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Thursday, June 4, 2015

June peonies, March sheds.

Sitting down long enough to do a post is a real struggle in June. But I have a PSA to write, a great need to take the time to write about something that happened to me, because I hope it will help someone, anyone out there who's suffering from vertigo--unexplained dizziness, with no other symptoms. Here's what happened.  I basically killed myself all Memorial Day weekend getting planting, weeding, mulching and manuring done. I got this jones to manure the gardens, and I wasn't going to let lack of a backhoe or pickup truck stop me. My friend Jeff told me I was welcome to dig around in the barnyard where their cows come to give birth, 100 years of continuous cow poop in dry stratae free for the taking. Wahoo! Full of weed seeds, too, but that rich stuff is what my gardens need.

I have golden raspberries from my dear friend Connie Toops in NC that were crying for manure. 

photo by Connie Toops

I've got rhubarb from my dear friend Ann Hoffert in ND that wanted some too. 

photo by Connie Toops

 I'd put the little steel mesh carrier on the back of the Subaru, take shovels and dig the stuff into containers, tubs and muck buckets and window boxes, and haul it home by the 300 lb load. I probably hauled a ton of manure in muck buckets and tubs on the back of my Subaru. Sunday and Monday I made repeated manure runs to fortify all the gardens. Yes, it would have been nice to have a truck but I don't, so I do what I can. Bill and the kids helped, but I waaay overdid it. I got dehydrated and though I was drinking gallons of water, nothing was coming back out.  I had no pee. Weird, I thought. Then while hauling a tub of manure for the last load up a steep hill in hot sun I suddenly got dizzy and had to quit. I had lifted the tup up, rising rapidly from a squat, and boom! I just had to sit down and let the kids haul the rest for me. I felt like puking, and I was actually staggering like a sailor. That was Monday. From then until Wednesday afternoon I had vertigo. I never want to have vertigo again. I was mildly nauseated and listless, with no other symptoms. I wondered if I'd had a little stroke. Not a pleasant thought. But had no weakness or paralysis or cognition issues. Well, my head felt very fuzzy, but I was making sense, and I knew who the president is (Roosevelt, right?) and the date and day of the week and all that. My brain was functioning reasonably normally, considering I felt like I was on a pitching ship.

I'd put it on the snap peas, too.

Finally on Weds. around 3 pm I couldn't stand it any more. I'd done some online digging and come up the possibility of an inner ear infection, but it came on so suddenly that didn't really fit. I didn't think it was a disease. It seemed to me like an event, not a disease. I called Shila, my personal shaman and wellness guru (who happens to know a ridiculous amount about the workings of the human body as a certified cranio-sacral and polarity therapist). After running through some questions to ascertain if I'd had a TIE (transient ischemic event, or mini stroke),  she told me she thought I had BPPV*, and told me to go on Youtube and look for The Epley Maneuver, which is this exercise where you incline your head back while lying with your upper back on a pillow. Then you roll your head around slowly in a spiral. Doing this will dislodge  any otoliths, little crystals that form in your inner ear, that might be blocking the flow of fluid in the cochlea. Having free flow of fluid in the cochlea, the little snail-like coil in the inner ear, is vital to knowing where you are in space. Stop that flow and you are seasick, Sally, and it ain't fun.

I did the Epley maneuver as shown on YouTube once for each ear and got up, not dizzy any more. It was a flippin' miracle. A doctor I spoke to afterward, who confessed he'd never heard of the maneuver, said, "Based on your symptoms, I'd have sent you straight to the ER for an angiogram."  Well, this was free, not scary or hard to do at all, did not involve massive ER charges,  and I am feeling so very, very lucky to have a best friend and incredible healer in Shila. 

*The name for the condition is "Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo." It's caused by rapid changes in head position that dislodge otoliths that then bung up your cochlear canal and keep the fluid in the cochlear canal from moving correctly. Being completely dehydrated probably had something to do with my sudden onset BPPV, too.

As many of my stories do, it gets better. We have a Rain Crows new music rehearsal on the evening of June 3, and Wendy, who is vital to contributing, receiving, arranging and reacting to our newly written songs, is clearly not operating at full capacity. She says she's dizzy and nauseated. No other symptoms. Has been for a couple of days, and she's miserable. I scribble "The Epley Maneuver" down on a scrap of paper and give it to her. Just to make sure, I texted her this link:

 She manages to make it back to where she's staying, looks up the video, and by 10:30 that night she's done the maneuver and the vertigo is gone. Hallelujah. Let life resume. 

So already, I've had one friend present with the same symptoms I had, and Shila's wisdom has rippled out and helped another person. I give this story to you as a gift for when your cochlea gets jammed. Or the cochlea of anyone you love. Vertigo with no other symptoms. Remember this. Look it up, do it. If BPPV is your issue, The Epley Maneuver will fix you.


Obligatory Disclaimer: Although my family calls me Dr. Zick, I am not a doctor. There are many things that can cause vertigo, including inner and middle ear infections (which are often viral) and mini- strokes. I'm offering this easy-to-do maneuver as a first, at-home stop in figuring out what might be going on when you're suddenly taken dizzy with no other symptoms. If you execute it as directed a couple of times and it doesn't work, hie thee to your doctor.


So glad you are both better! Vertigo can really mess up a person's life. One of my favorite books, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, includes info about BPPV and the Epley move, along with lots of gardening, birds, American Chestnut trees and other good stuff. Miss Weezy in Texas

Posted by Anonymous June 4, 2015 at 8:09 PM

Oh my dear, I had vertigo for a month after I fell on my head from a ladder ( on cement) in 2009. Awful feeling. I was given a different maneuver but I cannot remember the name. Anyway, yours worked. Please take care of yourself!

Same story! Vertigo: horrible horrible horrible. I remember crawling on my belly to the bathroom and needing my husband to hoist me up so I could pee. And my doc, whom one of our mutual friends called "the hippie doctor", flipped me off the end of his examination table. Ta da! Yes, every little child should be taught this right along with look both ways.

That is A great thing to share. Thanks Julia and Sheila!

Thank goodness for the story's happy ending. A friend had unexplained vertigo, and her doctor put her through the moves. Poof. All better. I'm bookmarking Epley just in case. Take care.

Posted by Anonymous June 4, 2015 at 8:55 PM

This has happened to me before. I went to my Dr who sent me to an ENT and he did the EPly Maneuver on me in the office. I was fixed. That was many years ago and I have only had to do the Eply one other time. Amazing what having a few Rocks in your head can do to your body. Glad you got it fixed.

This is extremely useful information! I heard it described once before some years ago - the problem and the maneuver - by a young friend who had been in a climbing accident and had lingering problems with vertigo. But also - there is a virus that causes roughly the same symptoms, right? And I presume this maneuver doesn't actually help with that? In an odd coincidence, a friend of mine in the UK is currently suffering from something they call Labyrinthitis - which results in a feeling of spacey dizziness. I presume that is being caused by a virus, but I'm sending her this link and the YouTube link just in case!

All good questions, Kim. Viral infections of the inner and middle ear can cause vertigo, but there is often pain, swooshing and popping sounds, and a feeling of fullness in a middle ear infection. This was painless. I sensed that there was nothing wrong with my ear, and the sudden onset of dizziness told me something, I knew not what, had happened in my inner ear. It took Shila to figure it out.

The medical profession is, more and more, geared to revenue-producing diagnostic paths. Tests produce revenue. Lots of tests and visits to specialists produce more revenue. All diagnoses are subject to human error, and the fact that many doctors seem not to be aware of this cost-free maneuver haunts me. I'm also haunted by the memory of an elderly friend, now deceased, who complained of periodic dizziness for years, which had been (probably incorrectly) diagnosed as some unspecified virus. "I have that darn virus again," she'd say, and she'd have to get in bed. Had I only known about this, perhaps I could have helped Esther. Performing the Epley Maneuver first, at home, when stricken with sudden vertigo is just common sense.

Glad you are cured! BPPV is certainly no fun. I speak from experience.

If you take your car to a mechanic for a "check-up", he is going to find something to fix. It just makes economic sense. Same thing if you go to a doctor for a "check-up". He will run a barrage of tests, for the same reason: economic sense. Plus, they are all so afraid of being sued if they miss something... which I guess also boils down to "economic sense". I doubt many of them would even think to use the Epley Maneuver, because where's the money in that? I've known people who developed ultimately life-ending problems from "diagnostic tests". I prefer to exercise, eat Real Food, and get a good night's sleep. Most people seem to prefer the "easy" way": no exercise, processed food, and "energy drinks" in lieu of sleep. Then they have to go to the doctor, because they are unhealthy as a result of their lifestyles.

I am bookmarking the Epley Manuever just in case.

Wow, sounded like heat exhaustion or heat stroke to me! Serious conditions that leave you more susceptible to them happening again, so please be careful. They would fit the exercise overload and explain the lack of pee, whereas BPPV doesn't seem to. Glad you're all better.

My d an audiologist has done this maneuver on me Also done it myself but often I just takes old antivert(meclezine)!!

Yes, it works and a shame more docs don't know about it. Please hydrate, hydrate, and more hydration. Our bodies truly need that due that for homeostasis.
I am a massage therapist and relay this to my clients when needed. It may also be known as vestibular exercises.

Posted by Anonymous June 7, 2015 at 7:06 AM

Julie, "RN" Stefanie posting here, not the "artist" this time. While I agree that you had a bad case of vertigo and the Eply maneuver (which I've heard of) cleared it up, I'd say this was all brought on by a very bad case of dehydration and heat exhaustion. (You felt like you were having a stroke because you were literally about to have a heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is the step before that.) Your body doesn't take kindly to lack of water coupled with loss of electrolytes and it tends to get befuddled, dizzy, nauseous, and finally will pass out. I wouldn't have sent you to the ER for an angiogram ( way over-thinking there.), I'd have sent you for a big bolus of IV fluids, probably laced with potassium. The bigger PSA here is HYDRATE when you're doing hard labor out in the heat. Remember the saying, "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun." There's a reason for that. Take along a gallon jug of water next time as well as an ample supply of Gatorade. You're welcome. :)

Thanks for the fantastic share Julia. I've been experiencing vertigo attacks for the past few months and reading this gives me hope that I can get it under control.

This story reminded me of how I finally healed my vertigo and dizziness after years of agony.

My life used to be miserable. I had balance problems, trouble walking and standing, spinning sensations, and many other symptoms that drained the joy from my days.

When I first started experiencing vertigo symptoms, I felt dizzy once in a while. But the vertigo progressed rapidly and soon I felt like my head was spinning inside a washing machine.

Even worse, my vertigo episodes often happened when I was out in public. I got tired of my friends asking, "What's wrong? Are you okay?" People would stare at me as if I was drunk!

Doctors only wanted to prescribe drugs, which made me sleepy and groggy. They told me there was no other solution for my vertigo.

I knew that there had to be another way. I searched long and hard and finally came across some simple natural remedies that finally made my embarrassing vertigo disappear for the amazement of my doctor.

In fact, you might want to check out this article, it really helped me a lot:

Hope it helps anyone reading this!

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