Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Main Course - Vertigo/With a Side of Imbalance

Definition of Vertigo
Vertigo: Aside from being the name of a classic 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film (with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak), vertigo is a feeling that you are dizzily turning around or that things are dizzily turning about you. Vertigo is usually due to a problem with the inner ear. Vertigo can also be caused by vision problems.
The word "vertigo" comes from the Latin "vertere", to turn + the suffix "-igo", a condition = a condition of turning about). Vertigo is medically distinct from dizziness, lightheadedness, and unsteadiness. See: Dizziness, Lightheadedness, and Unsteadiness.

It has been 4 days now awakening with the dreaded vertigo. First I open my eyes and then I turn my head and whoa, someone stop this merry-go-round. With perfect stillness the ride stops and lets me off and I attempt to raise my head carefully off the pillow, hoping to make it to the sitting position when gravity grabs my head and drops it like a rock back to the pillow. Eventually with as little movement of my head as possible I make it to the edge of the bed where I sit hoping for a successful attempt to the upright position. Some days I get lucky and make it on the first try but others not so lucky. This is so annoying.

A precursor to this wonderful phenomenon for me is a weird sensation in my left ear. Strange thing is years prior to my MS diagnosis I had frequent bouts of vertigo which were always thought to be "inner ear infections."

Tips I try to remember during these periods: don't stoop to pull weeds in lily bed or hubby may come home and find me face down among the lilies; when assistance is needed, ask for it; assistance when getting up during the night is best to prevent episode of imbalance and falling backwards into hard objects. This happened last night and my left shoulder blade has the bruise to prove it. Yikes.

I know, this too shall pass. Hopefully it is sooner than later.