Vestibular neuronitis is a not-too-infrequent cause of sudden-onset dizziness. As a means of heightening your desire to read this, I cleverly (or wrongly) wrote this as a poem, in the form of a silly Shakespearian Sonnet no less. Call me crazy, call me stupid--I can’t hear you anyway, unless you exercise the “comment” feature at the end. For what it’s worth, I boastfully confess I did a rather good job…I think. Still, I’ve been patting my own back ‘til it’s sore!
Vestibular Neuronitis—To Be or Ought to Be
Check on the link (Vestibular System) for some Anatomy
I find me-self one miserable day
Spinning in me head and puking in bed;
Me stupid room spun though quiet I lay.
Must be the beer or that bad piece of bread.
Up I sit, the world around keeps moving,
So I stand, sway but can’t walk a straight line.
And inside me head everything’s twirling.
Me eyes beat and beat and just won’t align!
Fear and panic, to the E.R. we go!
Heart attack, stroke? Alien in me head?
Damn it, I’m no doctor*--I wouldn’t know!
They’ll sort it all out and relieve my dread!
An EKG, beneath an MRI.
Tumor in me head, am I going to die?
“You have Vestibular Neuronitis,”
The newbie doc says with a toothy grin.
“No heart attack, stroke, no meningitis;
Nor med side-effects or strange infection.
No mass in the brain, blood work is OK.
No hearing loss you say? No ear pain too?
That history helps, makes things look less gray.
Good facial nerve too, your smile’s not askew.
Twice or thrice you’ll puke, but better you’ll feel.
Meds we’ll give to curb the chunks you may blow.”
Glad I’ll live but still feel less than ideal.
Again, what’s this ailment that plagues me so?
The young doc adds more to my confusion,
“’Tis a diagnosis…of exclusion.”
Okay, I get it! But really I don’t.
That medical talk, it’s mumble-jumble.
Won’t leave ‘til I get it, I simply won’t!
“It’s the ear,” he says as I cry and stumble,
“More like a nerve that goes bad from the ear.
“A virus we think is the source, the bane;
Screws up the poor nerve, makes you spin and veer.”
“The vestibule here,” he tries to explain.
He shows me pictures like the one below;
Done by a great artist, larger than life.
Such talent! Such brains! All in one fellow!
He’s a surgeon too who wields a sharp knife!
Gee whiz, I get it! Eureka! I do!
That Doc Fong art opens the world anew!
We know, we know, this will get to Fong’s head.
Cursed and dizzy when he rises from bed.
The prognosis for most is really good;
The brain compensates as it rightly should.
Often, no meds, no surgery is needed;
Exercises** can help when duly heeded.
* I am a doctor literally, but for the sake of the poem, put yourself into this first-person account. Unless of course, you’re a doctor too, then that advice won’t work. Better yet, just forget this footnote.
©Randall S. Fong, M.D.
For more topics on medicine, health and the weirdness of life in general, check out the rest of the blog site at randallfong.blogspot.com