About a month and a half ago, I got really, really sick. It started on a Wednesday night. I’d been fine all day, but after writing on my new laptop for a couple hours (staring at a screen in the dark), I laid down to go to sleep. As soon as I tilted over, the room started spinning rapidly. It was like being on the center of a record player, where the vinyl is going all around you but you’re staying still. That feeling lasted all night and though I slept (lightly), I could feel it and kept wondering if I should wake up and ask my mom about it.
Accompanied with the spinning was, of course, dizziness and nausea. So when I woke up, still dizzy and woozy, I knew better than to try to drive. I commandeered a ride to work from a coworker, foolishly thinking I could power through. While I was waiting for him, I vomited. Then we got to work, I sat down, ate a banana, and a few minutes later I was puking it up at my desk. Midday, another coworker drove me home. I snacked, napped, and went to the doctor.
Let this be a lesson to you all to listen to your gut if you don’t like your doctor and don’t trust his/her judgement. In my case, he barely listened to me about my symptoms before declaring that I simply had a stomach flu. His snotty-ass tone made it clear he thought I was an idiot who was overreacting to being sick. It didn’t seem right, but I shrugged it off. Then I was mostly better the next day, with some rest, and able to do an overnight at work.
The next morning, I had to get dressed and fly home because a few minutes after I woke up, the room started spinning again. Extreme vertigo, again. I rested the rest of the day, and by the end, I was feeling better. The next day, I still felt kind of awful, so I went into work a little late. That Tuesday, better but not great, I went back to the doctor – a different doctor.
What a difference a good doctor makes! Before he ever started assigning me illnesses, he listened to my descriptions: vertigo first, then nausea, wooziness. I wondered if maybe there was something wrong with my ears, even though they didn’t hurt, because they had been leaking a lot of fluid the past few nights. He explained that if it was my inner ear, he wouldn’t be able to see beyond my eardrum. But he looked anyway (nothing to see), and he checked out my eyes, throat, breathing, and balance to make sure that there was nothing immediately, neurologically wrong with me. Final verdict, these things sometimes happen and go away on their own, within a few days or weeks. He did tell me of an OTC medicine that can help alleviate the dizzies.
As time has gone on, my “condition” has improved. After some sort of annoying joking rumors at work that it was morning sickness (it emphatically is not), and a whole lot of trial and error, I have learned to manage it. It gets worse if I’m hungry, so I keep snacking, and it’s bad if I’m tired. I haven’t had any vertigo (knock on wood!) since, but I still feel a bit woozy when I lie down to sleep at night and have to take it easy when I wake up in the morning. Overall, I’ve adjusted to the point where I barely remember what it’s like to feel “normal.”
The impact from this part has been pretty inconvenient, especially since I have a big trip coming up soon. I can’t go to the gym, like I want to, or function on 6 hours’ sleep like I used to. I get worn out driving and running errands. I spend most of my days off sleeping.
What’s worse, though, is the brain fogginess that has accompanied it. I’m too young to be this forgetful; I’ll go to the store specifically for one thing, and buy everything else but forget that one thing (never used to happen). I can’t remember words, ever. I was trying to think of the word “factory” the other day, and the only words that would come to mind were “wardrobe” and “power plant.” I’ll be teaching a class I’ve taught 100 times before, and come up utterly blank, looking for a term I should easily know. I also confuse words around; for example, the other day, I was telling a coworker that I would return her Game of Thrones DVD soon – but it came out “Throne of Games.” I’m easily confused by long explanations (written or oral), so I have to take it slow to parse out simple details.
These are little things, and on their own not a huge deal. I’ve always, like everyone, struggled to come up with the right word every now and then, and I’ve gotten tongue tied. But it happens so, so often now. Every day, at least two or three times. It’s concerning, but I’m one of those people who hates going to the doctor. I don’t believe they can do anything for me, anyway, so it will be a waste of time and energy. I haven’t really had any headaches, so I don’t think it’s a brain tumor or infection. My wires are just crossed.
My working theory now, after I’ve ruled out ear infection, stroke, tumors, and stomach flu, is that it’s stress. In the past year, I’ve had significant anxiety problems, but I’ve also been extremely stressed about work, money, and life in general. Plus long-term sleep deprivation doesn’t seem to be helping. I don’t know how to alleviate this stress, either, although my upcoming trip should help. My goals from this year have transformed from “travel more” to “stress less.”
At this point, I’m just going to take it as it comes and not panic about the future of the universe, or even what’s for breakfast tomorrow. I’ll get back into my old groove of “easy come, easy go” somehow. Maybe at some point, I’ll go back to the doctor. Wishing you all a less inconvenient 2015 than mine has been thus far 😀