Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lessons in Dizziness

Nearly two weeks ago, I woke up, sat up, and the room began to spin. Had this been college and had I been drinking at the time, it would have made sense. But since neither was the case, and since I was not on a merry-go-round either, there was nothing, well, merry about it.

Not surprisingly, my doctor's diagnosis was an inner ear infection - a virus that would need to run its course. Almost two weeks later, I am feeling better, but by no means is my equilibrium restored.

It has been an interesting two weeks of forced rest, canceled plans and repeated excuses to drink the largest iced chai my friends at Starbucks will make me, under the guise of drinking plenty of fluids.

It hasn't been all bad. Yes, I canceled a massage and a manicure and had to forego my critique group writing retreat, retreating on my own to - you guessed it - a nearby Starbucks instead.

But, since I am not someone who is good at slowing down or trimming things from her calendar, this unplanned respite hasn't been all bad. I've been home more and have spent more time in quiet pursuits and less time worrying about accomplishing things. When standing up without falling over is an accomplishment in and of itself, you tend to lower your standards a bit.

This has also been an exercise in patience, sense of humor and relinquishing control. A virus that has to run its course won't be rushed or predicted, and try as I might, I can't make it go away. I can only begin to imagine how my friends who are battling cancer must feel.

When I look back on the most painful times in my life, I am profoundly aware of the lessons they have taught me and the ways in which they have shaped me. This nuisance of an illness has lessons to teach me as well, and when it doesn't make me cranky, I try to keep that in mind. 

Next week, I see a specialist. I'm optimistic that he may be able to afford me some relief. And, if he can restore my equilibrium, he will have my undying gratitude.

And what a lesson that is - that sometimes the things we take for granted are the most important of all.

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