Saturday, August 21, 2021


Wellcome Images 2018


A few nights ago I awoke from a sound sleep and got out of bed, when I suddenly fell backward, as if a tsunami had flooded over me, swept me away in its whirling fury, and pinned me helpless against the mattress.

Thankfully, it subsided in about 30 seconds, but when I cautiously struggled to my feet and began to walk, I found myself veering off to the left. That also soon resolved but left me feeling shaken and unsteady.

As a retired neurologist, I began to diagnose myself and realized I had no other symptoms of stroke, was too old for new onset multiple sclerosis (MS), and had no fever or other symptoms of viral infection. However, the left side of my head was congested, which I sometimes experience in the morning because of allergies, and the left side of my neck was sore, also not unusual as my husband and I have been strenuously rehearsing our latest Theatre Arts dance with overhead lifts and drops.

So I reasoned that sinus pressure and neck muscle spasm had brought on the vertigo by sending faulty signals to the system that maintains balance and equilibrium. I used an herbal nasal spray and anti-inflammatory medication with some relief of the head and neck symptoms. We went to morning practice as usual, but when I attempted to get up after lying down on the floor to stretch, the tsunami returned, again rendering me helpless in its swirling current.

Discouraged and unable to practice, we returned home. I realized that I must have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a common and seldom serious condition in which a calcium deposit, called an otolith, dislodges from its usual position in the innermost canal of the inner ear and escapes to the outermost canal, where it causes a false sense of movement. The vertigo usually comes on suddenly after a period of lying down, particularly when turning the head to the affected side and arising quickly, or from any sudden movement or positional change.

Vertigo is a curse for anyone. For a female Theatre Arts dancer, it is the kiss of death, as this dance form involves spins, lifts, drops, and sudden changes of position from standing to being suspended horizontally over the partner’s head or even held upside down – often while spinning. Any momentary lapse in balance or spatial awareness could result in a disastrous fall from overhead and cause serious injury.

I prayed that the symptoms would just disappear, but in case they didn’t, I planned to try a maneuver known as the Epley maneuver, designed to guide the otolith back into the innermost canal of the inner ear. The next morning, a repeat bout of vertigo upon arising led me to test this plan. With my husband’s help, I went through a series of rapid position changes, which brought on more dizziness, alternating with rest periods on the bed.

When the maneuver was completed, I had no more vertigo, but I felt uneasy, unsettled, and dissociated from my surroundings. After breakfast, coffee, and much prayer, we decided to attempt rehearsing again. I found that by focusing out in the distance and being hypervigilant about my balance, there was no vertigo, despite the spins, drops, lifts, and position changes. Apparently these all happened too quickly to give the otolith sufficient time to dislodge from its normal position. The following day, I had no symptoms, nor have I had any since. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness (Psalm 89:8) and for answered prayer!

Unexpected blessings from this harrowing encounter were the knowledge of how to deal with this in the future if it were ever to recur, perhaps closer to a performance setting when I might not have the luxury of being able to rest or take a break, or the time or Internet access to research how to do the Epley maneuver.

An even greater blessing was the new-found gratitude in being able to do what I sometimes take for granted – not just complex, challenging dance moves, but even simple actions like getting out of bed or walking without literally bouncing off the wall. It reminded me of recovering from the pneumonia I had several years ago, and being thankful just to be able to breathe freely, sleep quietly without coughing, and walk across a room without getting short of breath.

Sometimes God allows incidents like these into our lives to remind us of our total dependence on Him (John 15:5) and thankfulness for every move we make and every breath we take (Acts 17:28). As Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest, “It is the sick person who really knows what health is.” The logical extension is that it is only the person who knows he is a sinner deserving eternal punishment in hell who can receive God’s free gift of eternal life in Heaven (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Minimizing the vertigo by directing my gaze upward and outward reminded me to always keep my focus on Jesus and His kingdom, particularly when encountering the turbulence of life, and to look up (Luke 21:28), for our redemption through the Rapture is close at hand!

This episode of vertigo also reminded me that sometimes He even allows our lives to be turned upside down or set spinning, all for our ultimate good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

Before we can be saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), we must come to the end of ourselves, which may feel like a total upheaval of all we know and believe.

The early church, first known as Christians, or ‘the Way,” turned the world upside down by spreading the truth and Word of their Savior Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26; 22:4). His crucifixion was marked by extraordinary events, including the sky turning black at midday, a great earthquake, the dead arising from their graves, and the thick, impenetrable veil of the temple tearing from top to bottom (Matthew 27:45-54; 28:2), symbolizing God in the flesh coming from Heaven to earth (John 1:1-14) to end the separation of Holy God from sinful man (Romans 5:10). His resurrection was the single most significant, paradigm-shifting event of all time.

Even His teachings seem filled with paradox that set conventional wisdom on its head. We must lose our life to save it (Matthew 16:25). He who is first will be last, and he who is last will be first (Matthew 20:16). The meek shall inherit the earth, and the poor shall inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3-5).

With God’s infinite power (Genesis 35:11), far exceeding that of any tsunami, whether real or perceived, the blind shall see, the lame shall leap, and the dead shall live again (John 3:16) in Him! Every molecule in our earthly body shall be rearranged in the twinkling of an eye as He transforms us into our glorified body (1 Corinthians 15:52) that will never age, die, or experience pain, sorrow or sin! Even the earth will be burned with heat so intense (2 Peter 3:10) that it transforms its molecular structure into the New Jerusalem!

Praise God that only He can turn things completely around and upside down and make them completely new (2 Corinthians 5:17), and that He even gives us earthly reminders of what is to come when He returns for His children!  

© 2021 Laurie Collett



Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
I was totally unaware that you had problems with vertigo, especially on how this can affect your career in dancing.
But it's good to read about how God can deal with the situation so you can uphold your career for God's glory.
As you say, Jesus is the only way to Heaven. As 1 John 5:1 says,
"He who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God..."
How simple God's plan for salvation really is. Indeed, as Paul writes, there is no excuse.
The simplicity of God's plan of salvation has made me wonder whether far more people will populate Heaven than our limited minds would allow. As Martin Luther once said,
"In Heaven, there will be three surprises: The first is seeing people there I had never expected to see, the second is searching for those I expected to see but without success, and the third is that I'm there myself."
God bless you and Richard, and may your dancing career continue!

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
This was the first time I have ever had vertigo, just a few days ago! I am so thankful that God saw fit to remove it, and I pray that He will never allow it to return.
I agree with that quote of Luther in that there will be many there whom we did not expect to see. However, I wonder if we will be aware of those whom we expected to see yet are absent. For example, if I thought my mother were saved, and yet couldn't find her in Heaven, I would be greatly saddened and distressed, which is not in keeping with God wiping every tear from our eye. So I wonder if He will mercifully give us amnesia regarding our unsaved loved ones.
Thanks as always for your thought-provoking comment, blessing, and good wishes. May God bless you and Alex,

Rajani Rehana said...

Great blog

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Rajani! God bless.

Wise Hearted said...

This was a great read. It became encouraging as read onto you trusting the Lord through this issue. It's hard to discern when hit by a mysterious attack on our health. I tend to lean that no matter where it came from God wants me to be en -tune to Him since He knows my body better than I do. I just came from the doctors and running his words and praying about what to do with his words. I know God has given some the minds to study medicine and treat us. Again, good post.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Wise Hearted! We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and He knows our frame better than anyone. Praying for your health and for wisdom in responding to your doctor's counsel. Praise God that He works through physicians and medicines as well as through supernatural healing.

Thanks again for sharing your experience. God bless,