Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bad News! BPPV is Back!

A few years ago I found that I have this odd medical condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). In many cases, the onset of symptoms only occurs once, and never again. I was really hoping this was the case for me, but it turns out not to be. I've been feeling a little "off" for the last couple of weeks, and today I had another nasty episode. BPPV is actually a mild condition with only occasional violent episodes. But boy are they violent! Leo tells me I look really "spooky" when my nystagmus (uncontrollable eye flickering) begins. If you want to learn more about it, you can visit this article. Basically, BPPV is a condition where there are some calcium crystals in one of my ears that move around at often inopportune times and wreak havoc on my system. It is not painful, but causes [at least for me] very violent episodes of vertigo (the falling-down-drunk kind of episodes, with the eye flickering added on for amusement) and generally a strong feeling of nausea. Until the room settles down again for me, generally within a minute or so, things are really quite horrible. So now you know why I am posting this message at 3am. The episodes often kick in when I am asleep, and this violent interruption to my sleep is not at all helpful to my need for rest. Tonight, I slept a couple of hours before the episode hit, and I've been up, here on campus, ever since. I can now look forward to a week or so of poor sleep as I try to figure out ways to get past the problem. The last time this occurred, I spent a fortune on a physical therapist who helped me understand the problem and clear up the symptoms. Now that I have no medical insurance to help out with expenses, I am planning on trying to work the same exercises--a series of movements designed to bring on the episodes!--on my own. Anyway, in spite of this minor setback in my gameplan, I am still progressing on all fronts...senior project, undergraduate graduation, and graduate school attendance. I hope you'll all wish me luck on all fronts!

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