Many bLog-oMotives readers are aware of the fact that I have been dealing with vertigo since being diagnosed with an inner ear virus about two and half years ago. A couple months after having the virus I literally just fell over in the shower one morning, breaking several ribs in the process. I knew I hadn't slipped - I simply fell over.
Since that time I've had many issues with the vertigo. I have difficulty driving over bridges without feeling nauseous, heights of any kind are not my friend, and I've developed agoraphobia when it comes to being in large groups or public places where visual over-stimulation is a possibility. Watching some television shows or movies will cause me to feel ill. At times it's difficult to work while being dizzy and sitting at a computer for a number of hours. When driving and coming to a halt at a stoplight, or stop sign, I usually have the sensation that the car is still moving. Many times I've reached for the emergency brake to stop a vehicle that is actually not moving. Twice recently, while driving on the freeway, I've had panic attacks - something I had never experienced before. This condition can be somewhat debilitating at times and frustrating because, as my doctor told me, I am a very healthy sick person.
The vertigo has been controlled a bit by medications (some which have the side effect of dizziness), ear candling, and acupuncture. My love of travel has not been hampered too much by my dizziness. With motion-sickness medications I have been able to travel in cars, planes and boats. On a recent crabbing trip I was fine on the boat having taking Meclizine, but visually my brain saw the body of water standing still and the land moving. I could not focus on the horizon at all. Actually being in water is very disorienting - I sometimes can't tell which way is up - so I have avoided swimming or snorkeling.
For some this condition just disappears one day with no known or reasonable explanation. However, I recently talked to a woman who has been dealing with chronic vertigo for over 30 years. I know I don't want to lead that life.
Over that past couple years I've heard of a local doctor who has dealt with this issue successfully with many patients. This past Sunday our local newspaper, The Oregonian, had a lengthy article about Dr. John Epley and his work with those dealing with vertigo. Dr. Epley has developed a treatment, known as "The Epley Maneuvers," that repositions chalk-like particles collecting in the fluid-filled canals of the inner ear, and it seems to eliminate the false sensations of movement. Several alternative medicine professionals have suggested that perhaps the "crystals" in my inner ear need to be realigned - so this does make sense to me. Epley's own invention, the Omniax chair, is used to tilt and rotate the patient in a precise sequence of moves and the newspaper's website has a video demonstration of the equipment.
As I told my partner Ed, I'm willing to try anything at this point. Hopefully, I'll soon be able to get on the schedule for an initial consultation with the clinic to see if I qualify for the treatment. It would be so nice to no longer feel as if I was just going to fall over all the time.
© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives