After I get my hair cut, my habit is to bend over in the parking lot outside the salon and rub my hair so all the little cut pieces fall to the asphalt. Now that our hairdresser comes to our house, I do the same thing over the bathtub or in the front yard. This past week after our hair cuts, I saw that my wife was about to vacuum the hair off of the bathroom floor, so I quickly bent forward to brush my hair bits onto the tile and into the path of the vacuum. Bam! Vertigo. I bounced back upright immediately and suffered no further ill effects, but I demonstrated to myself that the BPPV is still there. In my haste to beat the vacuum cleaner, I moved with greater velocity than usual, and I ended up with my head pointed straight down–a position I assiduously avoid. The symptoms, though brief, were the strong spinning sensations that I would describe as typical BPPV. This was a good reminder that I make mistakes when I rush. Body movements and habits learned over my lifetime will come to the fore when I am distracted or hurried, and I can end up in a position that triggers vertigo.

Other than that, the only other time I have had positional vertigo lately was in the doctor’s office in late January. I’d been symptom-free for a few weeks at that point, but I was concerned that his tests might trigger the vertigo. When he put me back into Dix-Hallpike I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t been in that position for a month. Nothing on the left, but on the right: bingo – nystagmus. I believe my eyes reversed after I sat up, which hardly happens at home but which correlates to the doctor’s description of “classic BPPV.” It took at least a minute for my eyes to stop “scrolling” after I sat upright, and after a time he did it again with the same results (although the scrolling was a bit shorter-lived the second time). I felt nauseous after that and sat still and quiet for many minutes before the feelings subsided and I could relax and re-engage. The doctor took that opportunity to review my MRI, which shed no light on my problems. I definitely have damage in my inner ear (vestibular testing showed that) and maybe also BPPV on top of that, some or all of the time this past year. It’s hard to know since the inner ear hypofunction can mimic BPPV, I’m told (but I don’t really understand). Anyway, the symptoms are getting better now, after 11 months. I like to think they are going away for good, but I am aware that they will likely come back over the years; I sincerely hope the frequency is never “over the months.”

Within the past few days I have noticed improvements that I’d like to share with you. Back in December, I lost my balance when my scarf blew over my face and covered one of my eyes. I also had trouble maintaining my balance when looking over my shoulder while rolling a suitcase through an airport. This past week I was rolling a suitcase along the sidewalk for a friend and looked over my shoulder with no trouble! In fact, at the time I didn’t even realize what I had done and had absolutely no sense of danger or caution. Then as I walked, my scarf blew over my right eye several times. This made me nervous; I was talking to a work colleague, and I was concerned that I might loose my balance in front of her. My hands were full and I couldn’t adjust the scarf, so I just kept walking and stayed alert. No symptoms; no problems. Hooray! Still hoping this is the End of Vertigo for me.

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