“Margaret, you just can’t have anymore falls”…

I’m still laughing over being told this by my doctor, after my second fall this year. “Oh, really?”, I said. “Keep in mind, I DO have a Vestibular Disorder”. I do believe my ‘regular’ doctors forget I have one. Why? Likely due to the fact I rarely, to never, go anywhere without my stability, Mike. We see some of the same doctors and schedule those (annual) appointments together. My other doctors, I really don’t know what they think, they just seem to accept his presence. No, he isn’t in the room for my Gynecologist annual! Having to remind my doctor of my Vestibular Disorder got me to thinking, why do they forget?

  • Because it was diagnosed in 2003 and is permanent?
  • Because I haven’t included it in my medical history (impossible!)?
  • Because they aren’t treating me for it and I take no medication for dizziness?
  • Because they don’t notice that I ‘wall-walked’ the entire route to the exam room?
  • Because I am already seated when they enter the room?
  • Because I don’t wear a scarlet ‘V’ (vestibular) on my chest?
  • Because it’s up to ME to keep them informed? Well, yes…
  • I know! Because I don’t look dizzy! Ahhhh!

So, just exactly how does my Vestibular Disorder, that was diagnosed in 2003, and is permanent actually affecting my daily life? Now, after all this time? Number one, above all else, I lost myself. Yes, e-v-e-r-y single day is off-balance, with bouts of dizziness that can ruin my day. A side effect of this appears to be breaking bones for me. With my recent falls, they happened while vacuuming (housework is dangerous!) but two different situations.

When I am having a ‘good’ day, I go for it and that means laundry and vacumning (since I am basically homebound, self-induced…), these are two chores I can do and oddly enjoy doing. On the day of my first foot break, I’d done both, big mistake. I was exhausted but this is where something like OCD kicks in. I’m on a roll! Come on, just one more thing to vacuum! I was truly so tired, I should have stopped but without even thinking, I inverted my head. This is my sure-fire way to a bout of Vertigo. I immediately knew I’d gone past my point of no return but stood straight up (why?) only to very quickly fall down. Unfortunately, I was in-between furniture and I fell on top of my foot…my elbow caught the edge of one piece of furniture and my hip caught the edge of the coffee table (I thought I could catch myself). Besides some really big, ugly bruises, I was back in my ‘walking boot’ for 6-weeks (I’ve had it since the 90’s!)…

Lesson learned? Not quite. Blame it on brain fog… I was completely healed from the break but having an exhausting, frustrating, and in general off day. This time, I wasn’t actually vacuuming though. The vacuum had been left where I last used it, in our bedroom. It wasn’t neatly put away. It was disassembled from using various attachments, the cord was in a jumble around it on the floor. Yes, I am this messy… Again, without thinking, I’d gone to adjust my blinds so I could take a nap. In order to do so, I intertwined my feet all up in that vacuum cord (again, why?). I’m in the middle of this mess when the phone rings. Brain fog, short attention span, I don’t know what I was thinking! I’m realizing, I don’t appear to do a lot of thinking… I totally forgot my feet were in the tangled cord and just turned to ‘walk’ over and answer the phone. Down I go but this was so scary because this time, I was hyper aware I am going down! Oh, the pain was insane! I tell you, I apparently do things with/to my poor feet, I’m told happen to maybe 2% of the population. This time, 1 break (5th Metataursal/Pinkie Toe) and 4 hyper-flexion sprains of my toes (sprains hurt much worse, I think).  I’ve had enough with falling…

But am I ‘ready’ to use a walker? No, I’m not quite there. A recommendation will soon be coming I’m sure, as ‘I can’t fall anymore’, this from my doctor who also just let me know my osteoporosis has progressed. After much research (and procrastination), I’ve finally decided to take the medication for it, which is still scary. A medication given by injection that lasts 6 months! I’ve mulled it over for two years when he first recommended it. “No, I’m going to start walking”, I said with conviction. Yeah, yeah, yeah! How are you going to walk on broken feet or when I’m dizzy or when… Change of some sort is coming soon. The closer it gets to Mike’s retiring, I know I don’t want this to be our ‘golden years’! It’s time for some major changes!

I believe we all need a ‘reset’ button of some kind, periodically. I’ve had plenty of time while healing broken bones for this reset. I’m healed now and ready to start my Summer Herb garden again, something that fell by the wayside a few Summer’s ago. I find working with a garden very therapeutic, also. More to come on my garden to come!

 

 

vestibular.org

 

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9 thoughts on ““Margaret, you just can’t have anymore falls”…

  1. Also you mention walking. I’ve been doing it for a year regularity, infact I did a half marathon last year. It takes a while but it does help, kinda like VRT. Your brain adapts to the movement around you. But you do have to persevere through the bad days and be safe near roads. Hope some of this helps. I’ve had a really good year, so much improvement and done so much. It’s all made such a difference to my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sara! Thanks for your sweet words and including the link! I have seen this and did try but not over and over as she suggested. Maybe? I’ll try it soon! After I get back from dad’s 🤗 visit, semi-regular visit… his doctor appointment! Xx

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      1. I find I always know when it is time to do it, when I just get to a point. It makes me feel bouncy for a while but then it settles down and gives me an ok period for a while. I use it as a maintenance procedure. I’m always terrified when I do it but it does seem to settle things down. I’ve never known it to make me worse so that’s a win in my book.

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      2. I just stumbled across your article and it really hit home for me. In 2006, I suffered permanent damage to my left vestibular nerve as a result of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which is essentially shingles in your inner ear. The herpes zoster virus basically wrecked my immune system. I have no function in the left vestibular nerve. I have done vestibular therapy off and on since 2006. Although I can achieve compensation, I cannot maintain without decompensating. I have heard of people like Sara L. who have found ways to work up to a half marathon (which I think is an amazing accomplishment) and I wonder why I can’t accomplish at that level. Based on all the research I have done on my condition, I have determined that the degree of vestibular function that has been lost plays a major role in the level of function that a person can achieve. In fact I can’t find much information on people who have lost all function in one side of their vestibular system. When I read your article i could really relate, especially the wall walking to the exam room and the number of falls you have had, and I’m wondering if you too have a nonfunctional vestibular nerve. I was a highly functioning professional, a litigation attorney, and now I am disabled. I would be interested in knowing the degree of function you have in your vestibular system, if you are comfortable discussing that information. Thanks. So glad I found your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hi there Tracey! Mine is not considered nonfunctional but it does wreck havoc on my daily life. I feel like I live in a (not so) Fun House, everything is askew to me. I can’t bend over without thinking about it, actually I do have to think about how I move around, period. I too, had a herpes infection that I feel most could fight off. My immune system is really poor also, I get everything! My gosh, being a lawyer and losing that… very hard. My student loan wasn’t even paid off when I was forced into leaving my career as a Pediatric COTA. I loved my work, I would still be working. Thank you so much for your feedback! Keep in touch 🤗💃

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      4. If you have been determined to be permanently disabled your student loans should be paid off by the insurance, assuming they are federally insured which most student loans in the U.S. Also the fact that you also wrote about weather impacting your symptoms, I wanted to let you know that I too am very symptomatic with weather changes. After years of struggling and seeing doctor after doctor who would tell me there was nothing more they could do, I was finally referred to a neurologist who specialized in migraine. What I learned was that I had migraine secondary to vestibular nerve damage. To make a long story short, keeping my migraines under control is really key for me. I just recently had occipital nerve blocks which has really helped me so far. I’ll keep reading your blog. It’s always good to know you’re not alone!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Please forgive my delay in replying but I was actually out of town, visiting my Dad, 90 years old and living independently. He’s amazing! Unfortunately, MY Student Loans were consolidated into irrivocable, 9% interest, b.s. loans. In essence, I paid about 75% MORE than my peers, due to having to move to another city, pay out-of-district this and that. There were only 5 or 6 Accredided Schools for that paticular career at that time. For an Associates Degree, you can earn a really good living…No, I looked into having the loans forgiven after I was forced into Disability and the government kindly said, “No”. What costs every other classmate around $3500 in ’89, cost me over $25,000. So, with ALL my health issues once I began working, I took ‘forbarences’ (again, thank you government for continuing to ‘only’ charge interest during that time… I paid EVERY penny back! Then, to lose my career only 12 years in… it was the perfect storm.
        Blah, blah, blah…
        As to the weather affecting my balance, I live in West Texas and we have wind that brings allergy dust and pollen from who knows where! I have to take allergy meds daily. No, you absolutely are NOT alone! Thanks for sharing!

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