Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis in the Stubborn Patient
I've been unwell for several months brought on by sudden attacks of dizziness. At first, I thought it was a sinus headache because sometimes a change in barometric pressure can make me lose my balance. It would come and go. I'd no sooner think it was over when it would come back. Once I'd lost my equilibrium I'd wallow in an abyss of annoyance because that meant my work was piling up. I felt useless and unwell. There's no other way to describe it.
I mentioned it to my friend, and she put me on a Facebook chat with her sisters, both medical professionals, one a doctor in Brazil. I didn't think it would do much good, but I agreed and received a long distance diagnosis of Labyrinthitis. I was told to give up caffeine and sugar which I promptly did because the flare ups were so severe I was nearly bedridden.
Fast forward, things got better, but not great. The onset of the dizziness was rapid and unpredictable. If I looked up too high or turned my head at the wrong tilt, I'd start walking to the left. The worst was at bedtime because the room would spin if I tried to lay on my left side.
I never knew when it would flare up. I became paranoid about moving too suddenly, fearful the room would start spinning.
As usual, I put off going to the doctor, but last week enough was enough. My left ear was still tender and warm even after months. I knew it had to be some sort of infection. I had tried high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs and that seemed to help for a while, but that in turn created holes in my stomach lining which made me feel worse. That's what finally made me go and see the doctor.
Guess what? She immediately diagnosed Labyrinthitis. She put me on steroids and antibiotics. For the first time in months I finally had a good night's sleep. I can't say I'm cured because my ear is still tender but the spinning room is under control. Chances are the infection is viral and not bacterial, which means only the steroids are helping me at this point.
Unfortunately, I waited too long to see a doctor and there's a chance I might've caused permanent nerve damage to that ear. I'll have to cross that road when I get to it.
The moral of this story. Next time, go to the doctor.
Are you a good about seeing the doc when you're ill, or do you wait until you're at death's door?