Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dizzy as a Dingbat, Drunk as a Skunk

The title of this post pretty much says it! Or maybe 'ditzy!'

Confused Dizzy Computer
from Owner's Freak-out Input
[Broderbund ClickArt Image]
After a previously hectic Sunday, oft described in my childhood as a "day of rest" from the Biblical creation story, and perhaps a misnomer, Monday morning held a new surprise.

I arose and completed my morning rituals of brewing coffee and feeding Luckie. This ritual is usually follow by reading e-mails and blogs while consuming my mundane concoction of 1.5 cups drip coffee with 0.5 cup milk and 4 packets Splenda.

At the end of this time frame, I turned to my left to place my desktop replacement, behemoth laptop on a nearby table. This requires a torso-twisting movement of upper body strength with a non-travel friendly notebook.

Not although part
Cherokee,the caricature
is applicable otherwise.
[Broderbund ClickArt]
Suddenly the room began to spin, my head and ears felt overstuffed and plugged with inexplicable matter. My tinnitus was playing a head splitting high pitched noise. 

With no rhyme or reason an old hymn, Dwelling in Beulah Land comes to mind, but only the last syllable of Beulah minus the 'h' seemed more definitive. I had moved in, and still am dwelling, in LA-LA Land with none of the joyous amenities attributed to in the aforementioned hymn or several similar hymns. [There are two hyperlinks above to this hymn.]

Yikes! I needed an urgent trip to the throne room to eliminate a portion  my morning diuretic, coffee. Yet I felt the floor and I might become closer acquainted, not conducive to the well-being of my knee prostheses.

Although I completed my throne room trek safely, the spinning top, my head, intensified in m.p.h. and r.p.m.  Every perception had circular, speedy, spinning attributes. I was able to sit or stand in the vertical position only if I kept an upright orientation with head fixated in the frontal position, perpendicular to the floor.

Broderbund ClickArt
Dizzy as a Dingbat, Drunk as a Skunk! Dingbats have nothing to do with bats....  And I doubt skunks drink our alcoholic beverages, although they like many animal species will eat or imbide dangerous or poisonous substances in the process of foraging.

These clichés are absorbed in our cultural language and used as uncomplimentary explanations and descriptions. 'Dizzy as a Dingbat' actually is as uncomplimentary as NitWit, implying a person, especially female, lacks intelligent, intricate, serious thought processes. Its origin I could not find. I suspect it is US, given our propensity to crucify the English language with alliteration and metaphor.

'Drunk as a Skunk' is thought to be of US origin, but why skunk? Probably because of its malodorous, repulsive, gas attack defensive system. However, there are a number of 'drunk as' clichés. The phrase implies a state of intoxication, specifically alcoholic, or behavior similar to intoxication.

Regardless, those were the clichés I used to describe my condition to the receptionist as I staggered to the admissions window with concerned help from my husband. The first cliché is descriptively more accurate. I knew I wasn't intoxicated, at least not by alcohol or drugs.

Jinsky, author of napples notes, had a similar episode recently. Jinksy, apologies if I unceremoniously dismissed your malady, but then you can be so humorous about life's discomforts.

My physician knew I was a near life teetotaler, so she dropped alcoholic overindulgance from her diagnosis. After a series of maneuvers, sitting up, standing up, etc.  eliminating orthostatic hypertension, and signs of imminent heart or cerebral events, she noted evidence of fluid in left ear behind the eardrum, postnasal drip and my eyes "jerkily (nystagmus) trying to focus on a moving target.

Calcium Carbonate "rocks 
are deposited in the utricle.
If they excape into other
areas of the ear, problems
with vertigo and balance
may arise.
Her preliminary diagnoses was vertigo due to viral infection, Meniere's disease and/or an incredibly long description: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, acronym-BPPV. [Excellent graphic at the hyperlink provided]

But because I have deficiencies which might trigger heart or cerebral events, a battery of blood work, EKG and CT scan of head were ordered stat. [Don't you love medical terminology?  An event to me is news reports via newspapers, radio and television, like 'current or historical events.']

This incident occurred around 7 a.m. and we barged into Doc's office around 9:20 a.m. without appointment and were seen around 10 a.m. We left the office about 11 a.m. headed to a medical center complex for tests. We stopped by our pharmacy's drive-by window to leave prescriptions, swung by home for needed I.D. cards and continued to a nearby town where the complex was located.

By 2:30 p.m. we were home, having completed the orders, squeezed in lunch at Western Sizzlin'and again the pharmacy drive-by window for prescription pickup and payment.  I called Doc's office to notify her she should be receiving results shortly.

Three Rx bottles on left
are my current meds.
The other meds are OTC.
The last on the right helped
a tad until I visited Doc.
This fast chain of events always fascinates me. In past years medical orders could not have been completed in a span of 2.5 hours including one hour of travel on our part. At 4:30 p.m. Doc called me saying I ACED every test! The total time from initial event to finally learning results was 7 hours. The digital age contributes to the shortened pace, i.e., fax machines, Internet, other telecommunication devices, digital imaging electronics, electronic assay machines, and 3-min. screening EKGs.

Doc is sticking her preliminary diagnoses of BPPV and/or inner ear infection, probably both. I tend to agree as I have no pain, nausea, increased SOB (shortness of breath). So now the round of drugs begins. Plus in the link above for BPPV there are home exercises designed to put the brakes on my spinning out of control head. A print-out of the BPPV link is exactly what she handed me.

Short summary: I appear to have rocks, in my head...OOPS, in the ear utricle (not to be confused with another body organ with somewhat similar name, which I is not in my current organ inventory at this point in life). Because I've had kinetosis, tinnitus and multiple allergies for at least 5 decades and now another chronic syndrome, I am likely to be contending with the BPPV syndrome either continuously or continually.

I have had little balance for a long time. No tippy-toe dancing ballerina am I! I probably would fail field sobriety tests, especially the test named Walk and Turn, or more commonly - walk the proverbial straight line. I've had several fleeting, positional bouts of vertigo recently, plus the tinnitus is more intense. Hello! Welcome to another addition to aging!

Today, Tuesday, only the left side of my head seems affected. Now I've need to grab my those exercise list again for any round. The suggested movements are not difficult, but might temporarily worsen my symptoms.

Phew! I was worried about that brain scan. I am getting various disparaging remarks about the status of my brain, at the moment, like empty brain, birdbrain, nothing but rocks/marbles in my head, etc. I'm sure you can add to the metaphors.

Stay tuned for updates, but not hourly. I have to repeat these exercises 5 times a day I do not consider this a serious health threat if I pay attention to the symptoms--not life threatening unless I fall--then the consequences change.

For sufferers with a very mild form of this disorder may find relief in OTC drugs, meclizine commonly available in oral and chewable tablets forms, and dimenhyrdrinate commonly available in tablet, but also available liquid and suppository forms. Diphenhydramine, an old, but very effective antihistamine with drying properties available as OTC oral tablets, capsules,liquids and RX injectable, is sometimes used to dry out nasal and otic membranes, but its drowsiness side effect as well as urinary side effects, especially in the elderly suggest it be used cautiously.

Hopefully you are not doing pirouettes as you read this post...


Arkansas Patti said...

Good grief, what an experience!! I am really glad the doctor went the whole nine yards and checked you thoroughly.
My brother just went through this very thing. He is a non-drinker also so it was his first drunk.
As for balance, my strong women group did balance exercises and at first non of us could pass a sobriety test. By the courses end and with practice, we were all 100% better.
Keep up with those exercises and meds. Take care and be sober soon.

Small City Scenes said...

My word, that wore me out just reading it. I hope all this gets better with time--and exercise. Thank goodness the doc was very thorough. Take care. MB

Anonymous said...

I learned something.

I guess you take more medicine than I do.

Though I just took on another load after this hospital bout.

I am still all out of whack. Go see the heart doctor tomorrow for a cumdain numbers check. Then off to see the family doc as I have a really bad old-man-smoked-all-his-life cough I want her to check out.

jeannette said...

What a whirlwind experience! sorry you have to contend with this - I always hope for healing! Take care:)

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, Carol...that's horrible...I've only had that once...and it was simply the worst...Glad that you were able to get into the doctor so quickly, and hope that the medication is giving you wonderful relief!!! Sending you love and get well prayers, Janine XO

Linda said...

I hope you feel a lot better very soon. I have a family member who's dealt with this problem for years. Sometimes I've traveled with her so she would have someone she could hold onto to feel secure. The most challenging for me was the time my daughter and I had to bring her downstairs from a second floor apartment. Another fun experience was helping her lay back in her recliner. She'd nearly strip my shirt off. I do hope yours improves quickly. It is no fun having that experience.

Now, did I read that you use 4 packets of Splenda in your coffee. No wonder your head is crazy. That's a lot of sweet. I usually use 1/2 to 1 packet. I can't imagine 4. My goal is to stop using packets of sweetner. I'm not quite there yet but I am working on it.

Take care of yourself.

Patty said...

Well I certainly hope it all gets straightened out very soon. That dizzy feeling is bad enough let alone everything else that goes along with it.

CHERI said...

Oh my! I don't know whether to laugh or cry! What an ordeal! Sure hope you will be all better soon. Thanks for visiting my blog today!

jinksy said...

Eek! I feel for you! I had to take prochlorperazine pills to keep me as steady as possible until the Epley manoeuvre could be done. Hope your Diz soon subsides. :)

Sandi McBride said...

I feel my head spinning reading this and am wondering if there is an easier way to get Mac to take me to the Western Sizzlin' you get this all cleared up soonest!

Anonymous said...

If you ever get rheumatoid arthritis (the kind that disfigures bones) then you will want to take Methotrextate or MTX as it takes about three months to begin to kill the pain, it ends it and you are pain free. So My pains were gone and almost forgotten until I started to take this cumadin. Almost instantly it does something to the MTX because the pains came back with a vengence. So I need something else besides cumadin to thin the blood.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Hoping you are feeling better and that you will be able to enjoy Memorial Day!!! You've been much in my thoughts! Love, Janine XO

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I KNEW THAT I COULD COUNT ON YOU TO GET IT!!!!!! (Huge grins!!!) Love you so very much, dear Carol! ~Janine XO