Today’s malady du jour: vertigo. I woke up this morning to a head skipping like a scratched disc, waves of dizziness repeating ad nauseum. The doctor, diagnosing by phone as I was in no condition to leave the house (or, um, the bed), suggested it might be an inner-ear infection, which I want to make sense. I could use some extra sense right now, and perhaps a mysterious bug caught in the mazes of my head can explain the host of physical-mental symptoms I’ve been muddling through. Like headaches, great and small. Backaches. Stomachaches. Leg-aches. Heartaches. Draft folders crammed with half-written e-mails and blog posts I can’t seem to finish. Telephones ringing off the hook while I put another pillow over my head. Panic attacks. My body closing in on me until I have to force each breath. Loss of appetite. Loss of motivation. Loss of that little somethin’ somethin’ that used to add sparkle to my days.
“It’s probably a milk allergy,” assured one friend. Another one told us of an endocrinologist where I could get my thyroid checked. Another friend suggested I ask for antidepressants, while yet another one told me about some great counseling services… 6,000 impossible miles away. Suddenly it’s not just the vertigo making me dizzy as I spin through the options and consider the frightening subjectiveness of medical diagnoses. I start to feel claustrophobic at the thought that I live in a non-English-speaking country, but I should be honest: I wouldn’t know where to start looking in the States either.
I go to the doctor in a few days, and I desperately want to solve myself before then. I am reluctant, embarrassed, to explain the multitude of ways in which I am sucking right now, and I would love to tell him, “Look Doc, I seem to be suffering from a food allergy. Please to medicate.” Doctors appreciate it when patients diagnose themselves, right?
The one good thing about this prolonged mystery illness is that, as it slowly drains the color from life, my priorities come into sharp black-and-white focus. I may not be able to accomplish much right now, but I can snuggle my girls for a long afternoon nap… and realize how much more important that is than cleaning or shopping or worrying about everything I’m not getting done. The world won’t stop if I’m unproductive this month, and perhaps marinating in the love of my sweet family may be my best treatment plan.