Vertigo (No, not the film.)

Around mid October I started feeling dizzy (feeling a spinning sensation) whenever I turned over to my right side in bed, looked up to get something from the cupboard, and got up out of bed (or off the couch when being laid down). At first I wasn’t that worried, thinking it would go away on its own. It didn’t.

After about a month I decided to see my GP about this, and made an appointment for two weeks later. I had never seen any of the doctors at my local practice but I ended up seeing a fairly young female doctor who was very friendly. She suggested trying a medication first. Three weeks later, I had my next appointment. The medication hadn’t helped, and neither did the on she prescribed me that day. Another couple of weeks later, I saw her again.

It was now early January, and at that appointment, she said that she now thought I had BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) and she would like to try the Epley Maneuvre, however, I would need a double appointment for that. She would also write me a referral to see a specialist as she only had limited experience with this. I saw her two more times in late January, and in late February, when she tried the Epley Maneuvre, which didn’t help, though. She also suggested that I could try it at home, and N. And I did try it, but again, no change.

By then, my dizziness wasn’t als severe as it had been in the beginning, but it was still there and still triggered by specific movements. I think it had just gradually gotten less severe, or maybe my body and brain had simply gotten used to it and adapted.

A few days before my last appointment, I did finally receive my referral to an audiologist in Edinburgh, and this past week, I finally had my appointment there. Mind you, it was at 12 pm on Thursday, in the middle of my work day. Still getting used to how you get appointments with a specialist here.

In Germany you would get a referral from your GP (or indeed, just go directly without a referral), call the specialist and make an appointment. Here, your GP writes to the specialist, who in turn then writes to you and gives you an appointment in that letter. You have no say in when your appointment is. Of course you can cancel or reschedule but I imagine that you’d end up waiting a few more weeks. In my case it took about two months since my GP wrote the referral, three since I first saw her, for me to get that appointment, so I didn’t want to wait any longer.

On Thursday, I went to see the audiologist. She asked me a few questions about my vertigo, and did a hearing test with me. When I told her that my GP had suggested doing the Epley Maneuvre at home, she told me that that was not a good idea, as it could actually make things worse if done incorrectly. (Lovely!)

Then she did an Epley on me again, and this time, I felt dizzy with every new position my head was in. She said that was a good sign. She told me to avoid any movements that would trigger the vertigo for 24 hours and then see if I would still get dizzy.

You guys, I cannot tell you how excited I am but I have not had any dizziness since then. I could weep! It’s almost a little weird NOT to get dizzy, as I’ve had it for so long, nearly five months (!), but it’s such a relief! It took five appointments with my GP, and one with an audiologist within three months, and a LOT of patience, but I am finally fine again.

Yes, I got frustrated with how slow everything was coming along, having to wait three weeks between appointments, simply because I could not get an earlier appointment, having to wait so long before my GP gave me a referral to a specialist, and then again waiting for that appointment.

No, I don’t understand why it all takes so frickin’ long here. If I had been able to see a specialist straight away, I am sure I would have been free of vertigo back in December. But at the same time, I guess this is how things are here. If it’s nothing serious (and as annoying as this vertigo was, it wasn’t serious), you simply have to be very, very patient with the NHS.

But right now, I am just relieved. This had been weighing on me for so long. No, it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to you, but it was affecting my life for such a long period of time, and I am so glad to feel normal again. Well, mostly normal. (To be continued.)

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6 thoughts on “Vertigo (No, not the film.)

  1. Ah! I was going to ask if it had anything to do with your inner ear, but saw that this is what Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is. I think my Mom had that in the past. Scary if you don’t know what’s happening but apparently something that is “relatively easy” to address when the doctor knows that (s)he’s doing ;) Glad you got to go to see the specialist!

  2. Glad to hear that you finally solved the problem. It’s always hard to know something is wrong but to not know what it is. And it is especially hard if you can’t do anything against it.

    • The frustrating thing is, I thought I had BPPV from the beginning (based on internet research), but my doctor took until early January, after two medications had failed, to come up with that diagnosis. Of course I trusted that she’d know more than Dr. Google, so I just went with what she said. Next time I’ll know to handle things a little differently as well, and hopefully see a specialist more quickly.

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