As has been alluded to earlier in this space, something happened a couple of weeks ago. I didn't want to write about it right off the bat because not all of the information was in. It still may not be. But I've been OK since the initial event and so here we go.
Last month, I had my first-and hopefully last-attack of severe vertigo. It was about 4 am on a Tuesday. I was standing in my bathroom when all of a sudden the room flipped upside down. I felt as if I had been thrown to the floor. I landed hip and head first. I can attest that my new tile floor is extremely well built.
I tried to get up. I couldn't. Each time I attempted to stand I felt as if I were being pushed down. I laid there in the floor with my eyes closed trying to get the room to quit spinning. I was extremely nauseous and I was sweating through my clothes. Had I sustained a stroke? Was I having a heart attack? I eventually decided that although I had no idea what the hell was going on, I was going to have to make it back to the bedroom because that's where the phone was.
So I got myself up into a pushup position and crawled back to the bed. I pulled myself up and got into the fetal position. I closed my eyes. The nausea abated and I fell asleep.
I woke up when I attempted to roll over and realized that the pillow was stuck to my ear. That's when I realized two things. The spinning had stopped and there was blood everywhere.
I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I had lacerated my left ear. That's when I took the trip to the ER that I wrote about earlier. Both the ER physician-who was kind of an asshole-and my doc-who is not-thought I had Meniere's disease. This was not good news. Meniere's is a syndrome characterized by sudden debilitating attacks of vertigo accompanied by a loud buzzing sensation in the ears. The feeling of being thrown to the floor that I described is called propulsus and is textbook Meniere's. However, I didn't have any of the auditory symptoms. So they sent me to the ENT.
The ENT put me through all kinds of hearing tests and examined both ears and my throat. The good news? He is not willing to call it Meniere's just yet. The bad news is that the official diagnosis for now is " shit happens." He crossed his legs and leaned back on the little stool mustering as much gravitas as one can summon forth while wearing a light on your forehead.
" Look," he said. " This happens a lot more than the general public knows. People are all the time coming in here with vertigo. While it is obvious that they have experienced some sort of vestibular disturbance, typically it is nothing I can find a reason for. Granted your story is a little more dramatic in that you actually got hurt which indicates to me the suddenness of the episode. Sounds like Meniere's.
But your hearing test is too normal for Meniere's. You have a hearing loss consistent with a man your age who has spent a lifetime going to sporting events and listening to music. I can't call it Meniere's. And we have excluded a stroke and any tumors. Now, if you are absolutely terrified of another attack-and I don't blame you if you are-we can do an MRI and a neurological workup. But that is not indicated for a man who is in such good shape as you are and have had only one attack. Waste of money until you have another attack. "
In conclusion he said, "So for right now we'll just call it........." and with that he shrugged his shoulders and put his palms up in the classic "Who knows?" gesture.
I go back for another workup in October unless I have another attack. I am supposed to keep Valium in my briefcase in the event that it happens again. I'm cleared to do my normal activities although they would just as soon I stay off the bike and not climb any ladders until October. Can do.
Since then I have found out that there are more people with vertigo than I knew. The judge's husband called me while I was with the doctor to "welcome" me "to the club." He had an attack that lasted 2 weeks. It went away and never came back. The docs have no idea. One of my best friends has it. I know her like the back of my hand and had no idea until she told me a couple of weeks ago. But then I realized that she has been telecommuting for a couple of years and then it all made sense.
As I told the man who called me, I do not wish to be in this club. He said that, like the Army, some clubs are harder to get out of than others. And maybe I am not yet admitted. So far so good. I am playing golf, working out and running. Haven't experienced another attack. Like the docs said, as we grow older stuff happens. I can accept that. But I find it passing strange that a healthy person can knock himself into next month for no reason other than "stuff happens."
We shall see what we shall see. But that's what happened last month.