I'm so dizzy...but hopefully not forever

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


Calvin Lee said...

Jeff, I didn't know you had that condition. Sounds kind of annoying to have.

The concept of the Omniax chair seems so simply. Hopefully, it can fix your problem. I wish you luck!

Jessie Jane said...


I remember when you were first diagnosed (via How) but I didn't realize you were still dealing with it.

Having dealt with a chronic disease for over a decade now (Rheumatoid Arthritis), the best thing I can offer is research, research, research. It sounds like you're doing all the right things, reconigozing your limitations and pursuing alternative options.

Be well, and here's to finding a solution. Humans are remarkably resilient, and I'm sure you're no exception.


Brian Mays said...

I am one of those people who had the vertigo out of the blue...and it went away out of the blue and hasn't been back.

Woke up in 1998 on a Saturday, left side of the room is trying to move to the right, and vice versa. Couldn't walk without someone helping me. Later that day it just went away.

One week later, same thing. My mom had the same thing and she took the Meclizine and another medication for the nausea.

A few months later, had one spell. Haven't had one since 1999.

I have no idea where it came from, and no idea how it stopped. I feel for you...hopefully this will solve the problem for you.

Brian Mays said...

Geez, I hadn't used blogger in 2 years and this stupid name I used with some friends came through as my identity.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness.... I just stumbled across this after googling 'dizziness' and 'fell over'. I'm having the same symptoms. While I'm not happy that you have this condition, I have to say I'm relieved to read that I'm not the only one. I've been afraid to go to the doctor for fear he'll tell me something awful. If it's an inner ear virus, I'd better go. It's just horrible, isn't it? You have my empathy. And thank you for blogging about it.... who knows how many others will read this and at least know they're not alone.