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This is NOT my idea of fun.

I'm tired of it now. And, I have a ton of things to do that require my ability to keep my eyes open, to walk around without feeling nauseous and to drive.

Damn it.


It came on out of the blue Tuesday night driving home from Palo Alto. We'd gone about 10 miles and suddenly I got cold and clammy and then burning hot and sweaty. I felt sick to my stomach. Really sick. Moving my head felt like someone was shaking me violently from side to side. My vision was blurred and I just wanted to close my eyes to stop everything on either side of my straight ahead gaze from moving in a whirl of color.

Yeah, all this happened at 75 m.p.h. cruising down Highway 85.

I know, just lovely. Yet she keeps on driving. I was 20 minutes away and knew I just had to get home. Plus, as I kept saying to AB who was understandably worried in the passenger seat, I was managing to stay in my lane. I wasn't weaving and I was just trying to stay focused on remaining upright all the way down the straight ahead road home.

But I had to pull over. We were just too far away. So with one stop, exiting and parking on Camden Avenue that lasted 20 long and awful minutes, I made it home with AB by my side. As teenagers are apt to do, she opportunistically took this time to remind me that if she'd had her driver's permit, she could drive us home. Umm...this probably isn't the best time for this conversation dear.

I barely remember getting out of the car upstairs to the bedroom, but I distinctly recall laying there thinking, oh man, one glass of white wine three hours ago and this is with worst case of bed spins I ever remember having." I slept through the night, exhausted after the drive home and losing the entire contents of my stomach again and again.

I woke up Wednesday morning and opened my eyes to see this spectacular lavendar, pink and peach colored sunrise out the window. Then the colors and cloud shapes all blurred and the room started to go around and around. Looking up I saw the ceiling fan twirling but I knew it wasn't on. I closed my eyes again and the spinning didn't stop.

I waited and hoped it would go away. It didn't and I couldn't keep my eyes open. I remembered the time, six years ago, when the same thing happened to me in Phoenix at a big company meeting. I barely made it out of the hotel ballroom where 300 or so of us were gathered. I practically propelled myself into the bathroom upright, but once I get in there I couldn't get off the floor. I finally managed to crawl along the wall to the door and pathetically call someone over to help. Seeing this woman on the floor with her eyes closed, pale as a ghost got an immediate call to 9-1-1. That was my only other trip in an ambulance before Wednesday morning. 

In Phoenix I was scared and knew I had to go to the hospital. This time I didn't want to go. I knew there was nothing the ER doctors would really be able to do if it was the same thing that had happened before. At that time, after a bunch of tests, they concluded that I must have had some virus or cold in that was effecting my inner ear. But they didn't really know. They just knew it wasn't something big and hard to miss like a brain tumor.

The ear is a small and delicate system but it's also a very sensitive and amazingly powerful one. If the slightest microscopic particle or drop of fluid gets inside deep inside those tubes and chambers, the whole world turns upside down on you.

The nurse on the phone on Wedneday morning was insistent. You need to call 9-1-1. I know you think it's the same thing as six years ago, but Miss, if you can't walk or get up to go to bathroom, that's not normal and you really need to call an ambulance and go to the hospital. And you can't drive yourself. Are you going to call or should I?"

Alright already. I get it. No more driving. It's not like I could have made it down the hallway and the stairs on my own anyway. Taking the car wasn't even close to possible. So I called, but asked them nicely to please please please not turn on any sirens when they came.

As AB noted, the fireman were very handsome and even nicer people. And they didn't turn on their sirens. Arriving at the ER by ambulance is the way to go however; there's no waiting in lobby with the other living dead, the EMTs wheel you right into a room, where you wait. But at least you get a bed instead of a chair.  

Anyway...to wrap this up, they gave me fluids pumped with anti-nausea and anti-dizziness meds by IV, drew some blood, hooked me up to some monitors, checked my vision and concluded the same thing as six years ago. Except this time they guessed that it wasn't likely to be a virus, but probably one or more of these so-called "ear rocks", which are microscopic pieces of calcium carbonate made in the ear that can break off and wreck havoc on the body's sense of balance.

You know that feeling you have sometime right after you get off an amusement park ride - where you can't walk straight, your knees buckle and you just need to sit down? Yeah, that's it, except it doesn't stop.

Things cleared up nicely after a week or so last time. And I've never had even the slightest symptom of vertigo since; until Tuesday night. But it's been 5 days already and I still can't walk around, much less drive. Hell, I can't even turn my head or bend down to get something without spinning and feeling queasy.

I'm "sick", but not really because you can't exactly call being dizzy and out balance "sick". I do know this, the timing sucks; not that there's any really good time to have your equalibrium go for a rollercoaster ride, but this week and last are particularly bad.

I'm not a good patient. Surprise surprise. I don't like being forced to do anything and I certainly don't like having my movements limited or my vision blurred. And I hate hate hate to throw up. Yes, I am whining, but it sucks to be me right now *.

* except for my wonderful friends and family who have been exceptionally dear and have helped me from going completely insane from boredom by talking to me on the phone (easier than trying to focus for any time on a screen) or driving me home from the hospital or picking up prescriptions or bringing me food. Thank you thank you thank you! Okay, now I have to close my eyes, the screen's pulsing and I think I'm going to be sick.



Originally posted on patty.vox.com