Have you heard of Labyrinthitis? I hadn't until I walked into a large tree and visited my GP. For the last week I have been crippled by a sporadic sensation that the room is spinning. It pounces out of nowhere and gets you at anytime - when you are walking, driving, lying down, or mid converstion... Last week, while chatting to a friend, i walked into said tree, almost knocking myself out. It may sound funny but it is actually quite scary having a problem that means you suddenly have to throw yourself on the pavement and grip tightly before you fall off it. Passer-bys assume you must be drunk and look rather disapproving as they offer their help, but infact, your ear is sending a message to the brain that you are moving, while the eyes send a different message. Since the two messages conflict, you feel dizzy.
Vertigo is the main symptom of Labyrinthitis. It is caused usually by the cold or flu virus, and is an inflammation of the labyrinth in the inner ear. This is a new part of the body to me... the only Labyrinth I knew of, prior to this, is the one David Bowie leaps around wearing eye wateringly tight leggings.
Half expecting Jeremy Beadle's modern day equivalent to pop out of a cupboard at any moment, pointing and laughing, I continued to listen as the doctor explained that it may get worse before it gets better, it usually spontaneously ends within 3-8 weeks and though the brain usually compensates for the damage done to the labyrinth with time, it has been known to damage hearing and balance permanently. Well my tight rope walking career hasn't taken off yet anyway. And on the plus side, my mother was wrong, getting incredibly drunk as a teenager wasn't, as it turns out, a destructive waste of time after all, but has provided me with valuable schooling in how to handle extreme dizziness.... Lie down and grip the floor tight!
I've been prescribed some medicine, been advised to rest, and also taken my mother's advice and put some very weak hydrogen peroxide solution in my ears. That may prove to be a mistake... as we are talking about a a woman who once used bath cleaner "vim" to clean her teeth, telling the dentist "it says it's for enamel!" (no permanent damage thankfully!).
Luckily i'm going on holiday soon, so i will get a couple of weeks gripping the beach rather than the pavement.