I suffer from a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which is triggered by certain changes in head position, such as tipping the head up to one side or the other. In my case, it’s also triggered if I lie down perfectly flat on my back.
The first time BPPV hit me, I was in my late twenties lying on my back on my waterbed and I suddenly I got very dizzy. I felt like I was on a compact dinghy in the ocean in the middle of a hurricane. Everything felt like it was spinning and before I knew it, I was vomiting into my toilet. Whoa, it was a totally surreal feeling, as I’d been on boats many times before but had never felt seasick.
These episodes of severe vertigo were recurring and I went to see my doctor about them. He referred me to a neurologist, who examined me and said that it was unmistakable that I was suffering from BPPV. He told me not to worry because it’s not so much a serious medical condition as it is an annoyance and it usually can be controlled by avoiding those positions that trigger the vertigo, including lying in the supine position. Still, he sent me to get a head scan in order to rule out any kind of brain tumor.
Fortunately, the scan was negative, and I was happy to not have to have a chunk of my brain removed. But still, when these bouts with vertigo hit me, they were more than just an annoyance. They were disabling to the point that I’d have to get in bed and sleep it off and hope that when I woke up, my vertigo would be gone. And that was the case most of the time.
I have learned to avoid putting my head in positions that bring on vertigo, but sometimes it’s almost unavoidable. Then I read about something called the Epley maneuver. It’s a type of exercise that helps to treat the symptoms of BPPV, and, of course, my interest was immediately piqued.
I called my ENT, the one who operated on my ear to remove a growth in my middle ear a few years back, but I found out that he had retired shortly after doing my surgery. They referred me to one of his associates and I told him that I wanted him to perform the Epley maneuver on me pronto. But he was booked up for the next four months and rebuffed me when I tried to bribe him to see me sooner.
But then I heard that there are videos on YouTube that show you how to do the Epley maneuver by yourself in the comfort of your own home. I persuaded my wife to assist me and we walked through the steps as shown in the YouTube videos.
Almost immediately after step 1, I got very dizzy. I felt like I was on a compact dinghy in the ocean in the middle of a hurricane. Everything felt like it was spinning and before I knew it, I was vomiting into my toilet.
My advice: don’t try this at home. I’ve set up an appointment next week with a different doctor who said he would perform the Epley maneuver on me in his office. Wish me luck!
This mostly factual post, but with a few small embellishments thrown in, was written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (compact), Scott’s Daily Prompt (whoa), My Vivid Blog (unmistakable), Your Daily Word Prompt (supine), Ragtag Daily Prompt (chunk), Word of the Day Challenge (pique), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (pronto), and E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (bribe).