Arthur Wooten. Leftovers and Birthday Pie both had just the right mix of humor and seriousness. His latest book, Dizzy, still has those elements, but it is a fictional take on a subject very close to his own heart. Before reading Dizzy I had never heard of bilateral vestibulopathy with oscillopsia. After reading the book I can't say I know everything about this disease, but I have a great amount of empathy for those who suffer from it.
Broadway star Angie Styles is at the height of her career. A close-knit group of friends help Angie manage her day-to-day life. She runs from one appointment to the next, hardly taking any time for herself. Her mother, a wannabe actress, is no longer in Angie's life, and her father is in a nursing home. She doesn't have time to be sick, but some symptoms become too hard to ignore. The need to tug on her left ear, excessive sweating, the sudden loss of taste and smell, and frequently losing her balance begin to overwhelm Angie. When the systems occur in public, tabloids are quick to label her as a drunk and a drug addict. Why report the truth? Showing concern for her health isn't newsworthy, instead publishing embarrassing pictures is the real news!
Angie's internal struggles are what kept my attention. Doctor after doctor insist she is perfectly healthy. Lots of people suffered from diseases before doctors came up with a name for them. Angie knows there is something wrong. I felt her despair. She begins to doubt her own sanity before she is finally diagnosed. The simplest tasks are now harder than ever. There is no cure, but like a lot of conditions there are ways for her to live with it. Is that really living? Walking to the corner store? Driving? Tasting and smelling food? Walking up or down stairs?
Constant sensory overload? I don't think any of us give much thought to
doing those things. But just imagine you couldn't do those things. Or
that you would have to work extra hard for the rest of your life to do
them. You have to live the rest of your life in pain. You have to live the rest of your life with a disease that most people can't pronounce or understand.
This was an entertaining and emotional read. I couldn't imagine living like this. It's almost like being a child all over again. You have to learn to do the most basic tasks all over again. You have to teach your brain to think and react in a different way. You have to do it every day, there is no break. To the people who suffer from this, BRAVO to you!! All of you possess a great amount of emotional fortitude that is lacking in most people, including myself.
Note: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.