I Want A New Drug

Diagnosis is a wonderful thing. In giving your antagonist a medically recognizable name, you gain a sens of validation. This isn’t in your head. Well.. it is in your head, but it’s a morphological disturbance–not a psychological one.

Now, that’s all well and good, but the thrill of diagnosis rapidly wears off when you learn that the treatment plan is woefully non-specialized for the task. As it stands, vestibular neuritis has no direct treatment. You wait, and generally it goes away. On occasion, or if you’re me, the damage to the vestibular nerve is more than labyrinth deep and the nerve is damaged; in that case it’s permanent, and none of the following modern-day poultices will save you.

Be that as it may, this part of my blog is designed to walk you through my journey as a vertigo patient, so in the interest of completeness, I present to you   my own personal arsenal of chemical warfare specimens followed by my personal take on my experiences with homeopathic treatments.

Meet the Pills

There are a ton of medications here, and these are just the ones I still had laying around. I attempted to group them by intended effect or metabolic pathway, so go ahead and click on any of the pictures below and a more detailed explanation of the capsule should be available via the gallery.

 

Drugs Not Pictured
Believe it or not, I don’t hold on to every less than effective prescription thrown my way. Because of this, there are a few medicines worth mentioning that I was unable to photograph for your viewing pleasure.

antivert/bonine/meclozine: All synonyms for the original seasickness tablet, and all utterly ineffective for my purposes. Practically speaking, the only distinguishing factor between this class of drug and dramamine is that these puppies will knock a girl out. Hence the reason for the formulation of the “less drowsy” dramamine formulation.

steroids/antibiotics: If you catch the upper respiratory virus early on, right when it enters the ear, a regimen of antibiotics and/or steroids can prevent the bug from destroying the nerve. Unfortunately, reaching the conclusion that vestibular neuritis is at play takes months. Months vital  to the potential efficacy of this traeatment. In my case, as in many others in my position, by the time we got to this point, the damage was already done.

sumatriptan: A mainstay in the first-aid kit of the migrainer, sumatriptan is a triptan drug designed to interrupt the chemical cascade that generates the excruciating headache. Not entirely surprising, those suffering from chronic vertigo often have this lovely gem to deal with as well. I was in between refills during my photoshoot, but I usually have a 50mg dose on hand.

melatonin: Insomniacs will recognize this as the natural vitamin the body produces to regulate normal, healthy sleep. But insomniacs will know this as the utterly useless–placebo-like, even–pill your doctor tells you to try before they give you the hardcore  sleep aids. Melatonin does nothing for me, which is why Ambien’s up in my slideshow.

Is This It?

When it becomes apparent that none of the above remedies are going to help you in the long run, you get desperate. Like eye of newt and hair of dog desperate. Turning to homeopathy for relief can range from an epic waste of cash to risking life and limb to amazingly legitimate results. Luckily for me, I have some decent karma (other than the whole contracting vertigo business) and in this realm, karma has pull.  So I actually ended up with a really great set of practitioners. 

Chiropractic: You have to be really careful here (like girl in the plastic bubble careful) because if you find yourself in the care of some quack of a chiropractor and they tweak your neck in the wrong way with the wrong force, you can actually end up with vertigo from cervical vertebrae damage. I happened to have a chiropractor long before the vertigo started  so I already had someone I trusted with my spinal column. That being said, of the holistic tricks in my medical bag, I found that chiropractic adjustment helped, but not much for the vertigo. What it did was align my spine when it had been pulling my posture out of whack due to the fact that I have to walk funny in order not to fall. SO helpful for treating the symptoms, but didn’t do much for the vertigo itself.

Massage: I was very nervous when I went to my first full-body massage. Changing into my birthday suit for a complete stranger is just not how I operate. However, at the time of my first massage, I was also very in pain. To the point of tears. Thus, I stripped, and let my masseuse get to work. And boy, what a job she did–massage is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever been that relaxed. My practitioner also specializes in acupressure, so there were several manipulations of the musculature surrounding my ear that did wonders ot relax the area. Which in turn helped relax the nerve a little. In addition, half of the time I’m vomiting when it rains, so this also makes my back incredibly happy after dry heaving for extended periods of time.

Acupuncture: If there is one thing I would recommend to anybody going through the hell I’ve been through these past two years, it would be to find yourself a damn good acupuncturist. This is the ONLY thing that DIRECTLY affects the vertigo. No the needles don’t hurt. Yes you can feel them sometimes. Trust me, I was not the most likely candidate to undergo voluntary treatment by needles–I typically pass out with any sort of needle. But this? This I got used to . Why? Because it was the one thing that actually helped. I can’t properly describe what happens, but in essence, when I’m on the table with needles in strategic locations, I literally feel the nerve loosen enough to allow my face to relax. It’s absolutely incredible, and I don’t pretend to remotely understand the Eastern view of chi. But I don’t question it, because it works. Treatments last anywhere form a day to three days–not a permanent fix, but absolutely worth it.

Is THAT it?

Well if it were, I’d be kind of screwed and this blog would be kind of useless. In my refusal to accept this vertigo and my subsequent dogged attempts to find long-lasting treatment, I convinced my ENT to enroll me in a highly specialized neurotology clinic. That is where the current story of this blog begins, and to pick up from there, please see my very first post.

However, if you’re just here for the gist of what I’m going to be going through for the next nine weeks, I refer you to the next two pages which discuss vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

Back to the Deets!

Back to the Posts!

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