Vertigo

There's this thing about chronic health issues: they can be dormant for ages, heck, for years, and lull you into a false belief that you won't be affected ever again.

Then you get blindsided

Back in 2002, I had a few months of 'the spinnies', as GameTeen had dubbed them, which ultimately was diagnosed as Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo (BPV or BPPV). Despite an MRI of the upper brain, and several tests, my doctors weren't sure what caused it. The MRI was too high on the brain to visualize the Chiari malformation, so it would take another few years to find that. The thing is, if we'd seen it then, then we would have known what was causing the vertigo.

The first episode lasted about three months, with many long spells of Objective Vertigo, where everything around me was spinning at various degrees. I equated it to records, spinning at 16, 33, or 45 rpm. I learned what could cause an OV flare, like tilting my head upwards more than 5 degrees, or being tired. Still, the only reminder I've had is that when I lay down, my room spins slowly a couple of times. That's become so normal that I don't even register it.

Until today. Ed and I went to an IEP meeting at GameTeen's school, then went and picked up a friend for lunch. We were there eating lunch, and all of a sudden, I got a bit of a spin. These have happened when I've moved my head too quick, so I sat still.

It got worse. In under a minute, I went from everything being okay to the whole room spinning around at 45rpm. Closing my eyes made it worse. It was so quick that the nausea came up violently. I said the room was spinning, Ed asked if I was going to be okay and I said no, I'm going to lose my lunch and I got up and weaved my way to the restrooms. I probably looked drunk to anyone else.

It is no fun to be sitting in a bathroom with the world spinning and your body isn't able to make sense of it. I probably was in there for a good ten minutes, unable to move, head against cold tile because it was the only thing that seemed to keep it from getting any worse. Finally, I was able to regroup and get myself up and out onto a chair in the lobby.

Ed dropped off friend, we got home and I crawled into bed and slept for hours. Now I feel wiped out, as if I had really exerted myself today.

At my initial visit with my most recent neurologist, he seemed really concerned that I'd had vertigo (this was before he'd found the Chiari), but the fact that I hadn't had a major episode in over five years seemed to make it a blip on the radar.

Now I'm waiting to see a new neurologist with the same group. I was supposed to see her next week, but they had a conflict and now I don't go until the middle of November. I'd meant to call them the other day and remind them that while I'm new to her, I've been a patient in their department since 2007 and they have several MRIs and EMGs, plus notes from two different colleagues who have left for other opportunities.

It is now my first order of business on Monday morning. It could be a sign the Chiari has changes, I have no clue. In the meantime, unless someone else drives, I'm staying home all weekend.

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