Videonystagmography Fun

It’s been over a month since I first went into the after-hours clinic it see what was wrong with me and my lack of balance.  In that time, I’ve seen several doctors, had my blood-work done twice, had a hearing test, and another shot at the Epley maneuver with three days of not being able to recline or lean over afterwards.  It continued to get worse and more tests were scheduled (most likely expensive ones–can’t wait to get those bills).

So I went in this morning for a videonystagmography, where they use infrared googles to monitor eye movements while you do all kinds of stuff.

Here’s all the info you could ever want about videonystagmography – what it is and what it tests.

The first few tests seemed to go fine, not that I could really tell, but when we got to the caloric reflex test – it all went to shit.  It didn’t help that there was a math quiz in the middle of it either.  My appointment with the Doctor to go over the results was rescheduled for tomorrow, so I have plenty of time to worry about what it all means.  I even made the mistake of looking up information on what the videonystagmography test was for after work today and managed to freak myself out even more.  This is why I try to avoid looking up any medical info on the internet before talking to the doctor.

On top of all of this, I applied for a promotion at work and we’re supposed to find out who and how many of us are moving up over the next few days, AND I’m temporarily working on a project with a looming deadline that requires all my brain cells.  Let’s see how much more stress I can take.

Fuck Epley and fuck BPPV

It got about 50 percent better last week before all going to shit yesterday morning.  I can’t walk without holding on to walls, can’t drive, can’t think straight (although that might be because my brain is too busy trying to keep me upright), and I keep breaking down in tears (sometimes over small stupid stuff – twice before work even started on Saturday).  Last night I couldn’t stop crying after falling down and ended up having a panic attack.

I have tried repeated Epley manuvers, variations of the manuver, and nothing is working at all anymore.  Remember that awful Super Mario Brothers movie?  That’s how I feel.  Like I’m devolving into a shambling wreck, but without all the special effects.

Back to the doctor on Monday.


During the cake show I started having problems with my balance.  There had been occasional dizzy spells during the previous month, but it was getting worse.  This week it got to the point I was having trouble with stairs and driving (which isn’t good because we pick up my new car next week).

I finally caved in and went into the regional clinic to find out what was going on.  Turns out it’s a combination of several things:  benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and an ear infection, which is mostly in the same ear where the BPPV is centered. They also had me schedule a blood draw on Thursday to make sure there weren’t any issues with my thyroid as well (I’ll meet with the doctor next Thursday).

If you don’t know what BPPV is–and I certainly hadn’t heard of it–NPR has an excellent explanation and graphic (even though they refer to them as ‘ear rocks’).

(Click here for the link)

Luckily there is a treatment called the Epley maneuver that is usually successful.  Locating a version of this that works was a bit tricky though.  There are some versions that say to do each move for 30 seconds and do not repeat, others that spend 5 minutes on each move and repeat three times, and a few that state you should only do it under a doctor’s supervision (I was told to go home and repeat as often as necessary).  I tried them all until I found one that seemed to work for me last night, but for some reason it got worse again today after I got to work.  Did a little reading and discovered the steroid they gave me for the ear infection also causes dizziness, which explains why it’s always worse after taking it.  Oh well, only two more days of the steroid anyway.

So that’s it.  I’m not going nuts like I thought I was, and there’s no mysterious brain tumor (yes, I was actually worried about that).  In fact, knowing that it’s treatable makes a huge difference in my attitude.  Now I just need to get the concentration problem sorted out.

The funny thing is that now I can tell people I have rocks in my head.