When The World Turns

It’s been pretty quiet around here, huh? I’d like to blame it on Christmas festivities keeping me busy–we all have a full calendar this time of year, after all. And while we did have some parties to attend and throw, that hasn’t been the culprit for my absence. What has? Labyrinthitis. Or at least its most troublesome symptom: vertigo.

Vertigo sucks. It’s like a hangover without the joy of the drinking orgy the night before. All the suffering, none of the pleasure that should precede it. I woke up a week before Christmas feeling like I was leaning right. Compensating for what, I don’t know–I may live in a house that was built in the fifties, but it certainly hasn’t settled enough to require bodily compensation in order to negotiate the floorplan. This is a house, after all, not a houseboat.

I went to work–a most unwise decision–and clenched my teeth for two hours before a well-meaning coworker insisted I leave and see a doctor. If it were possible, I would have been the color green. If nothing else, I was definitely paler than usual. And off-balance. I’m not even sure how I drove back to town.

The Walk-In Clinic is a grab bag of all walks of life. During my 3-hour wait to see the doc, I listened to one of the bottom rungs drone on and on about her life like she was writing a country song. Just when you didn’t think it could get any worse–BAM!–it did! My head was spinning and my ears began to throb. When would this torture end?

3 1/2 hours after I entered this circle of Hell, I was given a diagnosis: viral ear infection causing vertigo. Viral. Meaning no antibiotics. Meaning I’d have to wait for it to run its course. Meaning I could have come to the same conclusion without withering away for 3 1/2 hours in a petri dish. Blech. They’re just doing their jobs. The doc gave me a script for a histamine anti-emetic (aka motion sickness medicine) and gave me the not-so-comforting prediction of this condition lasting 2 days, or 2 weeks. Who knows?

Walking around Target as I waited for my script to be filled was much like walking on a ship at sea. The fluorescent lights enhanced my dizziness, my confusion, my fuzzy-headedness, and I was sure I’d be heaving-ho soon.

Back home, I walked in the door, asked my brother (the manny) to stay til The Big Guy got home, and made a bee-line for my bed. Do not stop at Go. Do not collect your $200. Pop a pill and drift off into another world. Please.

Despite my wishes otherwise, I spent Tuesday through Thursday in a similar state. Propped up on the couch (for lying down only made my ears hurt worse and the transition to sitting upright made my stomach churn every time), I stared a lot. I wasn’t supposed to move my head–I had to keep it as still as possible and move my whole body if I needed to look elsewhere. It was tedious. It’s probably better the anti-emetic made me sleep most of the time.

By Friday I was going stir crazy. I was only scheduled for a half day, so I dragged my ass into work, almost immediately regretting that decision. I spent 3 1/2 hours trying to catch up, but mostly trying to pull the cotton out of my head so I could figure out what the hell was going on. How much longer would this go on?

Luckily, the symptoms started to subside by Sunday. Just in time to prepare for hosting Christmas Eve dinner with my family. I baked and baked and baked. I washed and washed and washed. I wrapped and wrapped and wrapped. And I brought the symptoms right back. So much for diligence.

From what I understand, vertigo tends to linger for a while. It’s a great lesson in balance (ha!)–if you do too much, eventually your body will shut down on you so you are forced to sit back and take a rest. But it’s not the kind of rest anyone wants to take.

Food will be back, once I can stomach a normal diet again–or at least regain the desire to bake for the joy of baking instead of because I have to. In the meantime, I’m lying low. Sitting low. Whatever. There won’t be a whole lot of partying going on here. May the New Year be less nauseating!

Hope you all had a fabulous holiday season, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Yule, Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa,  Bodhi Day, or nothing. May peace and joy be in your hearts in the New Year! I look forward to sharing it with you!

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  1. I’ve never had vertigo (knock on wood) but I had a client who did and it was so bad he couldn’t work for 4 months and it finally went away. I hope you never have to endure it again.

    1. Thank you! Definitely has not been fun at all. But I’m slowly getting better. I just need to keep reminding myself to not overdo it. It will take some time.

  2. I’m so curious to know where you live.. my girlfriend came down with this exact same virus at almost the same time.. The poor thing was more than green if you get my meaning. She ended up in emergency (hours and hours) and was admitted so they could give her a drip and make sure the vertigo wasn’t something worse. Now she has to attend a “dizzy clinic” to retrain her inner ear to work correctly. I just can’t imagine having this right before Christmas.. it’s a very scary deal, I think. I’m so very glad to hear you’re recovering and able to have enjoyed Christmas with your family. xx Smidge

    1. I’m in NW Connecticut. One of my co-workers also ended up with it and a former classmate has it, too. I’ve never heard of labyrinthitis before this year, but its making the rounds. Ugh. Luckily I’ve had a milder case, but even that is miserable. I hope your friend is feeling better soon!

  3. I hope you are feeling better soon. That sounds simply terrible. Hope things are looking up soon!

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