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Adventures in Dizziness

It's a wonder that my website stats don't plummet like a rock. There are times I just need to get away from the computer. So, I neglect this site more than I intend to. No, I haven't been staying away from the computer "for Lent." Looking at the computer screen produces a kind of sensory overload that can bring on dizziness and vertigo. 

To tell you the truth, I generally don't know what I can do and what I can't do. Vertigo can hit unexpectedly and for no apparent reason.

Which brings me to the story of the last couple of weeks. 

I've had two especially embarrassing incidents lately. A couple of weeks ago, on a Sunday evening I had an almost-attack while I was at the Anthem youth program (for High School age students) at the
Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville. the only thing that kept it from being a full-blown attack is the fact that I used the DiVertigo oil to try to regain some of my equilibrium. So, because of that, I was able to stand, walk to my car without assistance, etc. Some of the people there got me home — which I really appreciated. (When my eyes aren't focussing correctly, I cannot always correctly judge the distance of objects. Driving in that condition is dangerous.)

The other one occurred last Sunday at 3 a.m. 

A pastor friend (the pastor of the
CrossWind Community Church in Dorr) came down with the flu, and asked me during the week if I could fill in for him on the upcoming Sunday, if needed. I said sure. If you're well enough, you can preach, I told him, if not — I can cover for you. He asked me about my health — since he knew I was having some problems. I said: "I don't know. I'm not getting better, but some days I'm okay and some days I'm not." I can't put all of life on hold just because I sometimes get attacks of vertigo. I have good days and bad days and no way of predicting which will be which. 

He called me on Saturday. He was still quite sick. I told him I was all set to take over for him: no problem. 

Only, there was a problem. At 3 a.m. in the morning I woke up and the world was spinning. It was a severe attack. I had no balance. My wife, who had worked the afternoon before and had to work that afternoon, as well, had to get up and get some things for me. My Dramamine (for nausea) and DiVertigo were out in the Dining Room. I keep a plastic basin by my bed these days in case of nausea — so that was near at hand. But, Robin, who works hard and needed her sleep, did what she could to help me.  Somehow, after quite a while, I fell asleep.

When I woke up that morning I was better — the world had stopped spinning — but my stomach was very queasy. There was noticeable tinnitus in the left ear — not a good sign. I still felt a little light headed, but figured I could make it through the two Sunday morning services. 

I posted my status on Facebook and got a lot of prayer support. 

Robin got up early so she could drive me there. I am very thankful for that. I was feeling so bad that I had awoken her during the night that I would not have asked her to do that. I would have attempted to drive myself — which might have been a very bad mistake. 

I used the DiVertigo to remove some of the lightheadedness, and both services went very well.

After the second service a lady approached me who told me she had had a similar problem, but she had had her condition cured through the efforts of a physical therapist. She said that her problem had been crystals in the inner ear canals, and that physical therapy had corrected this. She gave me the business card of her physical therapist. 

I've heard stories like this before, so I was actually eager to find out if something like this could help me.  

Monday morning I called my doctors office to see if I could get a referral, and to see if my doctor thought it was even worthwhile to pursue this. I got the referral, and managed to get in to see the physical therapist on Tuesday. 

If I had known what he was going to do I would not have eaten breakfast that morning. He put me through a series of exercises designed to cause dizziness. I was feeling good that day and he did not really succeed — though my stomach was lurching a bit on the way home. 

But, his tests confirmed what we already (really) knew. My vertigo is not caused by crystals in the canals of the inner ear. That is a condition called
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). And, this condition responds well to treatment. Physical Therapists can usually correct it. 

My vertigo is not caused by BPPV. My vertigo is caused by
Meniere’s Disease. It is a condition. It is not considered curable. Symptoms are caused by a build-up of fluid in the inner ear. Vertigo caused by BPPV usually lasts about 30 - 60 seconds. Mine can go on for hours. 

I was diagnosed with it long ago. Most of my life it hasn't bothered me at all. For some unknown reason, now it is. Some days I'm bad — and the tinnitus in the left ear is very noticeable — some days I'm fine. I can't predict how I'll feel tomorrow. 

So, the next time someone comes to me with their story of crystals in the inner ear canals I can let them know I've been tested for that — and I don't have that problem. I have a more permanent problem. 

Nevertheless, the Physical Therapist did give me some "Habituation Exercises" to do every day that should help to lower the severity of my attacks. 

And, I have an appointment to see my ear specialist later in March. 

The last time I had problems with Meniere’s Disease (and that was more than 20 years ago!) the condition got worse and worse and worse — and then stopped completely. I have no more idea why it started than why it stopped. 

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