Minor Medical Alert

When I woke up this morning I discovered that the world was going round me at a fair lick. After a short while it stopped, so I lay there and read social media stuff on my iPad for a bit, but when I tried to get up it happened again. It was just like being very, very drunk, but as all I’d had yesterday was a wine glass of the chocolate stout I was putting in the chili, at around midday, I figured that was a rather unlikely explanation.

So I went back to bed and started looking up symptoms. The NHS website was no help at all. It told me I was having a stroke and should call an ambulance immediately. But I had none of the other symptoms, and as far as I know strokes are fairly transient things. Wikipedia was somewhat more helpful, but it was clear that there was a wide range of possible causes I’d need to eliminate.

I’ve always had boringly stable blood pressure, and I’ve never had any issues with diabetes. I don’t have any of the other symptoms of anemia. So barring really scary stuff like a brain tumor the most likely suspect seemed to be a mild case of carbon monoxide poisoning. I don’t have gas, but my cottage is quite small and not well ventilated at this time of year. Also I’d accidentally left a hot plate on for a while yesterday, and that might have burned off something noxious. So I wrapped myself up well and opened a window. After a while I was well enough to have breakfast, and having eaten and listened to Coode Street I was fit enough to get on with the day.

Carbon monoxide detectors don’t seem to be very expensive, so I think I’ll buy one just in case, but if anyone else has any ideas as to what the problem might have been I’d be very grateful. I don’t particularly want to have to go to my doctor and get told that it is all my own fault for doing crazy things to my body.

Update: Whatever caused this appears to have gone away, as I was fine this morning (Monday). This leads me to suspect that ventilating the cottage fixed the problem.

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11 Responses to Minor Medical Alert

  1. Yikes. Glad you are okay, in the end.

  2. Jo Hall says:

    Definitely get a carbon monoxide detector, just in case. They’re pretty cheap and they do save lives.

    The other thing it could possibly be is labyrinthitis? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labyrinthitis

    Either way, I hope you feel better soon!

  3. Since it happened when awakening, and went away fairly quickly without further symptoms, what immediately comes to mind is BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) which is caused by normal but misplaced calcium crystals in the balance organ.

    If this starts happening more often, it could be an inner ear infection or something more chronic like Ménière’s disease. Have you suffered tinnitus?

  4. CarolC says:

    Eep! Hope you’re feeling better! Like Otto, the first thing that came to mind was an inner ear problem, especially as you didn’t have an accompanying fever.
    Um… here’s a video of some children playing with a Fennec Fox http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCnI3D6dPRY&noredirect=1

  5. Cheryl says:

    With regard to ear infections, I’ve always had pretty poor balance, suffered from motion sickness and so on, so that could be getting worse. However, judging from my recent Wii Fit usage, my balance is as good now as it has ever been, if not better, because I’m exercising it. Also there’s been no tinnitus or deafness. It’s possible that I need my ears syringed, but I don’t think it is anything worse.

  6. Farah Mendlesohn says:

    inner ear, low blood pressure or low blood sugar.

    If it’s inner ear it will hang around: see doctor.

    If it’s low blood pressure it will be vaguely painful at the back of your head: drink lots of juice and water.

    If it’s sugar you might feel a bit sick: try an orange.

  7. Paul Oldroyd says:

    From your description its got to be labyrinthitis. Exactly the same thing happened to me earlier this year. In people of our age it’s likely to be caused by crystals in the inner ear rather than an infection, so if it continues your GP should be able to manipulate your head to get them into a position where they stop causing problems.

    • Cheryl says:

      Labyrinthitis is caused by either a viral or bacterial infection, and should not be cured by food and fresh air as my symptoms were. Crystals are a possibility, though they’d need to be falling into place while I’m asleep and falling out of place again after I’ve been vertical for a while. If it happens again another night I’ll be more convinced by that. As to GPs, “should” is the operative word.

  8. Carolyn says:

    This happened to me out of the blue in the middle of the night a few years ago – turned over and the world turned upside down. Fairly intense dizziness persisted for a couple of weeks – I had a GP’s home visit (in London! Miracle!) who ruled out anything sinister but couldn’t give me a diagnosis either. I then went to my regular osteopath appointment and even though I felt silly even considering it could be spine-related thought I had better mention it to the osteopath. He traced it to a misalignment in my lower lumbar region, realigned it, and the dizziness disappeared immediately. Since then I’ve had occasional spells of dizziness (never as bad as that first one) related to neck misalignments which have always resolved immediately with osteopathic treatment.

    • Cheryl says:

      Fascinating. Thank you! I don’t think that’s my problem as I got better without any manipulation, but it shows how complex the problem is.

  9. Glad to hear it turned out well. For future reference, if the NHS site is really that useless, a good online medical resource is WebMD.