Butterfly on Goat's Beard, Red Lodge, Montana, June 2017

Butterfly on Goat's Beard, Red Lodge, Montana, June 2017
Butterfly on Goat's Beard, Red Lodge, Montana, June 2017

Friday, April 4, 2014

Deaf and Dizzy - Fri., Apr. 4

Aging has its pros and cons. Pros include wisdom that comes from experience, years in relationship with one person (or more), depth of insight into family members and how you fit in, lots of adventures, fulfilling work, and moving into retirement.

Cons include a body that rebels even though your mind feels young -- wrinkles appear, boobs droop, midsections expand, memory lessens, diseases show up, and it's harder to get around.

For me, I am disconcerted by my dizziness (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) and being almost deaf in one ear. Come to find out my mom and sister and are almost deaf in one ear. My mom, sister, brother and I all have tinnitus (ringing) in our ears. Either the deafness is hereditary, or we have some kind of virus or bacteria affecting our hearing.

Vertigo is what I hate most. I've had it for six or seven years. It started when we resided in Hawaii. I was on a job interview in a mall restaurant when it hit the first time. I had no idea what was wrong with me. The world was spinning and spinning, making me feel drunk times ten, without having had an alcoholic drink. Walking outside across the mall parking lot took every ounce of concentration to stay upright. I was totally disoriented.

Somehow I drove home. Moving my head an iota in either direction caused waves of nausea and severe spinning. I followed a city bus 20 miles back to our side of the island, concentrating on the back of the bus, doing my best not to look side to side.

A severe case of vertigo leaves me feeling totally depleted. Given the chance, I sleep deeply for 10-12 hours after an episode.

In Hawaii, I was fortunate to be treated by The Balance Center of the Pacific. They discovered I have nystagmus (rapid back-and-forth movement of the eyes that can only be seen with special goggles. The goggles have a camera to take video which can be played back in slow motion.). Vertigo disorientation is caused by the nystagmus and by crystals in the inner ear which float free from their usual nesting place in the ear lining. The Balance Center gave me exercises to do at night before I go to sleep. The exercises help the ear crystals settle back into place. It's confusing, but I think I get it.

So, aging has its pros and cons. These cons are my demons. They're certainly not the worst problems with aging. Thankfully I do not have diabetes, digestion problems, cancer, stroke, heart problems, or myriad other challenges. And that is a pro!

A warm welcome to two new followers:
  1. Susan Arthur writes THREE blogs:  
      I love her personable writing style.

    2. Karen Jones Gowen who writes Coming Down the Mountain: Expat Writer Living  Abroad. Her blog is laced with gorgeous Guatemala photos and stories about her life there.

Travel Bug out.




26 comments:

  1. I have had several short bursts of vertigo, but found an article about it on the Internet. It showed how to sit straight, turn the head 45 degrees and the lie/fall down to a lying position maintaining that head tilt. Sounds really weird and feels just as weird but somehow the little floating whatsits in the inner ear that are causing the problem are rearranged. Works for me.

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    1. The exercise you're doing sounds like The Epley Maneuver, which is what I was taught to do. I'm supposed to do it seven nights straight. Usually I have really good luck with the exercises and can go months without vertigo.

      This time, after my sixth night of exercises, I got violently ill on the 7th day.

      Now I've been vertigo free for a few days. Here's hoping it's gone for another few months.

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  2. You are so so right about aging. The mind and the body part company almost. Your vertigo sounds terrible. I am so sorry.

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    1. Good way to put it, "The mind and the body part company almost."

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  3. Oh no! That doesn't sound good at all. Hopefully, you'll "outgrow" those episodes just like some do allergies. However, not sure the age that one must achieve to outgrow it. Good work on the daily word.

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    1. I can say that the episodes have lessened considerably since I started the exercises a few years ago.

      Thanks for the compliment on my daily words.

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  4. I've also had vertigo, most recently last year. I talked with my doc about it and got armed with information. I'm certain it was the crystals in the inner ear because eventually it went away. Prior to that I suffered from it about 20 years ago and discovered I had a case of Epstein Barr virus (EBV). That took awhile to diagnose. There is no "cure" for EBV but time will send it into dormancy. It took about 6 months.

    Thanks for the shout-out for my blogs! I appreciate that and I look forward to your adventures!

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    1. Yep, I got armed with information too. I'm glad when it stays away, but hate it when I feel an episode coming on. We just gotta do what we gotta do.

      I'm enjoying your blogs as well.

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  5. Hi Susan, thank you for such a warm welcome to your blog! Very interesting D post, and informative about vertigo, although I'm sorry you had to get it to learn about it. When I hear the word vertigo I think of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, never that someone actually suffers from it daily.

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    1. Luckily I no longer suffer from vertigo daily. If I feel an attack coming on, I do my exercises which alleviate the symptoms, sometimes for months.

      Ooooh, I like Alfred Hitchcock. One of a kind filmmaker.

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  6. I feel your frustration. Mine started suddenly several years ago, but was accompanied by violent vomiting. Each episode lasted two hours, or so, but, like you, I was wiped out for a good day after. I finally found a Dr. that prescribed a pill to reduce fluid in the inner ear and (knock on wood) no more episodes. I have lost a lot of hearing, which frustrates my family (Huh?), and during allergy season - now - it gets worse, but does get better.
    When I get down on the sagging, slipping things, I remember when I was about 10 and thought my Grandma was the coolest person ever - I hope my grandkids think that about me. Good luck with your dizzy episodes.

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    1. Mine started suddenly as well about ten years ago and was also accompanied by violent vomiting and diarrhea, usually simultaneously (NOT PLEASANT!). I would also be in the bathroom two hours, usually sweating as well.I am so happy that the exercises help to get rid of it for a few months.

      I've never heard about the pill to reduce fluid in the inner ear. Sounds like that worked well for you.

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  7. I have never had vertigo that I remember, but my Mom had it for a few months after my Dad died. It must be awful, as well as potentially dangerous. Thanks for the insight into a malady that most people really don't understand.

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    1. You're welcome. It is potentially dangerous, especially when driving. A couple of months ago my girlfriend was following me in her car. As I was driving, I suddenly had a severe case of the world spinning. I couldn't see the lines in the road or the curb. I concentrated as hard as I could and saw an entrance to a business park. I was able to pulll off the road and stop for a few minutes to close my eyes. Thankfully, it went away within a minute or two.

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  8. Yup! Sucks to be old, doesn't it??? Oh well, as they say, it's better than the alternative.

    My mom suffered from vertigo for years - she finally went to a neurologist who diagnosed her with the crystals. She spent one session with him - just one - and she never had another episode of dizziness. Amazing what kind of crap is cause by some tiny bits of crystal-stuff in your ear!

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    1. That is amazing about your mom. I wish I knew what the neurologist did!

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  9. Oh goodness that would be disconcerting. I've had a couple dizzy spells over the years and it really does you in. Glad they were able to figure out what was happening! The technological advances are just amazing sometimes!

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    1. Reading all the responses on here, I never knew so many people have had it or knew someone who had.

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  10. Bummer about the vertigo- getting older is not for sissy's.

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  11. My dizzy spells are from alergies and sinus infections. Wish I had exercises to do..or....maybe it is the crystals.

    My body says aging....my mind says CHARGE!.

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    1. "My body says aging....my mind says CHARGE!" You must be a Type A go-getter too!

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  12. Sorry to hear about your vertigo. I worked for a neurologist for years, and one of the things he did for vertigo patients was called cannular repositioning. It sounds like the exercises you were given and the good care at The Balance Center probably are similar in nature. I hear ya with the wrinkles, boobs and midsections! All that said, I still think the pros outweigh the cons. I'll say a little prayer for the rapid resolution for the vertigo.

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    1. Thank you for your concern. The exercises I do are called The Epley Maneuver. They're the kind of exercises described by Erica Gore earlier in the comments section.

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    2. Yep, those are the ones. I'd forgotten the term Epley Maneuver - that's what happens when you retire. Hope it all resolves quickly.

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  13. Vertigo...that sounds awful. I have experienced vertigo a few times because of amusement park rides etc. but having to deal with it in the course of a normal day sounds scary.

    I, too am nearly deaf in one ear. I think mine was caused by chronic swimmer's ear infections as a kid. I hate to be in noisy rooms because my ability to hear what people are saying is impaired by the other noise present in the room.

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