive the swing era. They played what you would call “progressive jazz music” rather than big band swing. All young faces (which is fantastic) using new arrangements, sometimes of tunes that would best be classified as bop or trad jazz rather than swing. They performed a couple of Basie numbers, but only the one they did as an encore had any real Kansas feel about it. The other was a showtune done with a distinctly Sinatra-Basie style (I can’t quite remember the number right now).

These things are certainly a matter of taste, and taste is personal. However I noticed that a lot of people were sitting down for a lot of the night, so I started to feel that I wasn’t Robinson Crusoe. The rhythm just didn’t have that swingin’ drive, and there were no themes you could play with. It makes it tough on dancers.

Enough of my minor nitpicks, though. On the positive side of the ledger the Perthies have got to be just about the most welcoming and generous group of swing dancers in the country. Their passion is unsurpassed. This always gives me a great feeling, and it comes through in their events. The weekend opened for me with a riverboat cruise down the Swan. That was really a lot of fun. The boat itself was larger than I had imagined and had two floors where you could dance. There wasn’t a lot of room to swing out because everyone tended to congregate on the upper deck floor, but that gave it a really terrific atmosphere. Lotte and I concluded that “enough space” was not an important factor for good atmosphere, and in fact can often detract. The riverboat cruise was probably my favourite event actually, even though it wasn’t a full on dance night.

The Saturday night dance was also really good. CRR member Brian Renehan ended up winning the Jack & Jill with Sarah Farrelley, which was a buzz for all the CRR crew because we had been working on competition stuff the previous week. They danced really well and deserved it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Brian look as relaxed while competing.

CRR performed the Big Apple that night too. That was also a huge buzz because it seemed to go over very well. I personally felt good about my performance, although I was struggling a bit at the beginning with a sore hamstring/groin from the classes. It was funny because I just decided to dance all out anyway and started yelling “RAAAAAAAAHH!” at the top of my voice at various stages to get myself hyped past the pain barrier. It worked. Got to remember that.

Another highlight was our host Wes, who did nothing but wait on us hand and foot all weekend. The best part was when Lotte complained that the only thing they could do to improve the service at “this hotel” was to make up the beds every day. For a nanosecond Wes looked troubled. It was very funny. We thanked him buy making him a breakfast of Dutch pancakes and hid a gift for him in his room.

Meetings

Phew, today was a busy day. It started with a meeting that didn’t happen. Second time I’ve been stood up by this particular client — was it something I said? Anyway that meant I could go and get a cup of coffee, which wasn’t all bad. Then straight to a planning meeting, after which I met up with Lotte for a hurried but enjoyable lunch on Lygon. Lotte had been to the doctor for about the third time in three weeks — this time for a weird rash behind her ears — some kind of allergic reaction. She’s been having bad luck lately. Then I had to rush back to the office for another project meeting. I try not to schedule 3 meetings in a day because they generally go for 1.5 hrs each, so it leaves little time for preparation. And sometimes meetings go over-time. It’s not that I don’t really like meetings, though. Truth is, a lot of my work centres around meetings, and when they’re good, I’m in my element. The third meeting today was like that. A good project meeting can achieve a lot.

One ‘flu over the Easter eggs

It seems that there is some kind of ‘flu going around Melbourne, and today is Lotte’s third day in a row of suffering. I seem to have been lucky to escape with a day of headaches, whle she has the full-blown symptons. So she’s back at the doctor today for an assessment. Being an asthma sufferer, she has to be careful. Unfortunately this has put a bit of a dampener on the last day of work before Easter. The Easter Hop is tonight, but Lotte will probably miss it, and then we are having a Dutch Easter brunch at our place tomorrow. She’s concerned that she might not have enough energy to do everything she wanted to do before the brunch. Our plans for a getaway over part of Easter could also be in jeopardy.

Anyway the plan for tonight is that I’ll get there around 6.15pm, set up the Easter Hop decorations and organise the raffle. I have tickets and various prizes. Just need to get an Easter hamper of some sort today (mental note). Tomorrow we’ll be boiling lots of eggs (we seem to have about 4 dozen in the fridge at home) and painting them, Dutchie style. Lotte’s also planning to make a few other Dutch treats like paasbrood (Easter bread filled with almond paste). Lekker. There should be about 12 of us at the brunch all up — quite a test for our humble abode. I’ll post pictures.

Sleepy Sunday

[g-154014] [g-154015]

Yaawwwwn! Sunday morning was a sleepy one. With both of us feeling somewhat the worse for wear, we headed around the corner to our favourite cafe and ordered the French toast with maple syrup, stewed rubarb and pistachio ricotta. Hit the spot.

Later we went down to the Fairfield boathouse and saw lots of African and Aboriginal music. We also did a bit of dance training on our own stuff, which we like to do as often as we can. Hopefully we’ll get more time to do it in the future. It always takes a while to work things out and at the moment we’re just exploring new options for performance stuff.