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Re: World turned upside down...

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World turned upside down...
May 03, 2020 08:45AM
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 your summer looks better.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: World turned upside down...
May 03, 2020 12:10PM
VERY sorry to hear that but, if I'm reading your post correctly, at least it sounds like it's not permanent (I'm very much about trying to see the bright side of things these days). Assuming the "left ear" (presumably inner ear) diagnosis is accurate, is there any kind of treatment or is it one of those things that just has to heal?

Sending healing thoughts and best wishes your way with hopes that the recovery period is more in the days-to-weeks range rather than the weeks-to-months!
avatar Re: World turned upside down...
May 03, 2020 04:42PM
Sounds like it might be labyrinthitis. When I had it the symptoms started suddenly while I was sitting at the computer. Wasn't a slow rotation for me, it was rapid. Barely made it to my bed. Laid there trying not to vomit and thinking I might have something really bad. Too a few weeks to completely clear up, so you might have a hiking season.
Re: World turned upside down...
May 03, 2020 06:00PM
Thanks Eeek. Glad to hear yours cleared up. It's quite an adventure....



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: World turned upside down...
May 03, 2020 09:49PM
Ouch. Here's to a speedy recovery.
Re: World turned upside down...
May 04, 2020 12:53PM
Very sorry to hear that and hope you are feeling much better. Not sure if it's vertigo that onsets with age and one can recover from that with some adjustments.

That's what happened to my dad a couple of years back but was not diagnosed initially. I received frantic voicemails from my mom and sis on my way back from a backpacking trip in yosemite. By the time I called back, he was out of the hospital and bedridden for a few more days.

Rest and proper resting position is the key if it's age related vertigo issue. Hoping for your speedy recovery!
Re: World turned upside down...
May 06, 2020 06:44AM
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...



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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