Last night, I was hit with another bout of labyrinthitis, which is very much a real thing even though my spell-check seems to think otherwise. If you're not familiar with you, well, be thankful as it isn't a great deal of fun. Sometimes, when you get some swelling in your inner ear (could be for several reasons), it messes with your semi-circular canals. The result is that one of your ears is sending wildly different signals to your brain with respect to things like motion and balance.
This is not a lot of fun. The world looks like it's spinning, or, in my case, jerking wildly to the left and then resetting. Keep your eyes closed when it hits. Trust me on this one. You're not out of the woods yet, though. Any movement triggers the two sets of signals, so shifting your head to the side feels like lurching several feet. Try to avoid moving. If you have to move, say, to go to the bathroom, you crawl. You crawl with your eyes closed.
As you might expect, nausea is one of the side-effects. It's weird, in that it always makes me feel sick, but I never actually get sick. I'm not sure if that's due to my iron stomach or some unusual aspect of this ailment.
The first time it hit, some five or six years ago, it was terrifying. Your first thought is "will this ever end?" You don't know, because it's never happened to you before. The first time was the worst for that reason. The symptoms have been the same each time, but knowing it isn't permanent makes it much easier to deal with.
The other thing that makes it easier is that my wife had experience treating this same problem in animals, so she quickly recognized what was going on. The best treatments are motion-sickness drugs and sleep. The motion-sickness drugs are what allow you to sleep, and the sleeping lets you miss the several hours it takes for your body to re-calibrate.
That's what happens, in the end. Your body reconciles the two signals from the inner ears and figures out how to turn those two inputs into one, consistent reading on your balance. It takes several hours, so sleeping is far more pleasant than trying to fight through it. When you wake up, it's like nothing ever happened, except you probably sweated a lot while dealing with the symptoms and your muscles are probably a little achy from, well, whatever they were doing.
Today has been almost surreal in how pleasant it's been. I'm well-rested (which almost never happens) and the whole day has felt gauzy and dreamlike. Probably a little of Dramamine still in my system. It's hard to say for sure. Anyway, I suppose I'm fortunate in that my most severe ailment passes after a few hours and leaves almost no marks.