Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Until recently—as recently as Sunday—I would have told you that vertigo and dizziness were the same. Not so! I know now because I looked up inner ear + nausea after a truly wretched night of vertigo (not dizziness) and puking.

According to Dr. Google, dizziness is more about feeling as though you’re going to faint. You might see black spots and things may whirl but the emphasis is on the lightheaded feeling you get. Vertigo is feeling that everything is spinning around even when you know for a fact it is not (and it most certainly was not on Saturday night—but you couldn’t have convinced my brain and my stomach otherwise).

Thanks to seasonal allergies and bad ears, I generally have a few weeks every year when I can’t hear well because my ears are clogged. I’m pretty certain that I have woefully ineffective Eustachian tubes that don’t do a very good job draining my middle ears.  This lines up with my childhood experiences, when I did have a lot of ear infections.

This year, the tree pollen count started quite early and has been exceptionally high. So even with my normal regime of anti-allergy medications, I’ve been struggling with my ears. I’d had some bouts of vertigo but nothing like what happened Saturday night.

For about two hours, I barfed every 10 to 15 minutes while Kent, who truly is a saint, waited patiently for me to sort of shove the bucket his way before I gingerly lay back down again on the bed. He told me later he really wanted to rub my back or something while I was so ill, which while sweet would have earned him growls from me. I hate throwing up, absolutely hate it and I can’t stand to be touched while it’s going on. Just let me be miserable and then you can rub my back when it’s all over.

The next day, though, I was really curious. I knew I didn’t have anything seriously wrong, this whole episode was so clearly tied to my ears and my allergies but I wondered if there was anything else I could be doing. And that’s when I learned about the difference between vertigo and dizziness. Now you know it too.

As a sort of gross aside, the vertigo is mostly gone. In addition to ditching one OTC for a different one, I also suspect that my very vigorous puking somehow opened up those Eustachian tubes enough for my ears to drain.

And just because, here's an ear worm for you. Ear worms are nothing like being dizzy or having vertigo.

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