Monday, July 14, 2008

Don't Say Dizzy

On June 1st I started a new life, one in which I can't take balance for granted. It has so far been a very humbling experience to not be entirely sure of my ability to stay upright, nor my ability to navigate through the health care maze.

About 4 or 5 days after the first day of feeling occasionally like I would tip over I realized I probably should do something about it. A quick search showed that there are about ten zillion causes of dizziness. I immediately thought about allergies. It turns out I have allergies to cover all the seasons, and now some new drugs. Sadly enough, I am not allergic to the cats. It would have been such a fine excuse to find a new home for them.

The dizziness continued. Off to the doctor who then sent me to the audiologist. And then I found a physical therapist, but one who didn't believe that the audiology report was accurate, and who asked me to please not say "dizzy" when describing how I feel. Fair enough, it can mean many things. I feel like I'm on a boat making a rough docking, I am water swirling and tipping in a glass held by a drunk, I am mostly but not entirely sure I can sit in the chair without falling out of it. I returned to the audiologist, who did more tests and recommended another physical therapist. Treatments so far have been ineffective. Another month later and I was able to get an appointment at a dizziness clinic at the local university. Then three weeks later I was able to get the tests to determine if inner ear was to blame, another week and I found out that my inner ears are working normally. And now I am waiting for an appointment in the headaches clinic to find out if I am one of the rare people who gets migraines that cause dizziness but no headache.

I think of myself as moderately patient. On the days I'm not much dizzy I think it isn't so bad that it has taken more than 6 months to get to this point in finding out what is wrong. On the bad days, it seems like craziness that so little has happened. Much of this trip has been comprised of waiting. Waiting to see if something works, waiting to get an appointment, waiting to get results. This is in all likelihood incredibly boring to read about, and yet it is a much condensed snippet of my dizzy explorations.

I'd heard, as so many of us have, that the ear was important to balance. And now I know a little something of the mechanics of that process. It is amazing how our bodies work, so complicated and simultaneously elegant. I'm stunned at how much can be determined of the ears' functions by looking at the eyes, and it is even more preposterous to me that some dizziness can be cured by tilting the head in one direction and then the other ever-so-slowly.

So far no one has suggested something more dire at the base, like MS or a brain tumor. In the quiet of the night I still, sometimes, feel this is a transient state.

Surely I'll post some of my finished knitting with the next post, and maybe some pictures too.