I want to share with you when I went to the emergency room last March 22nd. I rarely go to the doctor, and I never post anything personal like this on Facebook, much less my blog. But I feel it is critical to share what I have learned over the last few months regarding human ears and how critical they are over and above for hearing. A neighbor had died unexpectedly that very day and Mark, being clergy in his church, went over to help with the situation, as best as he could. When he returned to our home, I said: “Mark, my eyes are moving and I’m not moving them.” They were fluttering non-stop, that’s how I would explain it.
It made me feel sick and I threw up from the room spinning. I thought at first this must be vertigo, but my eyes were fluttering and I had zero control over them. What’s crazy, I had zero pain, no headache, zip, nothing. I quickly said to Mark: “Take me to the emergency room right now, this is past any InstaCare Center.” He knew I was serious because I go to the doctor once a year only to have my cholesterol checked.
We drove to the emergency room with my throw up bucket, yes, we all have one, right? I have had vertigo a few times in my life, but it goes away within hours or a couple of days. This was totally different.
As we entered the hospital, via the emergency room entrance I was escorted to a private room within minutes. I’m 67 with gray hair so I’m assuming the medical personnel thought I was having a stroke or heart attack. When I say private room, I mean private, the last time I went to an emergency room they had curtains hanging between beds for the patients. I remember thinking to myself when did this change? Private rooms at the emergency room, right on!
Emergency Room MRI and EKG
Anyway, the doctors were ordering an MRI STAT, and an EKG STAT. The doctors kept asking me: “Do you have a headache, do you have any pain?” I answered no. But I had zero balance.
Luckily, no stroke, no brain tumor or heart issues. They tipped my whole body upside down to see if I had “crystals” out of place in my inner ears. No, crystals. The doctors told me to follow up with my primary care physician. This was not your typical vertigo.
Hearing And Balance Center
I ended up going to a hearing and balance center. The doctors of audiology said my hearing was fine for my age, but they wanted to test my balance. I came two weeks later, still no balance, using a walker or I would fall. A walker, are you kidding me, I am a tough cookie. I used one for a while when I had my knees replaced, but this was crazy.
Mark had to drive me everywhere. I could not go into grocery stores, it was overwhelming to me. I soon learned why. I had a virus hit my right ear Cochlea and that ear was only performing at 65% of its capacity to help with the balance function. My left ear was normal at 100%. My eyes (my brain) were not talking to each other. I had to go to Neuro-Rehab for weeks. It should have been months, but it cost $45.00 co-pay twice a week with insurance. I was given the tools to help my brain to work together and I could do most of the therapy at home.
Typing Posts Was Hard
I was typing posts on my blog like I was used to and could hardly see the keyboard in a normal way. Mark proofs my posts so we try to have zero typos, etc. I would type and have to rest for an hour after typing only 30 minutes. I was taking two three hour naps every day. This is not me, I’m type A and never stop. I own it. My brain training was exhausting me. I had to do neurological therapy several times a day to retrain my brain to work. I learned that your eyes, ears, and feet work together to perform the balancing process for your body. Since my right ear wasn’t working at full capacity my eyes were trying to make up for it, and confusing my brain in the process.
I could not drive. I could not drive in a car with other cars buzzing by the sides, or it would exhaust me. My brain couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t drive to see some of my kid’s activities 350 miles away because I could not drive in a car. It would exhaust me. I learned a lot through this ordeal.
This is what I was diagnosed with. Here’s the deal, the doctors told me it normally takes several weeks to work through it, but it could be a year. I am still dealing with it. I can drive short distances, but it’s exhausting. I rarely drive right now, but I’m getting better. I would never have guessed this diagnosis would be so serious.
My doctor asked me if I had some sort of stress going on in my life that would have caused my immune system to be compromised. This was true and interesting to me to connect the dots.
The doctor told me, “I can tell you for sure you do not have Meniere’s disease.” I quote from The Mayo Clinic “Nov 26, 2015 – Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes in which you feel as if you’re spinning (vertigo), and you have fluctuating hearing loss with a progressive, ultimately permanent loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear.”
Now, this is interesting because Mark was outside talking to our neighbor next door. He said he had just been diagnosed with this Meniere’s disease. He can’t have salt for the rest of his life and must take medication forever. He thought it was vertigo until he went through extensive testing.
Foods to avoid are salt, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and smoking. Glad I don’t have Meniere’s disease, I love my chocolate!
I quote this from The Mayo Clinic, “May 28, 2015 – Overview. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo — the sudden sensation that you’re spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness.”
Anxiety and Vertigo
Yes, anxiety can cause vertigo. People with panic attacks and anxiety attacks can experience different short forms of vertigo. The room may spin causing you to be nauseous and to start vomiting. I read where even mental illness may cause vertigo. I had no idea so many people suffer from vertigo.
I keep hearing from this friend that her friends have vertigo. My friend, Lisa, has had vertigo for almost three years. Her’s is due to crystals in her ear. I have to wonder, why are so many people getting vertigo? This is awful.
Is Vertigo Life-Threatening?
Although vertigo can be debilitating, most cases are not life-threatening. Most vertigo can be treated with exercises if it’s due to crystals in your ears that are not balanced evenly. I have friends that were diagnosed with vertigo that had crystals out of balance and I saw several YouTubes people can use to help with that.
Biggest Fear Is Falling
The doctors worry about people falling with vertigo that lasts for weeks or months. If we fall we may break bones, and who knows what will happen with the elderly or people with balance issues.
My Neuro-Rehab Exercises
I had to use tongue depressors with an X on them to train my brain to look at them correctly (I was seeing double). I was asked to walk the “drunk line” by my therapist, which I failed. No balance. I had to learn to walk forward with my eyes open and then walk backward. Then I had to close my eyes and walk forward and backward. Yes, I had people on each side of me. I had harnesses holding me up straight to test my balance. It was very frustrating.
I had several neuro-rehab exercises and I’m extremely thankful for the doctors here in Southern Utah, who helped me get this far. I still have a way to go, but I’m so much better.
I took a good friend to the emergency room with vertigo about three months ago, she is better but not totally. She had a CT-Scan and then an MRI a few weeks later. She had to go to neuro-rehab as well. What is going on? Is there something in the air, the water? It makes me wonder.
Let Your Snot Run
This is what I learned after the emergency room visit, I have sinus issues all the time. I was told to let the snot run from my nose. I’m sorry that sounds gross, but if it helps one person today I have done my job by letting people know this critical tip. I will never use antihistamines again unless absolutely necessary. I use doTerra Breathe all the time. No, I do not sell it, but I love it. It keeps my sinuses open and clear.
Please let me know if you have had vertigo issues and what you had to do to get better. I was given Meclizine for nausea. You can get 100 tablets behind the Costco pharmacy counter for $3.00. That’s a whole lot cheaper than other stores. I didn’t need the Meclizine, but I grabbed a bottle to add to my first aid kit. I suggest you do the same.
Please remember, I am not a doctor, nurse or anyone in the medical field. I want you to have this information if you need it after a disaster hits your neighborhood. It may help someone. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world.
Copyright Picture: AdobeStock_74402119 by Carolyn Franks