Monday, September 14, 2009


As you all know from my recent whining, it's been a difficult summer. And, just when things were beginning to calm down, Jon went out to sweep off the patio on Friday after a nasty windstorm.

He came into the office a few minutes later, complaining of terrible dizziness. He was sweating profusely and pale as a ghost. I was terrified that we were in the midst of a stroke or some kind of cardiac event. Our doc instructed us to get him to the hospital ASAP. An ambulance ride ensued, followed by 8 hours in the ER, every medical test know to man, and a shot of Valium to stop the vertigo. A "questionable" smudge on the cat scan required that he be admitted that night and on Saturday he had an MRI. By this time Jon was feeling fine--no dizziness at all.

After checking out all the tests (except for the MRI) our doc at the hospital assured us that it was most likely a BPV attack--benign positional vertigo, which is often caused by a virus in the ear canal. Yesterday the MRI results confirmed the doc's diagnosis and Jon came home with a prescription for an anti-vertigo medicine in case of another bout.

Result is, as I've always thought, Jon is healthy as a horse and now all the tests confirm it. But, what a scare it was for awhile. The coincidence in this whole matter is that our son Joel in Portland, OR accompanied a friend to the hospital on Thursday with exactly the same symptoms and the same tests and final diagnosis.

Anyone out there feeling dizzy? Oh, and by the way, two weeks ago we had a major water leak in the office, so now the back room is in total disarray, waiting for a new floor to be installed.

I vow that this will be the last of the "poor us" missives. It's time to get back to work!


DebraLSchubert said...

Thank goodness it was nothing serious! Ears are mysterious. And, what a bizarre coincidence about your son and his friend. (Cue Twilight Zone music.) Happy to have you back healthy, happy, and strong.

BTW: Did you hear my sister had a baby on Friday? She did! I'm a new aunt again and I'll get to see the little bundle in a few weeks! Yippee!!!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I get BPV all the time. There's actually a nice and easy exercise to re-set the fluid in the middle ear.

And yes, enough of the bad news. You guys are overdue for some good stuff!

Anthony said...

BPV is really scary if you don't know what it is, and hard to diagnose.

I was fortunate a number of years ago, my doctor was very current on BPV and his wonder drugs he prescribed fixed me up.

Ear infections in adults suck.

T. Anne said...

I suffer from inner ear problems now and again. I stay away from caffeine because that seems to exacerbate it.

F. P. said...

Oh my, I have had this on and off for years; the first time was HORRIBLE. It seemingly comes and goes with the allergy season and the weather, and if I've been doing upside-down Yoga positions (I don't anymore and I have to do Pilates with a pillow under my head or else I start feeling light-headed spinny). It started after I'd first had an ear infection; I kept waking up with the room spinning round my head like a compass ball, my body in a cold sweat, and I'd immediately drop back down flat to the bed; the nausea was so intense.

I don't have insurance, and I spent quite a bit of money for one doctor to tell me he didn't know anything about vertigo exercises and another nose-ear specialist to tell me I didn't have the vertigo eye signs (nystagmus) right then (no, duh, I said the vertigo had gone away by then but it comes and goes), I needed allergy testing (was he gonna pay for it? of course not!), and then charge me even more money because I went five minutes over the allotted time.

I found the Brandt-Daroff exercises on a website; I did them for weeks and then occasionally after that. The BPPV went away and didn't happen bad for years, but then it started up again a bit when where I live had over a week of nonstop rain.

The BPPV has never been as bad as that first year, and I am able to tolerate light spinning now. I just sit still and wait. You somewhat get used to this, just like dancers do to physically spinning round. But after that long rain I did need to do the B-D exercises daily for a week to ward off excessive spins. And now I often get very brief vertigo if I get up too fast after I've been lying down for hours. I really must do the exercises more regularly.

The B-D exercises are like a progressive therapy that fixes the crystals in the ear(s). And when I haven't done a set of them for a long time, I start feeling the spinning more acutely again. That first time I had the vertigo, I had to keep something-peppermint in my mouth to keep from puking as the exercises will start the spin during the bent-neck positions. But the person's supposed to remain in each position until the spinning stops; it does in my experience.

They can be done in a doctor's or therapist's office, though usually it seems the Epley maneuvers are done there.

I hope Jon gets some relief. And good luck getting back into your work,

F. P.

Julie said...

BPV, usually called BPPV, is a specific diagnosis related to calcium deposits that break loose in the balance mechanism of the inner ear. Symptoms are a brief (seconds-long) violent spinning sensation that is triggered by head position, usually by looking up or rolling over in bed. It just lasts seconds and happens only from specific head movements. BPPV is treated in most people with very simple head manuevers that put the calcium deposits (otoconia) back in place. If your spinning lasts for hours, you could have a different type of vestibular insult, and this can be diagnosed by seeing an ear doctor and probably an audiologist, who would do testing of the balance portion of the inner ear. Many audiologists (I'm an audiologist) can do the manuevers, or you could look it up online, as another posted noted. Some PTs do them, as well. Good luck! Dizziness is the pits. I'm glad he's feeling better now.