Sunday, September 18, 2011

Closing in on the infinite

Tonight, on ABC-24 there was an interesing story on Norman Swann's 'Tonic' about vertigo. It starts at the 1:12 point and finishes at the 8:50 point. It talks about vertigo, menieres, BPV, dizziness, and balance. The resident expert is Profesor Michael Halmagyi out at the Balance Centre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

It was interesting, but progressed me no further along my long and winding road to knowing what my own balance issues are. However, yesterday I did locate a short video which shows you what oscillopsia does to my life as I walk anywhere. Distressing, isn't it? All of that is my own reality EXCEPT the shots of the sidewalk from the car. I was going to say that mine is not that agitated. Then I remembered that when I am in a bus looking sideways out the window, I shut my eyes because it is too distressing. When I toured around the Myrtleford area, I could not look out the side window, but had to look straight ahead through the driver's head!

However, I do have something to report to Halmagyi when I see him again. I am not his flavour of the month as my symptoms are not what he is investigating at the moment. He is into something to do with low blood pressure. My blood pressure seems to be okay at the moment: on the high side but not excessively so. However, whilst in Melbourne I had something slightly 'off' happen.

My friend, Diane, had a party at the local pub on the Saturday night. It was a cold night, but I knew the pub would be hot and the 30 odd people would make it seem hotter still. However, I had a long-sleeved top and a pair of pants on. The stress started when I realised that I had eaten too much. I had some of three courses, and I had one glass of wine. Another one was poured for me but I left it untouched. There was finger food to begin with. There were 4 different things and I had one of each. Then there was a main, and I had the gnocchi. There was a dessert, and I had one which I should not have. I was over full, uncomfortably so. I have a small stomach, and this is impacted by whatever is happening with my central nervous system. I feel full very quickly. I should have chosen the gnocchi only. My fault.

So, I was full. The room heated up. I got stressed. I heated up. Then I knew I had to leave. It was 11pm anyway. I was very stressed out, and a friend, Terry, took me home in a cab even though it was a very short way. When we got out of the cab, my legs refused to work. Both of them. Terry grabbed me and hustled me into the house. He said the next day that my legs just dangled. That was the sensation for me too: a pair of spastic legs. However, once he lumped me onto the porch, the sensation in my legs returned and I stumbled into bed semi-conscious. I remember saying to Terry, 'I can't get my legs to work.' Never had this before. So I guess I should report this to Halmagyi. I am not sure if it was the heat, or the stress from the heat and the feeling of overfullness that caused the spastic reaction. I am expecting at some stage that I will lose the ability to walk. Not just yet though.


freefalling said...

That oscillopsia video really demonstrates what it must be like for you!
Sort of like walking drunk all the time.
Or walking like a puppet.
Is it exhausting?

BTW - if I ate that much - especially pasta (is gnocchi technically pasta?) in a heated, crowded room and had a glass of wine as well - I'd be freakin' out man!!! I would have total sensory overload - I wouldn't be able to get out of there quick enough.
If my legs didn't do as I said - I'd totally panic!
Did it make you panic?

Joan Elizabeth said...

That video is very informative ... crikey I don't know how I would cope. As for the dangly legs ... I would be freaking out. You're a marvel the way you cope Julie.

Julie said...

Letty: For me it is more puppet than drunk. Controlled by strings, both legs and trunk, but not arms. However, for people coming toward me I probably appear drunk. This is one of the reasons why the stick is so useful. It is exhausting on two counts: my eyes/brain gets tight; and, I have to concentrate on my footing and what is coming. I did not panic, I was more surprised. It was wierd. If my legs were dangling and I had no control, how could my brain register that they were dangling? I was too tired to panic. I fell asleep only to wake a couple of hours later with a massive cramp down my right leg. Without saying this is 'normal', it is at least something I am used to.

Julie said...

Joan: the video is a ripper, isn't it. What I don't understand is how it was conceived. Usually researchers don't have the complaint, but this is so spot-on. And how did they manipulate the camera? Perhaps they had a camera on someone's head, like a coal-miner's head-lamp. I don't consider I have better coping mechanisms than the normal-joe. I just assess reality and work with that. I don't think I deny reality. Sometimes I am slow in clicking in to an altered reality. What this episode taught me, is the centrality of body temperature and stress. Because my nerves are impacted, my circulation to extremities is poor (nerves helping to push blood down that far). Therefore, my hands and feet can get freezing. I need layers all over my body. How to reduce stress in a social situation: keep aware and decline extra food.

Kay L. Davies said...

Ow, Julie, how awful for you. Yes, I can see "puppet" rather than drunk. Drunk is quite different.
I do admire you for being able to assess reality and deal with it.
However, there is absolutely no question about reporting the recent incident to the doctor. You must!
Well, you know that.
I am beginning to injure my silly self in small ways lately, a lot more than usual, and I've had mysterious bumps and bruises for years. I have an appointment with my (I hate to say it) gerontologist coming up, and we'll have a lot to discuss. I should make a list.
Take care. Keep in touch.
Luv — K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel