Tag Archives: update

Rockin’ the vertigo

15 Feb

Towards the end of my vertigo therapy session, we were asked to pick a goal. Not a pie in the sky “I want to get better” amorphous concept of a goal, but a tangible, attainable goal. Some people chose getting back to driving (something I’d likewise love to do) some chose going out with friends more, etc. As for me? I had something very clear in mind: I want to learn to rock climb.

This is an incredibly difficult thing for someone without a vestibular disorder to imagine; it’s not an easy thing to begin with. But the vestibular disorder adds an entire level of difficulty that nobody else will experience. Think about it. I get 70% of my balance from my feet being able to sense terra firma, 25% from visual cues, 5% from my good ear. On the wall, I massively alter the foot stimulus, restrict my visual signals to the wall in my immediate range, and I have an entirely new piece of information to work with: my hands. In other words, this is completely disorienting. I had to relearn to balance form scratch–standing without tipping over is something I have to consciously think about. Rock climbing is an entirely different world to me and it serves as the crowning achievement of my vertigo therapy.

And today I made it to the top of that wall for the first time. 39 feet. I have an absolutely brilliant set of teammates giving me all the encouragement and support I need (literally–we’re all research chemists belaying each other,) and every night we recap about what we did well and where we’d like to be. This is one of the most wonderful things about research groups; the camaraderie is unbeatable. This event (the Mile High challenge–5,280 vertical feet between the four of us) has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in quite some time.


Thank you Codey, so, so much for snapping this shot! You rock!

As an individual, every climb I do is mine and mine alone. Other vertigo patients may commiserate or have similar stories and they may even climb the exact same route I just did, but this particular vertigo is mine. It is damage unique to my physiology and therefore it is something I alone on this planet will ever know. An outward manifestation of my own private world–my secret openly spread eagle on the lateral face of a wall. I think that’s pretty damn cool.


MAYDAY! In November.

17 Nov

Ho-leee crap, folks. Today? Today SUCKED. I mean, I usually have all manner of disturbances with storm systems, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had this sort of response. It’s rainy and windy like a proper winter rain cell right now–one of the first decent ones we’ve had all season since last year and…

I woke up, and I didn’t realize I had. Continue reading

I only run when chased.

14 Nov

When I begrudgingly decided (read: biologically forced) to take this semester off in February/March 2012, something inside me broke. Academia was (and in a sense is) my life. Everything was so cleanly laid out before the vertigo–I had a graduation map (actually I had several,) an idea of where I wanted to go with my education, what I needed to do to get there and when. When all of that changes… well what the hell do you do? Continue reading

Petrichor, Pokes, and Permanence

8 Nov

Update on the head cold: still there, but waning. All signs indicate that the worst is over (assuming I don’t believe in jinxing my immune system.)

Now for the cool observations. A few posts back (Monday of this week, I believe) I had indicated that rain was on the horizon and Wednesday night would likely be precipitation hour. I attenuated my claim with the fact that this head cold can skew my perceptions, but I should really learn to trust my ear, because this morning elicited puddles. Le human barometer–I literally can’t leave home without it.

That being said, my ear is decidedly unhappy with this watery turn of events, so my energy levels were on the low side today. Continue reading

Every Journey Begins With a Single Step

24 Oct

Or set of steps. This is the night before day one of  the Vestibular Problems Group which possibly the least exiting and rampantly under-enthusiastic title for an experimental therapy that’s supposed to change my take on life. And I have to take into consideration that this isn’t exactly my very first wobbly fawn-like step toward dealing with my inner ear’s lack of respect for reality. It has been over two years in the making. Continue reading