Vertigo: the Aftermath

December 12, 2011

Well, at least I hope it’s the aftermath. We’re still not sure, but I’m able to sit at the computer without immediately needing a bucket, so this is a good development. The coming weeks will tell.

Who knew such small, slender, innocent structures like ear canals could KO an entire person for weeks?  Whaddaheck? Obviously, I never gave ears enough respect. Nor did I know that inner ears have little crystal thingys in them that, if they get out of whack, render you stark-raving mad and howling for mercy. It was ug-ly.

So I’m ingesting some choice pharmaceuticals, and been spinning side-to-side and upside down at the doctor’s office on a rotating chair thingy like something out of the Matrix (or Gilley’s, depending on  your demographic), and we’re hoping for the best.  Bells have been ringing, but it’s not those Santa-clad dudes outside of the MegaMall.  My cranium’s been a bellfry, for chrissakes.

*Cue awkward segue*

As I’ve stared at my four walls for days, utterly useless, I’ve been reminded of something my friend Bette told me when I was in labor with Miss D.

“Make them keep you in the hospital as long as possible,” she said, pointing her finger at me. “You have insurance. Fake a good few bouts of hysteria if you have to–just stay IN there. Because when you get home…”

Cue the ominous, raised eyebrow, which Bette is famous for. It’s quite something, that eyebrow.

Bette had a point. Hospitals take care of all of those pesky needs like bleeding and pain and hunger and laundry. They have frozen lemonade and orange push-ups. You can recline and watch Ellen. They’ll run you a warm bath that you can swirl stuff in that you never imagined would needing swirling in the first place. In a hospital, sleep happens.

But strangely, the minute my babies were out of my post-war uterus, all I wanted to do was go home. I just wanted to be home.  So I disregarded her advice and fought tooth-and-nail to return to my own nest.

Clearly, I’m not very bright.

Did I regret it? Uh, yeah. Within about two hours, after the initial homecoming buzz wore off, I wanted to fling myself onto the threshold of the hospital entrance, roses and jewels in hand, and yell, “Darling! Take me back! I’ve made an awful mistake!”

*There’s a point to this post, I swear. I’m just moving a little slow lately, so bear with me, please, gentle readers.*


My point starts here.  After I did my little Matrix-style whirlygig thingy at the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, I got very specific instructions: “For 48 hours, you must not: look down, look up, lie down, bend over, twist suddenly from side-to-side, sleep at less than a 45-degree angle, drive.”

Hello? Instructions like that are first-degree assholery, people! I hoped he was joking, but he wasn’t.

I thought I’d miss the driving most, but I was wrong. Do you realize how often a person looks down in a day? Not bend down–look down. Like at a book or a computer keyboard or an iPhone or your small child who is howling for snack #7 of the day?  I had no idea, but once I did, I realized it was humanly impossible.

When I told the ENT (delicately, mind you) to, “forget any chance of me doing that nonsense, Jerkstore,” he told me to wrap a scarf firmly around my neck to remind myself not to look down. Because if I didn’t, I’d end up having to not look down for something like 72 hours, so I’d better behave. Hmph.

Thus, I found myself wandering through the halls of my home looking like Isadora Duncan. I was the most ridiculous creature, with my flowing scarves and my lounging on the couch. I hated myself. Useless.

Here lies the rub: it is crushingly, wildly boring to do nothing for 48 hours. Cooking? Requires looking down. Reading/Writing? Obviously out, unless you want to hold your book at eye level and look like an asshole. Computer ain’t happenin’,which made me realize that in that regard, I probably need an intervention, because I need that thing. Play with your children? Nearly impossible, although I was a little happy that CandyLand couldn’t happen for a few days.

It was nuts. It was also a revelation.

How many times have I been strung so thin, so over-taxed with everything that needs to be donedonedonenownownow, that I wish myself back in that hospital, post-partum, (even with my battered, screaming hoo-ha), not having to move or think or take care of anyone but c’est moi?

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I have wished this a lot.

But when all that responsibility and chaos got snatched away, I realized just how much I rely on it. Readers, I was bored to the gills. Sitting on the sofa hearing Guy Fieri say “smellavision” and “flavor-town” and “ram-a-lama-ding-dong” got crazy old, and I’d TiVoed myself out of backup episodes of Boardwalk Empire within half a day.

Boredboredbored.  And useless. And spinning.

Luckily (?) Miss M. had a date with a tonsillectomy late in the week, so I knew things would be getting exciting around Chez T. in a matter of days.

That little minx was all smiles and giggles as they wheeled her into surgery, and I followed, personal barf sack in hand, feeling like a heel, but I just couldn’t squash her groove.  The way I saw it, reality was imminent–why rush the matter? The nurses pushed her jovial butt down hallways on the gurney, clucking behind her back, looking at me like, “How could you not tell this wee thing what’s about to happen?”  Ffffft.  Truth is overrated.

I am happy to report that Miss M. is made of tough and forgiving stock; she came out of surgery without a tear or an accusing finger. What she did keep asking for, though, was home. Vociferously, in her croaky Fran-Drescher-ish whine, she kept insisting, “It’s time to go home. When are you going take me home, Mama?”

Little Miss Home Now, again I know your heart. I understand.  Even when faced with endless popsicles, IV painkillers and round-the-clock care, nothing beats the security of your own nest.

*Cue another awkward segue*

I’m tying a lot of different threads together, and not very elegantly, but I wanted you all to know how much I’ve appreciated your concern, love and well-wishes during my confinement.  I’m still a little spinny, and Miss M. is very sore and in need of coddling, which I am happy to do, although it keeps me from my desk.

We’ll be limping back slowly.

However, I’d like to share a recipe for Miss M.’s recovery food of choice. I’ve been making it non-stop since Saturday, and while it’s the simplest thing imaginable, it’s quite luxurious.  It’s certainly only for special occasions, for someone who needs some buttery, cream-laden comfort while they regain some strength and spunk.  Miss M. declares it the most delicious of all things.

Soft-Scrambled Eggs with Cream

serves 1 invalid

2 super-fresh, jumbo-sized eggs

1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

1/2-1 tablespoon butter (I had clarified on hand, but any will do)

salt to taste

Crack eggs into a bowl and whip with cream until light and frothy.  In a small skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Add the eggs and cook, over the lowest heat possible, stirring constantly, until eggs just begin to form curds. This takes a while, but remind yourself that your invalid is worth babysitting a few eggs for. Salt to taste.

If you have a cuddly and needy invalid like mine, feed it to her with a spoon like the Queen of Sheba.

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