Jays story

Diagnosis: Vestibular Neuritis

My story began on February 28, 2021. After a nice dinner out with my wife and daughter we returned home. Once we got home I sat on the couch and started to watch TV not long after that my wife says that I fell asleep on the couch. The time was about 9:30 PM. Next thing I knew I was awoken feeling and uncomfortable and shortly after that realizing that I was in my bathtub not knowing how I have gotten there or why I was in there. Feeling very confused but not dizzy I climbed out of the tub wondering how I had gotten there and how it was possible that I did not remember getting from the couch into the bathroom. Realizing my wife and daughter had gone to bed and that it was 1 o’clock in the morning now I managed to clean myself up and go to bed. In the morning when I woke I explained to my wife what had happened the night before. Although it seems strange at the time, I felt good in the morning so we got up and made breakfast. Minutes after eating my breakfast all of a sudden my vision started to get blurry and things quickly get worse from there. With every moment I seem to get more and more dizzy and shortly after that I realized that I was starting to get nauseous. The next 13 hours were some of the worst that I have gone through. Literally could not stand or walk or maneuver my way around the house the only thing that kept us from being at the emergency room was the fact that I knew I couldn’t make it. Even turning my head in bed was enough to make me vomit. I eventually threw up so many times that there was really nothing left. I promised my wife that in the morning if I still felt this way no matter what we were going to the emergency room. I finally managed to fall asleep. When I woke I noticed that I wasn’t as bad off as I was the day before but I still felt very strange. Sort of like I spent the previous day on the teacup ride at the fair. We decided to reach out to my doctor to see what was going on. My doctor thought that I was experiencing vertigo and referred me to a physical therapist for help. At that point, we had made an appointment but the earliest we could get what’s the following Monday. After two days I started to feel what I thought to be better. Although I did not feel 100% I decided to try to go back to work. This ended up being a huge mistake for halfway through the day the dizziness came back and I needed to be driven home and carried into my house. At this point, I was feeling really nervous and wondering if this was something that was very serious. I reached out to my doctor again who told me once again to go to the physical therapist it’s vertigo. Not wanting to wait until the following Monday, on the referral of the friend, I reached out to another physical therapist. This one luckily specialized in vestibular therapy. After a series of tests, she was sure that it was not vertigo but I showed signs of vestibular neuritis in my left ear. I was relieved not to have a brain tumor, which I had convinced myself I had. I took the next two weeks off and really didn’t do much other than the exercises recommended by the physical therapist. I had slowly started to feel better but still not 100%. I was still feeling quite strange and somehow different than I did before. Once again I decided it was time to get back to work but after about a week I realized that I didn’t have the capacity I had before at work, and I was struggling to get through things that were easy before. Then I noticed that my hands would constantly shake. The anxiety that followed was the worst symptom yet. Not fully understanding what I was going through I realized I was having anxiety attacks in places like the mall or the grocery store. Being someone that had no real history with anxiety attacks, this was something that was completely new to me. Even though I had been warned by my physical therapist that anxiety is a side effect of vestibular neuritis, I somehow thought that it wouldn’t affect me. When it did it brought a pretty tough time for me. Along with the anxiety came some serious brain fog. Often forgetting names and just not being able to function at the level that I was used to prior. The strangest to me of all side effects was the feeling of displacement. The feeling that I was actually outside of my own body. If I laid in my bed sometimes I felt like I was hovering above my body. Real weird stuff! After all that it has been seven weeks now. I have made significant recoveries both in my balance and with the anxiety. The recoveries of my balance due to physical therapy and the reduced anxiety due to me reaching out to a therapist and psychiatrist has helped me through. From what I’ve seen online I’ve been very lucky to be diagnosed so soon, but still, after seven weeks, I am not 100%. My VOR vestibular optical reflex is still lagging on the left side. Hoping to be back to 100% soon but learning that the brain will take as much time as it wants no matter how hard I try.