May 3, 2020 at 9:43 am #3644851
Glad this didn’t happen in the back country…
On Tuesday morning I mentioned to my wife that i felt a little dizzy, and eventually called into my doctor for a video call visit. I talked with him through some diagnoses and left it at that. It wasn’t a massive concern, I didn’t feel terrible, and the quick set of diagnostic exercises and existing symptoms seemed to eliminate the more serious potential causes and concerns.
Fast forward to 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. I get up and realize that I can barely walk–and then only by holding onto the walls while I do so. I begin vomiting almost continuous every thirty to forty-five minutes, and if I open my eyes, the world is jumping around completely out of control. And I almost never vomit–if that’s not TMI.
We call the emergency advice nurse at 6:30, who calls in a couple of prescriptions. And by 9:30 we know that there is no way for me to keep those in my stomach. Another call for help, and this time we are directed immediately to 911.
We live only two blocks from the fire station, so I can literally hear the sirens going off before my wife finishes up on the call. They are here within seconds, and now confront the challenge of getting me down the twisting stairs of our old Victorian house. Which they did, all the while wearing masks and asking me about Covid19 symptoms (none.)
I am disappointed to note that they did not turn on the sirens on the way to the hospital.
Once there I am immediately given an IV and rushed into an MRI to determine if had a stroke. Meanwhile, they are trying to replace some of my fluids, and also get some motion sickness medication and anti-nausea drugs into my system.
By late that afternoon the MRI has revealed no evidence of a stroke. But i am still unable to move or open m eyes without the world going haywire. More drugs.
The next morning I am significantly improved. I get another consultation with a doctor, and then a session with a remarkable physical therapist who eliminated one thing after another until she announced that it was a problem in my left (!) ear.
–Great backpacking connection here: her dad is about my age, loves to backpack, and when his wife can’t join him he does trail crew work to get out in the mountains. As do I–
The good news is that I am now home, and can more or less take care of myself, with the enormous help of my loving wife. And I didn’t have a stroke.
Bad news is that I am still suffering from serious vertigo. When I sit still, the whole world slowly revolves to the right, which is quite disconcerting. I can walk, but I have to pay attention to every step. And if I turn my head quickly, all bets are off.
That takes some getting used to.
Yesterday we went for a walk for about 40 minutes. I survived, but I can’t really say that it felt great. And apparently, there is no immediate prognosis for quick recovery. These things take time, and it could be days, weeks or even months.
Which not only makes the world look like it is moving a bit more than I should expect, but also that any plans for this summer might well be on hold–vertical or horizontal.
Here’s hoping you summer looks better.May 3, 2020 at 10:06 am #3644855Brad RBPL Member
Make an appointment with a physical therapist who is trained in the Epley maneuver. I experienced vertigo right before my West Coast Trail trip last July and wasn’t sure if I would be able to go. One session with the physical therapist and it was gone. You can even try it at home…look up Home Epley Maneuver on YouTube.May 3, 2020 at 3:15 pm #3644913
Thanks Brad. But the Epley Maneuver is for vertigo caused by small particles in the inner ear. Not my case, sadly….May 3, 2020 at 4:16 pm #3644924d kBPL Member
Then what is going on in your ear, Paul? I hope it resolves as quickly as possible. I get BPPV from time to time, and it can be miserable when it hits hard. Meclizine can help with the “seasick” feel.May 3, 2020 at 6:37 pm #3644951
They tell me that it is an infection that is affecting the nerves connecting my ear to my brain…they are sending conflicting messages to what my eyes are seeing. Very interesting protocol for diagnosing this—they actually showed me how my eyes are moving in response to the input from my ears–my eyes are still flickering back and forth a bit when I am completely at rest…
And when the did motion tests to see if moving my head made things worse—it didn’t.May 3, 2020 at 6:50 pm #3644954Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
What a weird story, the worst time for it to happen.
So the infection will resolve at some point?
Maybe look at the horizon? That works for sea sickness but that’s totally differentMay 4, 2020 at 7:16 am #3645009
Thanks Jerry. Just taking it day by day. Yes, as the infection disappears, this should resolve….fingers crossedMay 4, 2020 at 8:06 am #3645020Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Now, maybe this is a good time for this to happen because you have nothing to do but to sit around at home anyway. If at any time you have nausea… : )May 6, 2020 at 7:43 am #3645386
I now have a series of PT exercises for my eyes and ears. And I am doing them with great “discipline.” Probably because I know I have a finite number of years left on this planet, and I don’t want to spend them wandering around in a dizzy haze, worrying about whether I am going to topple over or not. (That will come soon enough.)
So my exercises now are to put a sticker on the wall at eye height and stare at it from an arm’s length while moving my head from side to side quickly. When I move to the right, all is normal. When I move to the left, the whole world looks like its sheet feeding to the right. Which is disconcerting. But I can live with that. I may have to. And this exercise is teaching my brain to adjust.
Second exercise is to go stand in a corner with my feet tight together, arms folded. Balance there. If I get good at that, try it with my eyes closed. Or put one foot slightly in front of the other–you’d be amazed at how big a difference THAT makes.
And third one is to walk a straight line while moving my head to look at things from side to side, forcing my brain to adjust to the new me. That’s fun. Disney should sell tickets.
I’d write more now, but I have to go do my exercises…May 6, 2020 at 8:47 am #3645394jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
When I see my ear specialist and he or she has to vacuum out my ears (long story) I usually get the same room spinning thing with nausea. It can get really bad. Once my doctor said my eyes looked like a cartoon character’s after one had been hit in the head with a frying pan–tracking like mad.
the vestibular system hold fluid (if I remember right) that controls balance. an abrupt change in pressure can cause it to go kablooie. Once when I was surfing I went under a very steep wave that smacked my ear, apparently, and when I surfaced my head was spinning very bad. I fell on the first wave of a big set and was pummeled by each following wave and sent under. Very bad. When I finally dragged up on the beach I couldn’t stand for quite a while.
Interesting that it’s the nerve and not the vestibular system that’s affected.
My sympathies; this is a tough condition. Best wishes!May 6, 2020 at 12:58 pm #3645436Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I hope you get better. A friend of mine has vertigo but she is not an active person so she just stays home and can’t participate in things that make her happy.May 8, 2020 at 12:19 pm #3645800D MBPL Member
@farwalkerLocale: What, ME worry?
I had vestibular neuritis caused by a virus. I woke up one day to the room spinning and forget walking, I crawled to the bathroom…The eye ticking was my doctor’s clue to what was wrong. Nothing they can do. It took two months to sufficiently recover to hike alone. Even then I could not take being in a houseboat or on a dock for a while. I used my hiking sticks to help me stay upright on baby hikes early on in recovery. I had hubby drive me to the trail and babysit me for short hikes until I recovered enough. No driving for a while either. Get better Paul, I feel for you!May 9, 2020 at 12:34 pm #3645975
Thanks DM. What you describe is indeed, what I am experiencing–although I am hopeful that my case is less serious than yours was. I am making progress…but I have good days and bad days.
But walking seems to help, and I am doing that. Progress is neither consistent nor continuous…but I’m working on it!May 13, 2020 at 1:53 pm #3646912Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
You certainly could have what i had back in the ’70s, Menier’s Syndrome. As “DM” said, it’s likely from a vestibular canal virus. Not much can be done for it but hope for the best.
I was bedridden for one month and then after 2 weeks of learning to walk steadily i went back to teaching BUT I lost 80% of the hearing in meh right ear – permanently.
Cleveland Clinic told me: 1.VERY low salt diet 2.low caffeine or no caffeine drinks (I drink 50/50 caff/decaf coffee, 2 cups in the AM only.)
These recommendations have helped tremendously.May 13, 2020 at 5:12 pm #3646969
Thanks Eric. I don’t drink any caffeine…and my diet is pretty reasonable, so at least I’m going in the right direction. It’s day to day, but I am able to walk—and that seems to help a lot. So I’ll do more of that!
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