Newest Review: ... 5mg tablets which are to help prevent the dizziness, unfortunately Labyrinthitis is an infection that has to go by itself s... more
Nonsense ! Sidney's pissed again !!
Member Name: sidneygee
Date: 01/01/02, updated on 12/05/02 (1723 review reads)
Advantages: It is NOT Meniere's Disease. , No lasting ill-effects reported.
Disadvantages: The vertigo can be very worrying. , Alcohol is not attractive., Takes up to a week or more to get better.
I have a history of problems with my ears, and my maternal grandmother was also afflicted.
But it wasn’t until about 8 years' ago, my younger daughter, then about 14 years' old. won a Prize Draw in our local free newspaper. It was a free BUPA Health check, worth about £120, which she donated to me. To my surprise (being totally unfit and well-over weight even then) the only problem that the ancient 'quack' reported was a slight deafness in my left ear, which I was not then aware of.
He examined my ear and suggested that it required syringing, and this I had done, at my local GP's. Indeed a plug of wax was removed by this 'operation', but it still left me with a slight lose of hearing.
For those of you unaware of the procedure of ‘syringing’ , this is NOT a pleasant occurrence. Prior to visiting my GP (or the sexy nurse that has now been installed at our local surgery), I have to soften the wax deposits with warm olive oil (or the product called 'Earex' – but I prefer to use "first pressing virgin" myself – it is cheaper) for a few days. The nurse then enjoys her sadistic whim, by using a VERY large syringe to sluice my lug-‘ole out with warm water containing a small proportion of a detergent (possibly ‘Fairy Liquid’, Ducks !)
From then on, I found that I require a visit for a re-syringe about once every two years.
Anyway, the problem of waxiness or deafness had not worsened, until early November when this slight deafness in the left ear seemed to become more acute, and I had to make two visits for syringing. The second visit seemed to be effective, but I was left with a slight but annoying tinnitus in this left ear that persisted for about 2 weeks.
Then, on Friday 28th December, I was out with my elder daughter, up to our favourite winter sport of Sales Shopping. We now have a distinct advantage in that she has
a parking permit for an area in the New Town in Edinburgh (where she shares a flat), extending quite close to George Street. Since the children were staying at 'home' for Xmas, we took her car into town, parked it and embarked onto an extended shopping trip. We walked along George Street to 'Frasers' at the West End of Princes Street, then back along Princes Street to St James Centre, then over the Bridges, as far as the 'James Thin' Bookshop, past the Museum, on down the Mound and back to the car, before home for tea with a large collection of 'bargains'. Those of you familiar with the Edinburgh topography should be quite impressed with this little jaunt ....
But, Boy was it cold !! Only just above freezing point and a keen breeze. I noticed during the walk that I was finding myself with a slight sore throat and some apparent slight loss of hearing from the left ear. I stumbled a bit at one point when I felt a wee bit dizzy. I thought nothing of it at that time, being fairly tired and possibly still showing some latent effects of the Xmas over-indulgence.
That evening, we had a 'doo' at our neighbours just across the road, and we went over at about 8 o'clock. A small get-together – about 80 people – supposed to be "cheese & wine", but plenty of other nibbles, and copious quantities of wine. NO WHISKY though ....
Anyway, plenty of champagne to start, so I drank three large glasses then – and over the evening a further 4 glasses of white wine. Now that is not an excessive amount for me – well below my maximum capacity before I start feeling at all incoherent or 'ill'. Then, when talking to a small group of my friends, I fell backwards – no real problem, I fell against a wall – just caused a few 'ripe' comments from my cronies. I realised that I was not feeling 'very well', so I spoke to Heather and, since it was about 2.15 am
, we decided to make our excuses. By the time I got home, the whole world was 'spinning', but I was still 'lucid'. I managed to get upstairs without too much trouble, but when 'standing to attention' at the china receptacle (lid raised), I stumbled backwards until the back of my legs came into contact with the bath and I duly toppled into it. Fortunately, I did no damage to the (Perspex) bath or to me (or my back !).
Heather was VERY amused (note – at the time - NOT sympathetic), but I managed to arrange myself so that I could get out of the bath before she could find the camera and, having relieved myself successfully, made for the bedroom where I was soon asleep after drinking the obligatory 'large' glass of water....
When I awoke on the Saturday morning, there was NO hangover, but the room was 'spinning' around at an amazing speed. That is, unless I had my left ear laid flat on the pillow. And I just could not stand without feeling immense giddiness ....... Very fortunately I knew what the problem was likely to be.
During the summer one of my friends that I have known for over 50 years came to visit us during the Edinburgh Festival. Peter had gone to bed on the second day 'complaining' about the strength of the Alloa Ale that we had drunk at a local hostelry, and then the following morning found that his balance mechanism had totally deserted him. After much discussion, our local GP was called for a home visit. He soon reported that my friend had "Labyrinthitis", an inflammation of the part of the inner ear known as the 'labyrinth' (that you must all be able to visualise from the diagrams in medical and biology books) and caused by a viral or bacterial infection. The labyrinth is responsible for maintaining the balance of the body, and is sensitive to the position of the head and the movement that it makes. The inflammation that happens from the infection re
sults in severe 'vertigo' even if the head is held still in some cases, but much more apparent when moving.
The GP prescribed some tablets to help 'dull the senses' but since Peter's temperature was not elevated, he was 'happy' that the infection was viral so did not prescribe antibiotics. Peter was completely bed-ridden for three days, but it took 6 days before he was fit to drive OR to drink alcohol. The doctor emphasised that alcohol should not be consumed whilst affected because – for obvious reasons – the vertigo effects of the disease would be exaggerated. He was told that he should contact the doctor again if there was any discharge from the ear or if the symptoms had not cleared up a week later. He also advised that there should be no continued problems after the infection clears up. Peter found that the tablets made him feel very drowsy, so he did not continue with them after three days.
I very carefully went to relieve myself that morning and then retired back to bed determined to be the 'invalide' for at least a day or two. I felt slightly 'nauseous', so had no breakfast or lunch – I could not even consider reading – or watching television - feeling only at ease with myself when lying on my left ear.
Having spoken to Peter on the telephone and confirmed that my symptoms were almost exactly the same as he remembered, I decided not to call out the GP but to 'struggle on' (martyr that I am). Peter also mentioned that he had his ears syringed about 6 weeks before his 'attack' – possibly a coincidence, but maybe significant ?
I ate a small meal in the early evening and managed to read a little, but still with the severe vertigo, particularly whenever I had to get up. The following day, I tried to take a grip on myself and with some assistance I got up and showered. I found that I was able to 'control' the vertigo by careful
concentration but I still had the feeling of nausea. I managed to get downstairs for part of the day, but by evening, I had given up and returned to lying on my left side. Being the Sunday, I was obliged to miss an afternoon (4 hour) get together with another neighbour in the next street that I had been particularly looking forward to. Needless-to-say, most of those attending this party (which Heather also attended with my apologies) were prone to blame my non-attendance on "severe over-indulgence" (I WISH!!!). My main priority at the time was to try and get myself at least partly 'fit' for Hogmanay. I was just thankful that it was not 'our turn' to host the Celebration.
Some hopes. As much as I tried on the Monday, I still felt dizzy when walking around and, in spite of intense "concentration", I stumbled and caught the side of my head on a shelf edge, fortunately without damaging either objects or their contents.
So for the first Hogmanay since the age of about 10, I was 'confined to barracks'. I decided that I could not even warrant the traditional wee dram or twa. One nasty side effect of Labyrinthitis is that you cannot stomach the thought of strong drink – or rich food, irrespective of the doctor's "orders".
So there I was , on the first day of the New Year, sitting at my computer, feeling a little better – as long as I concentrated my mind on defeating the feeling of vertigo that is not as bad as it was on Hogmanay. But still that slight feeling of nausea....
No deafness persisting in the left ear, fortunately, and the sore throat subsided, but it took another 4 days before I was fully recovered. I did feel a great relief though – and that is because I knew what I have been suffering from. I can fully understand the panic that Peter felt in the summer. Certainly I would have thought myself ready for the knackers' yard without this knowledge.
On that Saturday morning, I could have believed anything up to an inoperable brain tumour. If you ever get Labyrinthitis, YOU will know it. If you do get it, then I can hope that you get it at a more 'convenient time' than I got it. Or for that matter, when Peter got it. He came to visit Edinburgh for the Festival. I had bought tickets for 8 events for us to attend, and I had to take Heather instead (!). He visited Edinburgh and spent almost all his time in bed worrying about how he would get himself and his car back to South Wales. Better luck next year, I can only hope ....
I should point out that there is another disease that also causes vertigo, and that this is, potentially, much more serious. Meniere’s Disease causes the labyrinth to become swollen and happens suddenly. It is accompanied by vomiting and by deafness and noises in the affected ear. The symptoms initially last only hours, but the condition can re-occur. The major problem is that each attack damages the hearing in the affected ear, so that progressive deafness is the result. There is no cure, as such. Treatment can only reduce the immediate effects of dizziness, but cannot effect a proper cure.
So, I was, to be frank, quite relieved that the symptoms persisted on to a second day and beyond.
I hope we are still all around and more prosperous come next Hogmanay - which I shall hopefully enjoy in my usual manner, unlike the one just past.
© Sidneygee 2001/2
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