I am currently in a fight with my inner ear, and my inner ear is winning. To decode that sentence – I have labyrinthitis for the second time in eight months. The long and short of labyrinthitis is that room spins, tilts, and sways, even when you’re completely still. There have been many times recently I’ve ventured out of the house I’ve looked three sheets to the wind when completely sober. It ruins your sense of balance, depth perception, and confidence to get from a to b without wanting to collapse to the floor and hug the ground. For the past two weeks I’ve spent 20 – 22 hours of the day on my back or on my side. Basically, it sucks. Completely, and totally sucks.
On top of this, my health is in a major downswing at the moment. New symptoms keep cropping up, the doctors don’t know what to do with me, and then even more new symptoms crop up. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. It’s gotten to the stage where even they joke about my body being a bit of a mess.
All this means that I’m completely exhausted – on top of my usual day to day exhaustion, my brain has to work overtime trying to compensate for everything being topsy turvy. This piece has a lot of exposition just so you know where I’m coming from – bone deep exhaustion with extra added symptoms.
Now, as you can imagine, exhaustion doesn’t always make for a harmonious relationship. Don’t get me wrong – the Gent is dealing well. Almost too well, (I’m half convinced he isn’t human), and as a pair, we function rather well. I know when to leave him alone, and he knows when to leave me alone. But, labyrinthitis leaves us in uncharted territory – I’ve had to lean on the Gent more this month to help with little things like picking stuff up off the floor, and showering. On top of our demanding jobs, and general couple things, this means that at the end of the day we’re both exhausted, have a tendency to snap at each other due to tiredness. And, faced with new somewhat scary symptoms, my tendency to Google hasn’t helped things. The Gent is an endless optimist, and tells me not to worry, whereas I can do anything but. I’m a worrier, it’s in my nature.
So, what did we do?
After a particularly interesting day of disagreeing with each other over the little things (I think coloured spoons were involved), we created a chronic illness cheat sheet for our moods. So, nowadays when I find talking painful, or one of us is too exhausted to communicate our needs efficiently, we know how the other feels. It also means that the Gent doesn’t have to guess as to why I look grumpy. We’ve gone from feeling annoyed at each other because we’re not communicating, to knowing in a few short hand movements, gestures (no flipping the bird), or symbols sent by text how the other is feeling. It’s not perfect, and we’re still learning, but it’s something.