Waking up to my worst possible nightmare and having it become my real, everyday life experiences.

I never thought I'd take walking for granted.

Age: 83

Diagnosis: Vestibular Neuritis

April 11th, 2020 was like any other in my life at 81. I had lived alone in my home since my wife died 6 years earlier. That day, a Saturday before Easter Sunday, I had been working in my back yard raking leaves that had accumulated at the bottom of a fence line. It was a bright, sunny, warm day here in South Carolina. My raking required me to rake the leaves away from the fence clear along the fence line, leaving a nice, neat row of leaves to have to pick up and bag. I had finished raking the leaves away and had started bending down to scoop them up and put them in a container. A couple of times a feeling of tiredness came over me and I had to rest against my fence for a spell; then I’d continue. After a couple of hours, the job was done: it was about 4:00 pm. I went into the house, got a couple of bottles of water and a cigar and settled in on my front porch swing to enjoy the county scenery that surrounds my home. Later, I came in, prepared supper, watched TV for a spell and went to bed: all was completely normal. I enjoyed a good night’s sleep.

I woke up around 8:00 am. As I usually do, I lay there for a while thinking about my coming day. Today would be special, I remember thinking: it was Easter Sunday. I raised my body and swung my legs and feet toward the floor. That was to be my last normal thought or feeling. As I started to raise up, I fell to the floor while the world around me twisted as if some violent tornado had found it’s way into my bedroom. I remember being puzzled at what was going on. I tried to lift myself up again only to fall backwards to the floor. Maybe if could get into the kitchen, move around some, I’d be okay, I thought. So, I crawled there on my hands and knees. It was no good. I tried to raise myself on a dining room chair but couldn’t; I fell to the floor. Now I was feeling sick. I managed to crawl back to my bedroom where I got the phone and call my good friend down the street.

He dropped everything and come to my house. My friend had a key. He arrived and let himself in and immediately came back to find me in a heap on the floor, throwing up. My buddy called 911 having no idea what was going on. I remember stabilizing in the ambulance. The vomiting had stopped and I remember talking to the crew. I was admitted to the hospital with an initial diagnosis of Vertigo.

Later that afternoon, a Neurologist came by and did a thing with shining a light back and forth into my eyes. “You don’t have Vertigo,” he said, “you’ve got a virus.” That was it, a virus in my Vestibular System. After a 3 day hospital stay, I had 6 weeks of Physical Therapy, which did help. After 3 months, I got worse. My doctor sent me to a Vestibular Specialist where I underwent a whole day of testing. This doctor confirmed that I did indeed have a virus that had found its way into my head. That’s how it all started. Today, nearly 2 years later, I’m trying to find a reason for living. I do the eye exercises, I stay as busy as my muscles can withstand me, and I am a total mess! When I walk, the world in front of me is bouncing like rubber ball, and my brain is in a total fog. For awhile, it seemed as if I’d have good days; I mean, I could walk and do stuff, then a bad day. Today there are no good days. My brother came to live with me and help me and I’d be lost without him; but my life, it all gone anymore and now there are more days I ask God to take me than not. I asked the Specialist to please do the surgery and remove the left side problem area, but he refuses saying my case is not bad enough. My God, I’m 83 years old! I would like to have some good years left till I die, but no. I just say: Lord, come quickly.