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Sympathy for the Dizzy
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jducoeur
They say that to understand somebody, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. This time around, a mile would be challenging, but I don't really need that far.

Wednesday morning, I got hit by a vertigo attack -- quite suddenly, while brushing my teeth. That's nothing new: I believe this is my third time around on this particular guitar, and while it's annoying and inconvenient, it's not especially earth-shaking. It cost me some spoons, but I got through a fairly productive day, only crashing when I was done with work.

Yesterday morning, though, I woke up and it was ten times worse than I've ever had it before. Sitting upright was work, standing took real effort, and walking was a slow and careful process. (I mentally pegged it as Davey-grade vertigo.) The dizziness was bad enough that I couldn't even keep food down, suffering two bouts of vomiting before 9am. That got me down to the doctor's office. The conclusion was that, no, this isn't anything different, just a much worse version of the same thing.

(Sidebar: conventional vertigo is caused by, essentially, a bit of schmutz floating loose in your inner ear. Between that and the kidney stone, I'm concluding that all of my ailments are caused by grains of sand in the wrong places.)

Anyway, she prescribed meclizine, which I gather is basically a more modern version of dramamine, and that underscores that, in a fair sense, what I have here is persistent motion sickness. I've never really grokked motion sickness -- having grown up in my father's little four-seater plane, I got trained to deal with *serious* motion quite early, so while I've known it was a thing, I've never really understood incapacitating dizziness. Yesterday, I got to experience it; not a pleasant experience.

It's easing a *bit* today -- say, only four times worse than it's ever been before -- and between that and the meclizine I'm at least semi-functional, if moving very slowly and carefully. But it's taking its own sweet time to pass, so folks should note that my plans for the weekend are now highly in doubt. I'll regret missing Falling Leaves, but unless I feel a *lot* better by tomorrow morning, it's not going to happen...
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I'm now a measure of vertigo? Eep. Sorry yours is increasing. Meclizine worked for me for several years, I hope it gets more effective for you. The next step my ENT doctor recommended was reducing sodium and caffeine intakes, since fluid balance can be affected by those, and that also helped for a while.

There are multiple potential causes, and treatment options for some of them. (I think I've mentioned that I actually had two different kinds of vertigo, yes? One of which was repaired by the surgery; the other can't be because it's on the same side and another surgery isn't recommended. And a girlfriend's vertigo had a completely different cause from either of mine, for which a fluid shunt has been an effective treatment.) If yours doesn't throttle back in frequency or intensity, it's time for a referral to figure out which of the possibles is the actual cause, and then consider your options.

Well, hopefully it is the routine form the doctor expects, and will go away on its own decently soon. Three times in two years isn't enough to worry me *too* much, but this is the first time I've been effectively incapacitated by it. If it ramps up, I'll chat with you about more details -- thanks...

Meclizine is actually available (and cheaper) OTC under the trade names of non-drowsy Dramamine and Bonine, just in cas you find yourself in need of more at an inconvenient hour.

Ah -- *very* useful to know; I hadn't realized it was available OTC. Thanks!

Bonine is chewable but lower-dose than the usual Rx.


Hmm -- not necessarily a problem. My doctor was very clear that, although the pill is 25mg, she recommends a half pill when possible. In practice, I'm finding that I agree -- the full pill doesn't seem to do much save make me a bit sleepier. Do you know what the Bonine dosage is?

... 25mg. Eliz's Rx is for 50mg.

I did this round exactly one time - at a conference out of town. It was horrid.

Feel better!

I get positonal vertigo too, and I feel for you. I always tell people that the rocks in my head got loose again.

Heh -- yeah, not a bad way of describing it...

I understand this all too well, alas--usually my vertigo issues are fairly transient, but I've had several episodes that involved me being bed/house-bound for a few days on meclizine, so I can definitely empathize. I ended up going through a whole round of testing at MEEI to see if they could figure out a cause, and after all kinds of fun and games (including the spinning chair), the best they could come up was that perhaps I was an atypical migraineur who got dizzy spells instead of headaches, or that maybe it was just benign positional vertigo ramped up a few degrees. *sigh* Here's hoping you're feeling much better very soon, OK?

Thanks. Seems to be gradually improving, although it's a bit hard to say whether it's actual improvement, the effect of the meclizine, or simply getting used to it. But I do seem to be getting more able to walk -- Kate and I are going to try the mile to the supermarket and back later this afternoon. (Which I'm taking as a dry run to see if it's plausible for me to get to my commitment downtown tomorrow...)

Yikes! I'm sorry to hear about this.

Thanks; this is why I was a bit less with-it than I might have wished on Sunday...

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