Stop the World…

…and let me off, I’m tired of going round and round. So sung Waylon and Merle…for different reasons I expect, but it is an appropriate sentiment nonetheless and so I am singing it too. As it happens, the ER doc had it wrong and I am not experiencing BPPV after all. Turns out the interesting term in there is the key…Paroxysmal. What I am experiencing is not, I repeat NOT, episodic. Nope, it all just keeps going round and round. In point of fact it is more complex than that. While everything else keeps going round and round I have to continually convince myself that I am not actually perpetually falling to my left side.

So we went to a specialist this morning…two actually. The first was an Audiologist. She called me from the waiting room and after watching my halting progress, sagely commented. “Dizzy Huh?” Yep. So, I have really good hearing which is – of course – a good thing. She then passed me off to an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist… who amusingly enough, spoke very loudly. Occupational hazard perhaps.

Anyways, the proper diagnosis is Vestibular Neuronitis; also known as (and personally I prefer this term) Labyrinthitis. If I have to have a condition, it might as well have a cool name. So, while the name has changed, the symptoms are essentially the same… excepting the aforementioned, non-episodic element. It still involves a lack of balance, still involves the inner ear, still makes moving around difficult. Inflammation of the inner ear, (which is tightly encased within the skull and thus does not have a lot of room for inflaming into) creates havoc in the signals that are sent to the brain which regulate balance. Hence the spinning and such. Other side effects are difficulty focusing and of course the ever threatening nausea from all of that unreal movement.

This fun adventure is frequently caused by some sort of infection which irritates the vestibular system, thus causing it to react, as bodily systems often will when irritated, by becoming inflamed. Inflammation = pressure = signal disruption = brain asplode. When the inflammation stops things should go back to normal right? Well yes, but I gather it is a bit more complicated than that. Something along the lines of the brain, after a fashion starts to get used to these weird signals and just says, “well dude, have fun with that.” Eventually everything will find a new equilibrium and recalibrate given that all systems finally return to a normal state. Problem is this can take weeks… fuuuuuuuuu….

So, there is a bit of a short cut in that one can undertake certain physical therapy efforts, so called vestibular rehab, which work to help the brain adjust to the weird signals by, … well I am not sure how yet. Going to see that specialist later today.

Anyways, I will accept the new nickname given me by Shenanigans – Dreidle – and I will forge on trying to relearn basic navigation and slowly add to the list of complex tasks which I am comfortable performing…like typing, or making a sandwich, or even peeing standing up.  Good grief.




4 thoughts on “Stop the World…

  1. Lynn on Moosie Mtn.

    Whoa, Chris, that absolutely sucks. You’re right though, at least it has a cool name, and now you have a cool nickname 🙂 As one who has had weird shit pop up twice recently I know how disruptive it can be to your life (and S’s life). I had the aforementioned BPPV a couple of times a number of years ago (for short periods luckily) so I know how horrible the spinning room/can’t walk/can’t stand/barfy feeling is; sorry it is not just that for you though. Hang in there, it will get better.

    • So, just found out that the vestibular neuronitus is not quite the same as labyrinthitus. Thankfully I have the former, otherwise there would be hearing loss as well… Whew.

  2. Lynn on Moosie Mtn.

    Well that is some good news at least. Too bad we don’t have Tricorders (sp?) to fix everything with a zap.

    • Nice! I will say however, that even though this business really sucks it is enlightening…and I will be very careful here…as a window into the reality of all the people in the world that suffer from disabilities. More on this later..

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