Yesterday I went back to the community centre pool 30 minutes of power-swimming. Not specifically for a fitness reason, but primarily because I’ve had this vertigo disequilibrium thing going on in my ears since Friday and I’m damned tired of it. I dug up an old prescription list and noted that it was November 25, 2012 when I had the same thing. Two years later, it’s baaaaaack. And although I dutifully took the remainder of the pills, I can’t shake it. Maybe the chemicals have expired.

Having consulted Dr. Google, I first dribbled a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into my ears. It felt cozy but the pressure on my ear drum made me sit bolt upright. I shook out the oil and even though I swabbed out my ear, I swear I could hear a tide of leftover liquid sloshing around inside. Eureka, says I, figuring that immersion in a giant pool would do the trick. Uh, it didn’t.

snorkelLet me tell you how I swim. I wear professional scuba flippers, mainly because I am too lazy to flap my feet hard enough to propel my body forward and also because the movement of the fins against my feet actually massages my joints. I also cover my eyes with a mask and use a snorkel – I hate getting treated water in my eyes or in my mouth. As a by-product, in shallow water my myopic eyes can actually see clearly. I tend to get my own lane, perhaps because other swimmers are leery of my wake.

The downside of clear vision is that I get to see the flotsam and jetsam in the water. A hair bow, a piece of ribbon, the occasional bathing suit string and some chunks of things I’d rather not know the composition of. Most of the time that consists of coiled swim rings the instructors use when they teach kids to dive. Before the pool was emptied and scoured during the summer, the usually white floor had begun to resemble a sludge pit, covered as it was with a nasty layer of unknown brown substance. What catches my eye every time are the floating islands of long hair that waft around the deep end like tendrils of brown or blond seaweed. What, did some glamour girl forget to secure her extensions before hitting the pool for a paddle?

badhairInquiring minds want to know…How the hell can anyone lose clumps of hair and not know it? In the old days, anyone with long hair had to wear a cap. How come the gigantic pool filter does have enough suckage to vacuum that foul stuff from the pool water? I’m not talking a few strands – there are usually enough to look like a sea creature riding the waves of swimmers’ currents. Very creepy. Unsanitary, too.

So, back to my attempts to clear out my ears. I did the Australian crawl for 25 minutes face down. Plus, having half my head under water tends to mute the over-loud rock music blasting form overhead speakers. No problemo. Minimal pain. I flipped over to do the backstroke for five minutes. As soon as the cold water hit my eardrum, it was like someone had jammed a skewer in my right ear. Lesson learned.

The swim was great exercise but no remedy for whatever is bedevilling my ears and making me feel like I’m walking on a wind-blown high wire. Tomorrow I’m calling the doctor for some real medicine.