An Epic of Dizziness (Part 3)

Journal entry  from July 27, 2011:

 I’m feeling a little better tonight. I’m more alert and present.  My focus and cognitive functioning seems better.  It’s almost like a cloud has lifted and the brain fog I was feeling is gone. I didn’t feel any movement when laying down to go to sleep last night, which was great.  Reading and using the computer is easier too.  I hate having to sleep on the couch, but for some reason I feel much more secure there.  I can prop my head up on the big  pillows and tuck myself into the corner.  I’m much less likely to roll over or fall off the couch this way.  Our bed seems so high up.  What if I fell off at night?  As much as I dislike sleeping on the couch, for now it will have to do.   

My appointment with the physical therapist was moved up by a week due to my persistent calling.  A one week wait didn’t seem so bad. It’s certainly better than two weeks!  Since I was feeling a bit better, I used some of my time to research the different causes of dizziness.  I found a great website with a forum called dizzytimes.com.  What I read on the site comforted me, yet terrified me at the same time.  I watched a video posted on the site about a girl and she shared her personal ordeal with Labyrinthitis, or Labs, as it is called for short. I sat and wept while watching it.  As bad as I felt, my experience seemed to pale in comparison to hers. I cried tears not only for her, but for myself as I wondered what I might possibly face in the future. Would my symptoms get worse?  I was learning a lot reading the message boards and saw that there were many things that could cause dizziness.  All the symptoms were like pieces of a puzzle that I was trying to solve.  I was playing doctor, yet I was the patient.  As I read the stories of others suffering from dizziness and correlating symptoms, I thought of the statement, “God will never give you more than you can bear”.  I struggled with that thought, I still believed it, yet a sliver of doubt began to taunt my mind. I thought of Jesus as He bore death on the cross and the agony He endured.  If you’ve ever.seen the movie “The Passion of The Christ,” you know what sort of torture Christ went through to redeem us.  I thought of people who had suffered some really bad  and unexplainable things- things that don’t seem fair or right. A scripture (2 Corinthians 12:9) comforted me: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”.  I asked myself  “What is God asking me to bear”? “What is the purpose of this “? I knew that this was testing my level of trust in God and also my faith in who He says He is, and all that He promises to those that are believers in His word. I’d either trust Him or I wouldn’t; this is where the rubber was meeting the road.

The next few days were a mixture of good and bad.  There were times I felt like I was being pulled towards my right side, as if a weight or magnet were pulling me over.  I never fell, nor was it noticeable to others, yet I felt it internally. Sometimes when I would be on the computer the computer and desk would be moving forward and backwards and my eyes would hardly be able to focus.  I’d have to turn it off.  I went walking quite often not only for exercise, but to keep my spirits up, most of the time it felt like I was swaying when I walked, yet I had a normal gait to anyone that would have observed me. If I stood still and closed my eyes I would feel a backwards pull.  I didn’t do that very often!  I’d also noticed something new, a feeling of fullness mostly in my right ear and occasionally in my left. It felt plugged up.  This feeling would come and go.

I didn’t really go many places for a few days, I was almost becoming housebound.  The fear of what would happen out in public stayed in my mind.  I’d read about so many horror stories that I didn’t know what to think at this time.  I did decide I wanted to go to church.  I wasn’t going to let fear and the devil keep me from going; besides, I really needed to hear God’s word.  His promises became something I clung to even more so than ever before.  Unfortunately, my experience at church wasn’t good.  Everything felt different.  It was like a strange place to me, a place I’d never been or one that had morphed into something different. My perception of my surroundings were so changed the sights,sounds, lighting, everything that usually brought such happiness, joy and peace were making me very uncomfortable.  Of course, it wasn’t my church that made me feel this way, it was the BPPV or whatever I had that caused me to feel this way!  I’m usually in choir, but I was certainly not ready  to be up in front of hundreds of people at this point.  Our family decided to sit near the back.  I needed to be by a door in case I had to make a quick exit.  What if I had a huge spinning attack and fell on the floor and vomited in front of the whole congregation?  How embarrassing would that be!  Our sanctuary is laid out like a lot of churches.  The floor slightly angles down to where the platform or alter is.  I could now feel that slight angle much more magnified.  I felt as if I were leaning forward, and as my eyes scanned across the assembly of people it was overwhelming to my senses.  Strangely, when we stood up to sing our praises to the Lord I felt somewhat better.  When it was time for our Pastor to preach I had a hard time focusing on him.  He looked blurry, it was like I needed glasses, and I felt mental fatigue and brain fog set in. My hands were clammy and I grasped the pew trying to hold myself together.  My anxiety level was at a 10!.  Having read the message boards on Dizzytimes.com I learned that with dizzy disorders anxiety is one of the symptoms that often accompany those suffering with dizziness. Having made it through the service, my family and I slipped out the back door quickly so as not to have to talk to anyone.  People were praying for me, that I knew, but I just couldn’t talk to anyone at this time.  I  wanted to get home.  At least there I didn’t have such severe symptoms, and who doesn’t want to be home when your sick? There’s nothing like having your own bathroom for those types of emergencies. 

When I got home my anxiety level went from a 10 to a 6.  I wondered if I’d ever be able to get back to choir.  Singing is my passion and singing for the Lord is an absolute joy to me.  I wondered if I’d feel the peace and joy that I’d always felt at church before, instead of anxiety and sensory overload that I was experiencing.  I was pretty depressed the next day.  My life was like a seesaw.  You probably remember them being in neighborhood parks.  Basically a seesaw is a plank where each end would seat a child and you would take turns pushing off the ground to raise the other side up.  It was always so much fun!  You go up and down, up and down.  That’s how the each day and even each moment of each day was for me.  I was up when my symptoms weren’t too bad and down when they were.  Part of the problem was the pattern of this illness. Every time I’d been sick before healing would follow a general course. I’d  get sick and gradually the symptoms would reach a peak and then finally fade away.  Case closed!  I couldn’t understand why I’d feel better and have times of almost feeling normal for a few hours or a day only to feel completely different later.  Wrapping my mind around it was almost impossible.  

I went ahead and rescheduled my appointment with an Orthopedic Doctor in the meantime so that I could have my arm and shoulder checked.  I was having limited mobility. I could barely reach back past my hip and raising my arm to reach things on upper shelves wasn’t quite like it had been.  I had to stand on my tippy toes to get stuff and not because I’m short. So I waited for two different Doctors appointments.  Had I prayed for patience or perseverance?  Maybe they are the same? 



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An Epic of Dizziness (Part 3) by Melissa Jo Elliott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

An Epic of Dizziness ( Part 1)

   

Everything was going well in my life.  Nothing new, but just the same old day in day out chores and responsibilities that we all have.  Actually, a little boredom had set in.  I would soon long for a normal routine day.

                                                                                                                                                                          Vertigo

July 16, 2011 was going to be a day in my life history that I would never forget.  I awoke suddenly about 3:30 that morning.  Something felt wrong.  I just didn’t feel good.  Being I was still groggy my brain wasn’t all the way awake.  You know the feeling of being in and out of dream land and reality? It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was feeling a spinning sensation.  It felt as if the room were spinning as I lay there on my back.  I waited for the feeling to pass.  It didn’t last long (maybe 2 or 3 minutes)- however, it felt like an eternity.  It was if I were laying still, yet the room was spinning around me. Starting to panic I nudged my husband awake.  “Honey, something’s wrong,” I said.  ” I don’t feel well, I’m dizzy”.  He was half asleep and said ” just sit up”.  I told him I was afraid to sit up.  I was shaking and the palms of my hands and my whole chest were covered in sweat.  Finally, I slowly rolled over onto my left side.  I was still feeling funny, but the room wasn’t spinning.  I finally worked up the nerve to sit up on the edge of the bed.  As soon as I did, It felt as if something was pulling me down, a force of gravity so strong I had no control over it. The force of being pushed, yet it was a pull downward onto the bed.  I was near tears.  It took another 15 or 20 minutes before I attempted to get up.  By then my husband was up and had turned on a small light in the adjoining master bath.  I was able to sit up and take a few steps to the bathroom.  I was so shaky and I couldn’t stop shaking.  I felt nauseous, but didn’t vomit.  I was praying, but all I could say was “Lord Help Me”.  I couldn’t come up with anything else.  The fear in my heart was so intense.  Even as I write this it is so hard to explain; unless you’ve ever had dizziness or vertigo like this before, it’s probably hard to understand how it feels.  I thought it must be something bad.  The only thing that kept me from going to the ER was the big bill we had just finished paying off to our local hospital.  I figured unless  I knew I was dying I wouldn’t go. The thoughts of stroke and tumor entered my mind.  My husband tried to get me to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t. I still felt sick and I was too scared.  I was scared to lay back down on my back because that’s how I was laying when the room was spinning.  So I stayed awake.  We made an early appointment to visit the Centra Care Clinic, making sure to take barf bags just in case. Nothing worse than getting sick on the road.  I was so tired and thought that was why I felt so spaced out.  It was like a cloud of fog was covering my brain.  I couldn’t concentrate.  I figured fear and anxiety were the culprit.  I’m sure that was part of the problem. but not all of it, as I would later find out.

I walked into the clinic looking and feeling like a Zombie.  I was never so happy to be at a doctor’s office in all my life.  I felt more secure.  At least trained medical professionals were around.  I noted that they could do an EKG and stuff like that.  I figured it was the next best thing to the ER.  I had to read a bunch of forms and sign my name.  I could hardly read.  I could make out the words, but it was so hard to read.  It felt like the lines were kinda moving and blurring.  My eyes were messed up somehow.  “Lord, help me sign my name,” I said to myself.  While waiting in the waiting room I felt an odd sensation as I looked across the room to the other side where chairs were lined up along the wall.  It felt as if the chairs were pulling towards me.  We waited for what seemed like forever for the doctor to call us in.  My blood pressure was about 20-30 points higher than normal.  “Do you usually have blood pressure that high”?  The medical assistant said.  “No, it’s usually really low.  Lower than what’s on the machines at the grocery stores.”  I was so scared, but the whole time I was so stoic.  I’ve always been one that could control my emotions during physical distress.  Heck, I gave birth without any pain medication, not even an aspirin.  I didn’t yell or cry out.  I moaned, but that’s not bad considering the pain of child-birth..  Playing the tough girl in the face of adversity: that’s me!  As this epic unfolds I would later cry rivers of tears, but for now I was just too scared.
Creative Commons License
An Epic of Dizziness (Part 1) by Melissa Jo Elliott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.