Imagine walking along, minding your own business and having everything in your field of vision begin to jump around. That's what happened to me. One minute I was feeling fine and the next minute, my sight was swimmy, my heart pounded and I felt like I was on the verge of passing out. I never lost consciousness but I felt like it was iminent. This symptom happened over and over and over again for days, then weeks.
Since my heart pounded each time my vision went wacky, I thought maybe I was having heart attacks. So I went to the general doctor to figure out what kind of doctor I should see. Since I described my symptoms of the heart pounding I was referred to a heart doctor. The heart doctor gave me a handy dandy heart monitor to wear for a few days and I was to punch a button each time I felt dizzy. I did. Lots of times. And when I went back for the results of the test guess what? No heart issues. Clean and clear as a whistle.
I visited other doctors and finally ended up at a neuro opthomalagist's office. I went through so many strange tests, I felt like a test monkey. On acid. In outer space. In one test, a technician watched me while a warm stream of air was gently blown into my ear. No fallout - no symptoms - nothing. Then the technician blew cold air gently into my ear. All hell broke loose. I immediately began to throw up. How odd is that? Warm air in the ear - smiles and tickles. Cold air in the ear - instant vomitosis! In another test I was placed in a million dollar cigar tube that had a small chair inside. The door to the tube was closed and I was in pitch black darkness. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face! The chair that I was sitting on began to spin. But oddly enough, I didn't know which way I was spinning. The chair would whir and I'd feel gentle movement then it would stop, then it would begin again. And I had no idea if I was going left or right! The tube had a night vision camera so they could watch me and my crazy eyes to see if I fell over or whatever and I guess that test couldn't tell them anything either. There were other odd tests which required lots of trips to their offices and I was beginning to get really frustrated and depressed. I knew something was wrong but really smart doctors and technicians with all of their tests and vomit inducing puffs of air couldn't figure out what.
I was at a doctors visit one day and I had decided that it was going to be my last visit. I was fed up with the lack of results and was beginning to think that maybe I was imagining things. I've always had a horrid fear of being a hypochondriac and this journey was confirming my fears that maybe I was one of "them". The doctor was explaining that the most recent round of tests had proven nothing and I was taking my frustrations out on him when all of a sudden he just froze. He looked very intently at me and told me that he had just seen something. He saw my eyes jump around!!! He had a name for it! He confirmed that I was NOT crazy! If I could have jumped up and done a happy dance, I would have. I had a name for my problem.
The next thing to figure out was what to do about it. There wasn't a magic cure to make it go away so what to do? The doc wanted me to return for a few more tests (on a different day of course) so we could figure a course of treatment. During the time between the day he saw my eyes do the happy dance and the day that I returned for yet another test I had an amazing revelation. I remembered the horrible migraine from years ago and I remembered that the neurologist called it a "complicated" migraine. That meant that odd things happened when I had one and that sometimes, I could have a migraine and it wouldn't hurt - I'd just have squirrelly things occur. When I returned to the doctor, I mentioned that little gem of information and he had an "aha" moment. It was decided that I could use a medication that kept migraines at bay and I shouldn't have any more problems. And that worked. For a while.
Part tres forthcoming......