This is not looking good. I was late to work today because showering, dressing, and eating breakfast made me too nauseous to leave the house. Of course I am careful when I move about the house to not trigger the vertigo — I bend at the knees to put the bathmat down or clean the tub drain, I don’t tilt my head to look onto high closet shelves, and I turn my entire body to get things out of the fridge (no twisting and bending from the waist). Still, I couldn’t do my “activities of daily living” this morning without feeling sick. I self-treated and waited for the nausea to subside for heading to work — thankfully that helped.

I had some positional vertigo every day when I was out of town recently, but it wasn’t bad. Sitting for hours on the plane, with my head relatively still, seemed to help. Last weekend at the rock gym I got some vertigo when I tilted my head to the right and looked up at the wall. It’s not ideal to have vertigo while climbing, but at least I was tied in!  I climbed easier routes and avoided overhangs so that I didn’t have to make those head movements.  Then later I quickly glanced up at a route number while threading the rope into my ATC. I totally lost my balance and had to grip onto my wife to avoid falling — and that was the end of my belaying. The belayer has to be rock solid, and I wasn’t. That is too risky. Oddly, during the two days after that, I had mild-to-no vertigo.

Then came the oddest thing. On Wednesday night I had physical therapy for something unrelated. I lay on the table with a heating pad warming up my muscles, looking up at the ceiling tiles — I had a sense that turning my head left or right was a bad idea. At least once I closed my eyes. I may have crossed my ankles. I had been lying there for about five minutes when I suddenly got extremely strong nystagmus. I threw my hands out to grip the side of the table. I called my PT over and he watched, amazed, as a very robust and long-lived nystagmus finally fatigued and stopped. (“If I didn’t know you had vertigo, I would have thought you were possessed,” he said.) I’ve never had it so strong and for so long, and I’ve never had it unprovoked by movement. I was just lying there, and it came out of the blue! My PT had me put my feet flat on the table as I recovered so that the sensory input from the soles of my feet could help me regain my equilibrium.

I was able to get through the PT appointment without looking up or down, but I felt poorly enough that I had to sit in the waiting area for half an hour before driving (slowly, carefully) home. So like I said, this is not looking good.

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