Vertigo — Part 2

Guest poster Don Blount continues the story of his recent crash — and its unexpected side effect.

BlountOnBikingI awoke early Saturday, I think it was about 4 a.m., feeling woozy. The bedroom was dark, except for the glow of a smoke detector indicator light on the ceiling. The only problem was that the light was not stationary. It seemed to be zipping clockwise around the room.

I was sweating and nauseous. I staggered a few feet to the bathroom, splashed water on my face and the dizziness went away. I made it back to bed.

Two hours later I was awakened by the same sensation. This time I stumbled to the bathroom and held on to the basin for dear life until the room stopped spinning.

I also hurled. I would do so another nine times that day.

I tried to eat some broth and some crackers but nothing stayed down.

I spent that portion of the day face down on the floor with a bucket next to me.

I remember hearing Bob Griese, Chris Spielman and another broadcaster announcing the Michigan State-Wisconsin game (Michigan State lost). I didn’t have the strength to change the channel. I heard carpet cleaners come and go, and I didn’t want to move for fear of another episode starting.

My wife was on the phone with an advice nurse. Initially it was thought I had some type of head injury from my fall days earlier. It can take up to two weeks for symptoms to develop from a head injury. But when told that every time I moved I got dizzy, the nurse surmised that I could have vertigo.

Vertigo isn’t just an inner ear problem that causes dizziness and imbalance. It can be brought on by a head injury – that was the concern with me. It can also happen for no specific cause in what is known as spontaneous vertigo.

My wife was able to get a 1:45 p.m. appointment at an after hours clinic with our health care provider. She dropped the kids off at friends and came back for me. As we drove to the office, I told her about various bill due dates and passwords she would need. At that point I thought I might have had some type of head injury and may end up unconscious or sedated. She was trying not to cry.

The doctor had me describe my symptoms and do certain balance tests, such as stand on one foot and touch my nose with my eyes closed. I wasn’t drunk, just sick. It wasn’t until I hurled in front of him like Mr. Creosote, the glutton who eats too much and blows up in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life that he had his “Ah Ha” moment.

“I’m going to give you something for the nausea,” he said.

“Thank goodness,” I mumbled to myself.

I received that shot – in the butt, not the arm – at about 3:15 p.m. I was still dizzy but at least I wasn’t queasy. I was sent to the emergency room at another hospital for tests.

We sat in the emergency room for one hour and 40 minutes. A repeat of America’s Funniest Home Videos was airing. I just sat there with my head in my hands, asking my wife every few minutes how long we had been there.

They performed a cat scan and various blood tests but found nothing abnormal.

MezI was given meclizine, a drug used for motion sickness and dizziness.

I was battered but well enough to go home. We left sometime after 8 p.m.

I could function but was far from healed.

The symptoms went away in stages over the next few weeks. I couldn’t tilt my head back or move quickly and I had to sleep propped up too.

Don's new helmet.
Don's new helmet.

It kept me off the bike for nearly a week. I got back on the rollers first and after that went well, was able to convince my doctors to take off the cast and let me wear a soft support — my wrist was still fractured after all. A soft support I could ride with, a cast not easily. I took my bike out on the road the following day.

Don continues to monitor himself for any return of vertigo, which the doctors now say was completely spontaneous. But it can linger.


  1. says

    My grandpa experienced a period of spontaneous vertigo last year. There was nothing physically wrong with him, he just had vertigo all the sudden. Strange and miserable thing to have happen to you! I’m glad you’re feeling better, Don!

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