I spent April dealing with delays and mix-ups before finally getting a referral to see an otoneurologist next week. The self-treatment that my vestibular physcial therapist taught me when I had vertigo four years ago has helped to a point, but I simply can’t get the symptoms to stay away this time around. I’ve had some unusual symptoms that I didn’t have last time, and that is making me suspect that this case is more complicated and that I can’t treat it alone.

This past month I’ve gone swimming a few times with my Training Buddy — I’m staying away from crawl and backstroke. Training Buddy is doing a good job increasing her endurance in preparation for an Olympic distance triathlon, and I am jealous! I went rock climbing a few more times. Usually I would belay only, since climbing would trigger symptoms. One time I got up on the slack line and boy, did that make me feel sick!

Often I get through the day without any symptoms, but every single night I get sickening vertigo when I lie back on my pillow. Every. Single. Night. Makes a girl not want to go to bed! I grit my teeth, lie back, and hang on for the 15 seconds or so that it takes for the nystagmus to fatigue. If I roll over to the right, I have to get through another sickening round of vertigo before rest finally comes and I can relax.

When I do self treatment I follow the recommendations for sleeping up on 2-3 pillows and avoiding lying the “dizzy” (most symptomatic) side. Because my DHP have not been clear on which IS the dizzy(-est) side and because my self treatments aren’t working, I have by now tried every combination of left and right, pillows and no pillows. Nothing seems to fix the problem. I have fewer symptoms sleeping on my left side, but I injured my left shoulder back in January and sometimes it’s too uncomfortable to sleep on that side, anyway!

To make matters worse, my wife sleeps on the right side of the bed, which means that I’ve had my back to her for weeks. I miss spooning her. I am wondering when it is that I should start making changes. When do I switch to the other side of the bed? When do I cancel my yoga series and sign up for Tai Chi instead? When do I throw in the towel and put training wheels on my bike? Every time I think I might be getting better, I experience more symptoms.

The answer: next week I talk to the otoneurologist and get a game plan.

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