Shangri La

Shangri La

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Winter (and Summer and Fall) of my Discontent

LSW here. It's been kind of quiet around here lately, hasn't it? I figured it was high time that I chime in, lest you think the Vermonster finally left me for some mountain woman. Instead of my usual witty and enormously entertaining posts, though, I think I'm going to get a bit introspective. If that thought gives you the heebie-jeebies, just move on. I won't be offended.
It's been about six months since I last posted. It's no coincidence that that was also the time when I was hit with a non-stop, full-on case of head-spinning vertigo. I woke up one morning in August and thought, "Huh. The room is spinning. I must have an ear infection." So off I went to the ENT and got some medicine and sat back, waiting for it to clear up. Only it decided to have a long-term relationship with me. Six months later, I know the layout of every waiting room in town. In addition to the ENT, I've also seen two GPs, a neurologist, a neuro-opthalmologist, two different physical therapists, a pain management doctor, an acupuncturist, an osteopathic doctor and a Reiki healer. I've had blood tests and tests where they shoot hot air into my ears and flash bright lights in my eyes. I've stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine. I'm eating a gluten-free diet and taking a steady regimen of vitamins and supplements. In short, I've been doing everything I can possibly think of to kick this thing's ass, because frankly, it's been trying to kick mine.
Now let me just state for the record that I am immensely fortunate in my life. I realize that I have so much to be grateful for, vertigo included. Because it's *just* vertigo. Yes, I feel like I'm hungover all day, every day, but I'm completely healthy and I know all too well not to take that fact for granted. Several times a day I remind myself that I've got it good.

   (No, this is not me. This is a photo I appropriated from Imagine if everything around you appeared like this, 24/7. It's a wonder I'm not in padded cell at this point.)

So what does this all have to do with the cabin, you ask? Oh yes, the cabin. We closed it up for the winter shortly after the vertigo reared its ugly head because just the thought of packing a suitcase was exhausting and overwhelming. Never mind the fact that I had no idea what I'd do once I got there. I can't climb a ladder, that's for sure. I definitely can't be trusted with power tools, as my ability to visually focus has been greatly compromised. And playing with The Boy has changed significantly. There's no running on my part, no tossing, bouncing or rolling balls. Hide-and-seek is do-able, as long as I move slower than molasses, but playing tag is out. Within a matter of weeks, The Boy went from watching the occasional educational TV show to knowing every episode of Sponge Bob and developing an addiction to Angry Birds. Not my proudest moment.
Every week, the Vermonster comes home from work with a revised scheduled for the next year, with all of our trips to the cabin mapped out. He's asked for my input on when we should plan to go up, what we should try to accomplish this year and what fun things we can do in addition to work. I've tried to offer suggestions, but the fact of the matter is that it's been tough. I've been fighting off thoughts that occasionally rise to the surface: What if the vertigo never stops? What if I'm never able to work on the cabin again? How can I focus enough to get excited about going back up there, when all I really want to do is lie down in bed (the one time when the spinning stops).
We're three years into this project, and while we have a long way to go before we can say we're finished, it's become an integral part of our lives. It's too late to turn back now-- we've invested too much sweat equity to ever leave it-- but the future seems so up in the air.
I don't doubt that once spring hits I will get a renewed sense of purpose and drive. I had a good meeting with a doctor today that's made me feel hopeful once more and each day my brain seems to be compensating a little more. The dizziness is still there, but I can deal with it better now. I know my limits and I can plan my days accordingly. Hopefully, by the time summer hits, I'll be ready to don my hard hat and take up the Paslode, because this cabin ain't going to build itself. It needs me and yes, I need it.