In the early-mid 1990s, I was told it’d be my change-of-life time – but I’d just gotten my BA and was trying out part-time positions that interested me, mostly in schools. Yet at a stop sign, the car next to me seemed going backward. Before long the walls, floor, and ceiling would trade places so’s I couldn’t stand. When I first looked up vertigo on some type of computer, the only one available in ’94 was at the PEA library. Local neurologists suggested meclizine, then the time-release patch. The patch helped if timed carefully so I could drive. My daughter’s DC arranged an ultra-sound: packed gallbladder, but my DO-PCP said many lived with that.
A friend insisted I take a simple course: realizing I was losing my sense of Abundance, I selected the Abundance Workshop for 3 eves, once a week. I used that ploy throughout my vertigo decade – creating new affirmations every month, copying or reciting them twice every day. My disorder evolved so’s I could no longer teach. One at a time, I gave up on daily activities, and neighbors had their young children check on me. “Want us to get mama, Vicky?” if I was on the floor. I learned to stagger places to hold onto across the house, aiming for the sewing machine near the bathroom. If I left a project -always small- in process, it was easier to continue a bit and I learned color combos + patchwork.
One friend gave me a phone headset, another encouraged me to see doctors in Boston, which took 3 months. I did get to the MEEI laryngologist who was familiar with my issues and gave me the HallPike maneuver and thorough vestibular testing. Unfortunately, my reaction confirming BPPD came after a delay, and in a chair with moveable arms (never again!) – my spontaneous response woke up everyone in the waiting room. Potential causes: head injury of varied types. But also, a lot of infection in the system could cause it. In my case, it seems that could have been it because I haven’t had the whirling nystagmus since I had gallbladder surgery.
The MD gave me videotapes of the nystagmus during the HallPike, for proof. But the vertigo would return and return despite adaptive physical therapy and repetitive HallPike maneuvers until living in a lawn chair for over a week. When referred to a physiatrist, new Matthew Thorton Ins. said no, so I was passed onto a homeopath, then a research endocrinologist ~ who stuck with me for a few years and tolerated my inconsistencies.
I’d left the MEEI otolaryngologist with a pillow-sham I’d made to visualize my vertigo experience – which his waiting room covered their eyes at. He encouraged others to create similarly, so their families could gain a sense of their condition. With those attempts, I sewed more and started doing infrequent craft fairs – those where someone could sit in for me, and where I’d always have the same placement, same neighbors: trial and error. I learned that focus is helpful for vertigo, positive reinforcement.
When I went -embarrassed- into nystagmus following an adjustment on a specialist-DC’s table, he tried pulling my fingers! That stimulation stopped it, and I took the tool as squeezing-my-fist to halt the continuous spurts, giving me some control of my time.
Eventually, I had a massive choli attack, bringing me to the hospital. I was sent home as claustrophobic, but with a return appt – The ultrasound showed gallbladder attack. Fortunately, I recognized a name on the options, who took me on for surgery, plus a liver biopsy after my septic condition lessoned via intravenous help. They found a previously opened gallbladder (exploded), which left scarring here, there, everywhere (kept the notes), hemosiderosis (no wonder I’d i.d.ed with PBS sickle cell shorts), fatty liver, etc. It took a while for my left side to deflate to cf the right – it’s still oversize but my right side is notably weaker. I try various approaches to improve my health, currently on the SUJA suggestions, varied for my needs.
I’ve been a school sub for 15 years, though the dept knows I won’t take consecutive days (winds me up too much, must have downtime being still). My BA nudged me to a summer nature/craft camp for 6 yrs. and I now hope to offer workshops down that line. I present one yearly at the Children’s Museum in this area, now with a copyright thanks to the unh law school, who look for projects for their interns! My school dept kindly gave me unemployment during the pandemic, the highest salary I’ve had, now again gone – but that’d suggested, if I had funding, I could make an art/craft center of my home+barn.
In general, I have only infrequent unsteady times now. As I no longer have access to vertigoheel, I explored and now carry low dose Ginkgo Biloba 1x, which works. To take the vaccine, I took a naturopath’s suggestion of taking an herb before & after each dose. My only reaction was to very thoroughly sleep the next day. I’ve inevitably left bits and pieces out here of course. I live on a very low income best I can and at times am not good at keeping my space as I wish – I may not even notice right then. Sometimes some family and those who were my friends pass me by, but they haven’t walked in my shoes – and I hope they never have to ~