Take As Needed

Last Monday, I woke up feeling out of sorts. I blamed it on daylight savings time. After all, the clock stealing an hour of your life has an impact on you. There have been studies. I’ve seen them. I felt a cross between jet lagged and hung over, and no amount of water or caffeine helped clear things out. My day job has me on my feet for a fair amount considering it is a desk job, mostly moving from meeting to meeting (often on different floors) and then the occasional walk and talk with co-workers located near me. By ten AM I was ready to throw up. I knew that movement had something to do with it, so I grabbed my laptop and spent the rest of the day working from my home office which cut down on my movement considerably.

The evening brought little relief. I stumbled as I walked, had trouble speaking (both finding words and forming them), and my face and scalp tingled constantly. I think we watched TV, but I honestly have no memory of anything that happened that night.

Needless to say, Tuesday morning saw me inside the doctor’s office. I had been planning on weathering out whatever ailed me, but my wife insisted I not put off treatment, in retrospect, a wise decision. The doctor told me the combination of symptoms was odd. He suspected labyrinthitis, but some of my problems sounded more like a atypical migraine (all the fun of a migraine without any pain). He gave me some anti-nausea and anti-vertigo meds and sent me on my way, with instructions to come back on Friday. I took both once I got home, and the combination immediately put me to sleep. Both bottles said to take them ‘As Needed’ and I figured that awake and mildly suffering was better than asleep.

By Wednesday, I’d started losing things in addition to words. I spent a fruitless ten minutes looking for the television remote that nearly left me in tears. I eventually found it sitting on the entertainment center, next to my receiver. On that day it felt like part of my mind had shorted out, and I was desperately trying to reroute my neural pathways around the damaged area. Every fear I had of brain cancer and dementia bombarded me the whole day and into the evening.

Things got a little better by Thursday evening. I still felt like a sailor at sea, but the waters had calmed and my brain started to feel like my own again.

Friday I returned to the doctor. Same office, different doctor. This one had no interest in any symptoms not related to the labyrinthitis, but he told me that the directions for the anti-vertigo meds had been a little misleading. If I had vertigo at all, in a twenty four hour period, that qualified ‘as needed’ for an entire day’s dose. He drew blood, just in case the underlying cause of my illness wasn’t a simple virus. (It’s supposedly a secondary infection, but I don’t remember every having a primary one). The meds helped. I can now keep the vertigo at bay, though it still doesn’t feel great by hour six (I’m supposed to take them every eight hours). Most cases of labyrinthitis end after seven days or less, so it should be mostly gone by tomorrow.

I’m still feeling kind of off. Most of the migraine-esq symptoms faded, but an hour long shopping trip today had me shaky and exhausted. I’m not sure if that’s a sign of something wrong, a side effect of the meds, or just my body complaining about being active since I’ve been mostly stationary for the last few days.

The next step, if I’m not feeling better by tomorrow, is to schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor, and they can decide where to go from there. I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll wake up and feel fine, but even if I do, I’ll still keep the vertigo meds with me, just in case. A huge part of me wants this to just be done. But honestly, as small part of me wants it to be something big, something bad. This week has been relatively miserable, but I know dozens of people that have it worse than me. I feel like I should be able to push through it, to feel fine, if it’s something as small as an inner ear infection with a fancy name. I certainly shouldn’t complain as much as I have for the past week.

So yeah, there’s part of me that’s afraid that I’ll be outed a melodramatic whiner if I’m ok tomorrow. But there’s a bigger part of me that knows that small hit to my ego is a thousand times better than any of the deep dark things lurking in the realm of possibility, and that I should be thankful that I have something that isn’t permanent.

I don’t really no what I mean to say with this. I’m mainly just writing because I can. I need to tell a story, I need to prove that I can still get a point across, and this was what’s on my mind. It’s the most I’ve written in a week, the first thing I’ve written in several days, and, rough as it is, it’s the best sign so far that I’m on the road to recovery.

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