Tag Archives: BPPV

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

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You may remember back in May when I woke up alive for the 3rd day running after smashing my head into a very low authentic Renaissance beam at Closerie Falaiseau that you are supposed to duck under to go into one of the rooms.

Well, this may just be the sequel.

It’s Monday morning. I wake up with a slight headache, get dressed and have breakfast. I read my emails and discover, to my great dismay, that I have MIXED UP the dates of the big family reunion in Australia and Black Cat and her Dutchman have just bought their tickets, missing the reunion by a couple of days.

I phone Black Cat to see whether the tickets can be exchanged. I suddenly feel terribly nauseous.  I feel so bad that I go and lie down. I sleep for a while and am woken up by the phone ringing in the office. I answer it. A client is asking for a deadline for an enormous translation and I try and concentrate. I actually feel fine. As the conversation comes to an end, I feel desperately nauseous again. I get up and my head starts pounding. I feel a little dizzy. I grab a plastic basin and head for the bedroom.

I sleep again and am woken by skype. The headache and the nausea seem to have disappeared. I go into my office and talk to Leonardo for a while, even phoning my accountant to answer a question about the French company he’s finally getting around to closing. The nausea suddenly hits me again. I make a beeline for the bathroom and, limp and hagged, make my way back to the bedroom.

After a while, the nausea disappears but the headache stays. When Relationnel comes home for lunch, I tell him I need a doctor. He phones S.O.S. medecins (normal doctors don’t do house calls any more and mine’s on holiday anyway). The doctor, looking young and spruce, arrives within ten minutes, which is totally unheard of. It turns out he was very close by. You usually have to wait for at least a couple of hours.

He asks me a few questions, examines me quickly and gets me to sit up. He forces my head suddenly in one direction, then in another.  He crosses my arms and PUSHES ME, almost without warning, on to the bed on my left side. He pulls me back up and asks me if I feel dizzy. He repeats the performance twice, once on my right side and once on my back. By then, the nausea has really set in. He gets me to stand up. The dizziness has disappeared.

He then explains that I have something called “vertige paroxystique” and explains that one of the little crystals you have in your ear to help keep your balance has escaped from its normal home and is causing the problem. Relationnel hears this from the doorway and thinks the doctor’s a complete fake. But I know that he’s right. He explains why he’s ruled out other possibilities – no fever, the fact that lying down improves the nausea and dizziness, etc. I ask how you get it and he says it is usually caused by a head injury, infection, or other disorder of the inner ear, or may have degenerated because of advanced age. I have no hesitation in eliminating the last reason and choosing the first!

He then writes out a prescription to see a physiotherapist and gives me something for the headache and nausea. Relationnel spends the next one and a half hours trying to find a physio who knows what he’s talking about, is not on holidays and is willing to make a house call. He’s about to give up, suggesting that it might improve spontaneously anyway, when he finds someone close by who says it’s his speciality. Bingo!

I sleep for the next few hours. A very friendly young man arrives at 6.30 and explains the crystal business in greater detail. He then does a few manipulations, nowhere near as violent as the doctor’s, and is a bit worried because I don’t seem to have a normal “clinical” case.

He finally leaves, particularly as the nausea seems to have abated and the headache and dizziness have disappeared, saying he’ll come back next day with his infrared glasses to test my pupils. He tells me that I should rest for a bit then get up and about. I do so and by the time Black Cat arrives for our weekly dinner, I’m able to prepare the meal with her help and eat.

Next morning, I feel tired, but all the other symptoms have disappeared.


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