Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Labyrinthitis

Virus.  Such a little word for something so easily caught, so readily (over) diagnosed, and so potentially life-affecting.  We all know it's a bit of a fail-safe for doctoring types: haven't actually got a clue what's wrong with this person, so I'll just say they have a virus.  If they go on too much, chuck some antibiotics at them.  But what about when it actually is a virus, and they still haven't got much clue of what to do about it?

This is what knocked me for six getting on for two weeks ago, and stole an entire week of my life.  A virus.  Well, not so much the virus itself, but the condition it left me with.

It started with what I can only describe as a panic attack in my sleep.  All of a sudden I had a hundred images rush at me in my subconscious and I woke gasping for breath and comfort.  Then I was utterly overwhelmed by a feeling of nausea, followed by severe room spin, just like having one or six too many as a student.

The problem is the room spin didn't go away.  Despite having - ahem - emptied my stomach, the nausea wasn't quelled either.  And so it began.  Labyrinthitis.  A condition which affects the inner ear, and thus balance, caused by a virus.

I couldn't walk stagger the 30 steps to the toilet alone, or without a bucket.  I was falling over in a dizzy, room-spinny heap if I moved my head even the tiniest fraction.  I couldn't even keep water down for three days.  I have genuinely never felt so ill in my entire life.

Steve called the doctor out, who gave me some anti-nausea, anti-dizziness tablets, which would help suppress the symptoms slightly, but essentially I had to just wait for it to pass, which could be 4 days, could be 3 weeks.

All I could do, and the only way I could keep the spinning head at bay, was to lie in bed in the dark with my eyes closed, with no light, no noise and no movement.  Thankfully I was too ill to find this as dull as it sounds!

After three days, whether down to time or tablets, I could at least stay awake a little, speak to Steve and the children (although the tinnitus and hearing loss made listening to a reply tricky!), and finally drink a little water.  After five days I could eat a little, and on the sixth day I managed to get out of bed.  Only to lie on the sofa, but by then any change of scene was good!

Now, nearly two weeks later, I have just stopped the tablets, having cut them down from three a day to one.  I am functioning fairly normally, although going out for the first time yesterday was hard work due to feeling so weak, but also because I still can't really look down without feelng dizzy and as if I'm going to 'go'.

I still can't read or type for too long, and some TV programmes set it off, particularly anything with fast-moving images or flashing lights, and heights (even if on TV!) look like a no go for the moment.  But I am definitely better than I was, and I wouldn't wish that condition on anyone, it was/is truly horrible.

The worst part about it is that, once you've had Labyrinthitis, it's one of those things that stays dormant in the body and can recur at any time.  So I will be upping my vitamins & minerals, and particularly iron, as apparently a deficiency can contribute to an attack.  I really don't want that again.

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent their good wishes, they were relayed, and much appreciated, Lx

N.B. This - thankfully - has nothing to do with David Bowie and that fright wig, although watching the dodgy film Labyrinth may well bring on symptoms of Labyrinthitis...  Be warned! ;-)

5 comments :

  1. Never heard of this before but it sounds nasty!!
    Hope you're back to feeling 100% soon :)

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  2. That sounds so nasty, wishing you better soon and hoping the vitamins keep the relapses away!

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  3. That sounds awful, hope it goes away quickly and never comes back!

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  4. Poor thing, I don't envy you. What a nasty thing to happen. Hope you recover completely soon. Take it easy and get enough rest.

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  5. Hi there, my OH was (mis) diagnosed with this about 2 years ago, he's been constantly dizzy for 2 and a half years. I totally and utterly sympathise with you, it's awful just to witness, I still have no idea what it's like to live with - watching your other half lying on the floor crying and there's nothing you can do to help or stop it is one of the worst feelings in the world. You're probably aware already but salt definitely affects / exacerbates the spells.

    I say misdiagnosed - he went from labyrinthitis to menieres disease (same sort of thing) and he has now been diagnosed with ME a couple of weeks ago.

    sending you much love and healing thoughts to keep the bugger at bay! xx

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