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Spending the afternoon playing hookie at my favorite Starbucks with Myboy. Married Man urged me yesterday to write - that the message that has been coming to him is that I need to blog so I figured that would be a good use of my unexpected free time.

While getting ready for work this morning, I noticed that my left ear was ringing. A couple of months ago it started doing this weird thing where I would get an echo. It was most pronounced in my car. As I drove along, I would hear the song playing on the radio. A split second later I heard the same song an octave or two higher as though there was a tiny speaker above and behind that ear.

After a few days of it I went to Urgent Care to check it out, but the doctor found absolutely nothing wrong. He recommended an Ear Nose Throat specialist. However, a couple of days later it seemed to have resolved itself so I let it go.

Shortly after that I was at work and started to feel light headed and dizzy. I staggered walking down the hallway, sometimes having to support myself with the wall or any fixed surface I came upon. I chalked it up to wonky blood sugar levels and an even wonkier work schedule, being on my night rotation.

It happened again a week later on our last evening of IML. I assumed I was just poppered out after open door hours in our hotel room drew a line of men. However, when I staggered down the hallway en route to lunch, unable to walk a straight line and catching myself with the wall more than a few times, I knew something much more was going on than a popper hangover.

That was the first time that the word "vertigo" was used to describe my condition.

I'd heard the term but always associated it with a drug trip or a response to heights. Beyond that, I knew nothing about it. But as I described my symptoms, more and more people threw out that word. One guy even said his vertigo was so bad that they had to perform surgery to replace part of his inner ear.

Of course, I did nothing. I got to Kansas and didn't have another bout. My mother's voice from my ear from childhood rang in my ear - "Are you really sick or are you just wanting to get out of school?"

I know it's foolish. There wasn't anything that I wanted to get out of or avoid. However, since it wasn't a persistent experience once again I figured it had resolved itself.

So at first I dismissed the ring this morning as being an effect of sleeping on my ear wrong or something. But when the dizzy headed-ness started up at work, I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.

I thought maybe I could power my way through it by keeping busy. Our batch for the day wasn't ready for us to process so I decided I would help Line 1 with their pack out since they were short staff. Plus, I like the busy work - it helps pass the time, burns calories, and I might as well get used to it if I am hoping to be lead.

Half way through lining the 200+ buckets with bags, I could feel myself start to falter. When I called my supervisor to ask a question, I crouched against the wall to combat the nausea. A few times I stopped to catch my breath and fight back the waves in my stomach. My Stubborn German kicked in as I saw the stacks of buckets diminish and I resolved myself to finish. By the end, I couldn't bring myself to raise my gaze any more than 45 degrees from the floor for fear of succumbing to the gross feeling in my gut.

I placed my last bucket on the rolling rack and excused myself from the room and made my way to the locker room. I held myself together as I changed out of my scrubs, not allowing myself to sit for fear I wouldn't get back up. Bee-lined to the break room where I dropped to the floor, sprawled out, watching the ceiling spin as I closed my eyes.

After a few minutes, I crawled over to the couch where I fell asleep for an hour.

I got up and decided to check my email as a gauge of how I was feeling. Would I be able to continue working? It wouldn't have been a question if it weren't only halfway through the year and I only have 20 hours to PTO left. The only reason to stay would be that we didn't have a batch and I could take it easy. But if they got the batch finished I would be toast. So I ceded to the vertigo. Myboy picked me up, took me to lunch, and dropped me off at his place where I napped some more.

Not my preference for how I want to use what little PTO remains, but I'm grateful to have it!

EDIT: I have the names/numbers of a couple of Ear Nose Throat specialists within my insurance network whom I will be calling on Monday.