Imagine you are walking back to your office, enjoying the weather and observing the activity around you, when suddenly you find yourself flinging one leg out and firmly planting both feet on the sidewalk as if you were catching yourself while falling. You hold completely still as you process what just happened and how your body moved instinctively to “save” you. You become aware of how odd you must look, frozen there, so you cautiously inch backward until you can grab a stair rail and lean against it. You look around, testing your equilibrium. Everything seems fine, but then, everything seemed fine before, too. You wait. After a few more moments, you begin walking again, slower this time with eyes fixed on the ground. Back safely in your office, you tear up with relief and fear, then wipe your eyes and become a perfectly composed employee for the rest of the afternoon.

This happened to me today as I walked back to my office after my PT appointment. I was walking at my normal (fast) speed and was looking around – I felt fine. I had no feelings of disequilibrium and no inkling that anything was wrong. And then suddenly, out of the blue, I almost fell.

Let me tell you how unsettling this is! I have read about people with Meniere’s disease having “drop attacks,” and while I don’t have Meniere’s, I wonder if this would qualify as a drop attack. I didn’t actually fall to the ground, so I imagine some medical professionals would say that it doesn’t count; however, I do think that if I weren’t young(-ish), physically fit, and in possession of an excellent sense of balance (yoga, rock climbing, slack lining), that I would have fallen. I remember reading about baseball player Nick Esasky who had vertigo that went undiagnosed for months because his physical fitness was superb and he aced all the medical tests.  I’m not a professional athlete, but I do wonder how my youth and fitness may complicate our ability to figure out what is going on.

Advertisements