Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Where did the door go?

Inner ear problems, Meniere's disease, vertigo, just plain dizzy. All of these are nearly the same, just a little bit different. They all mean you are dizzy, the room spins, you can't walk the line for the cop.

Around 30 years ago I was very dizzy and laid down on the floor. At that point I couldn't figure out how to get off the floor. I had no idea which way was up. I was on the floor and very still, and the room was spinning and whipping around. I thought I was having a stroke or something really bad. With great effort I pulled the phone down and called Kaiser, they put me on hold. So I called 911. The paramedics arrived and told me to go to the emergency room. I wasn't having a stroke but I needed a doctor. They said it would cost a fortune for me to go in the ambulance and to get my husband or someone to take me. It wasn't life or death. The husband was on a plane, the son was in elementary school; so the neighbor took me. I had/have Meniere's disease.

That means the fluid in my ears sloshes and I have no sense of balance. To me often the room is spinning. I see the walls move, very fast. When I walk toward a door, I may miss the door because it moves. I am walking and I just lurch to the side. I often look like I am drunk.

The weird thing about this disease is it will wake you up in the middle of the night with a spinning room. I have rolled over in bed and jiggled the ear fluid. And the motion I feel wakes me up. I watch the room whip around me and try not to throw up. I feel the motion, and sometimes it is really unpleasant. If I have an attack during the day, I can only keep from falling out of my chair by holding on to it. Sometimes I walk by holding on to the furniture or the wall.

I will go months without more than a mild feeling of motion. And sometimes it is full blown spinning. The attacks will last just minutes or days.

I woke up several times last night with the room whipping by my head. And then it would quit. The alarm went off and I sat up slowly (always I move slowly when moving up or down). I then staggered to the end of the bed and grabbed the bedpost. Then I studied where the door seemed to be. Could I hit it or would I bounce off the wall? I made it through the door the first time. In a couple of hours, I was fine.

One of my biggest fears is an attack while driving. Besides the danger of not knowing where things really are, explaining to the cop would be awful. Please sir, I can't touch my nose. No sir, I can't hop on one foot, nor can I walk that line. Please sir, let me just take the breathalyzer test.


kts said...

I am so sorry--what a terrible thing with which to have to deal! Karl's dad has vertigo, and I witness how profoundly awful it is. Wish I could make the world stand still for you.
love kts

Janet Rudolph said...

My dad had Meniere's, and it was awful. One thing I remember is that he ate a piece of fresh ginger every day. Seemed to help.

Eyes and ears. Problems. Aura and dizziness. Sorry. Yes, it's a worry if you're driving.

Janet A said...

Ginger,I haven't heard that one. I may have to try that.