Feb 16: No pain, no gain
Google history: checking RightMove every day looking at the properties I want to view and tormenting myself as my dream of a bigger place slips out of reach.
Alleluia my heels lift off the floor!
The Betahistine, one of my new meds, immediately works and I can start lifting my feet off the floor. I’m still hobbling about in the brace position and holding onto strategically placed furniture but at least improvements have started.
The anti-dizzy medication also begins to work and I stop feeling like I’m living in a washing machine. The downside is they make me drowsy and my body feels like a block of cement. Dizziness goes hand-in-hand with inner ear problems – why did it take four doctors before they were prescribed?
But no pain, no gain
My body crumbles under the weight of illness. I lose all temperature control and I’m either boiling hot or freezing cold. A rash appears on the side of my body running from my rib cage to my knees.
The sound distortion intensifies and everything is screaming at me again. Even my own voice echoes around my head causing pain as the tinnitus explodes in my skull.
I keep in touch with my friend’s dad via email and he reassures me to keep going with the Betahistine. It works by draining excess fluid from the inner ear and the sound distortion could be caused by my inner ear readjusting as the fluid drains away.
An unhinged mind
My mind becomes as unhinged as my body.
At my GP surgery there are two women chatting in the waiting room. I can tell they are speaking at a normal volume but the sound distortion makes it feels like they’re torturing me. I am your stereotypical Guardian reading, liberal North Londoner but I want to rip their throats out and smash their heads against the counter. I want to see their blood. Where has this vengeful violence come from?
I also become paranoid that I may not survive the night. It feels like death is circling around me like a shoal of piranhas. I start texting my friend Amy before going to bed saying I’ll text again in the morning to confirm I’m still alive. I picture Amy letting herself into my flat to find me in bed either as a corpse or completely deaf, blind and incapacitated.
Happy family news
One night I’m excited because my brother is going to pop the question to his girlfriend and I wait for the text with the good news. I feel terribly ill that night. The vision in my left eye has become obscured by big black blotches and the left side of my face feels like its melting. I’m scared to put my head on the pillow in case blood rushes to my head and causes a stroke.
This is a memorable night. Happy news of the impending wedding comes as I’m propped bolt-upright against the headboard trying to sleep without lying down.
The whole month is filled with similarly surreal moments as I succumb to illness and I can do nothing except stare out of the window and watch the grey clouds of storms Gertrude and Imogen as they sweep the country.