Lately I’ve been having a lot of difficulty with dizzy spells. Sometimes these spells only last a moment – the kind you get when you stand up too quickly and the blood rushes everywhere but your brain – while others last for hours.
I can’t even remember how long I’ve been having these dizzy spells. All I know is they’ve been going on for at least a few months. When a new thing crops up I don’t jot it down, I just manage it and then forget about it.
I raised this issue with my doctor, and he said it sounds like Meniere’s Disease.
Meniere’s Disease is another one of those ones no one quite knows how it works. It’s a disorder of the inner ear somehow – it’s thought to be caused by an abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear, leading to abnormalities in balance. It causes vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitis, and you’ll often experience a sense of fullness in the affected ear.
Which is, of course, my right ear. Same side as my ‘atypical facial pain’ (atypical trigeminal neuralgia). I’m starting to wonder if there’s something more going on here, so I’m sending my MRI off for a second opinion once I can afford the $400 consultation fee.
I’m writing about this today because today is a vertigo day. I’m slumped on the couch with a cat on one side and a dog on the other and the world is swirling around inside my head. If I close my eyes, and so lose my visual reference of the world (which isn’t spinning, funny that), I feel a bit like I’m tilting around in a circle. My ‘up’ axis doesn’t quite correlate with gravity anymore. And even with my eyes open, my eyes don’t stay fixed to one point very easily. They keep sliding away with the vertigo, leading me to flick my eyes around what it is I’m looking at constantly.
Another effect of Meniere’s Disease is the loss of hearing in the lower frequencies, and the inability to separate sounds from one another. We did a very basic hearing test which showed a dramatic loss of hearing in my right ear in the lower frequencies, as compared to my left, and to the higher frequencies. I also struggle to separate noises, so if there’s someone cooking in the kitchen, I have difficulty hearing whatever it is I’m watching, or difficulty hearing my amazing human when he’s talking. Same with if there is more than one person talking, I really struggle to hear either or. It just becomes sound mush.
Once the COVID lockdown has eased I will get a full hearing assessment done. This is more out of curiosity than anything else, because the low frequency loss in my right ear, along with vertigo, is a probable diagnosis for Meniere’s Disease.
Ah well, more weird things to add to the pile!