Labyrinthitis? OFF WORK & Going crazy!

  1. I have been off work for 2+ weeks and I am going insane. About 2 weeks ago, I started having periods of severe dizziness, and felt like I was going to pass out (I never actually did). I went to my family Dr., who diagnosed me with labyrinthitis. He gave me Antivert and sent me on my way. Well, the Antivert didn't seem to do anything for me, and my dizziness got worse. It was so bad that I was having trouble focusing on my husband's face when he was talking to me, couldn't read, watch tv, anything...so I went back to my family Dr., who still said I have labyrinthitis and gave me valium. The valium did seem to help some, but I'm not sure if it was with the dizziness itself or just calming my nerves, which were getting pretty frayed at that time. I also had a CBC w/ diff and BMP drawn, which were normal. My family Dr. also had me go for a MRI of the brain, which came back normal. I have definitly improved since this all began, I can now focus well, read, watch tv (although it does bother me after awhile), walk for about a minute before I have to grab onto the wall/furniture/my husband for support, but I have stayed dizzy. So...last week my family Dr. finally referred me to a neurologist, and I saw him. After about an hour of different positional changes in his office (and me almost falling twice because I was so dizzy), he said I have positional vertigo. I am having an ENG with video 5/1, and my follow-up with the neurologist 5/7. While in the neurologists' office, I made a comment about being hopeful that the appointment 5/7 would just be a follow-up, and I would be better by then. He said, "I doubt it" but didn't elaborate. He just told me that hopefully the dizziness would go away with time.
    So...here I am, at home. I am taking valium round-the-clock (per the neurologist) and I'm supposed to be on bedrest, which I would say I am doing about 80% of the time. I have to get up sometimes, I just feel like I am going crazy.
    My co-workers/friends have been calling me daily to see how I'm doing, offering to do anything they can for me, etc. which is very sweet. But I am suprised that here I have been out of work for over 2 weeks, and have not heard a word from my bosses. I mean, no one has bothered to call. I have been calling them frequently with updates, and last week was told by HR that I would need to have my Dr. fill out FMLA paperwork, which I've done. I guess I am just surprised that my boss has not contacted me, it seems weird to me. BTW, I'm an RN on a med/surg unit of a large hospital.
    Well, not sure what my point of my post is...it just feels really good to vent. For anyone else that has had to be off of work for health related reasons, please let me know about your experience and how you kept yourself from going crazy. I am really starting to get down and depressed about not being able to do anything.
    Also...if anyone has had labyrinthitis/positional vertigo, please give me some idea how long it will be until the dizziness goes away. Even the neurologist has been very vague about when I can expect to recover. VERY frustrating! Any advice/experiences/knowledge would be appreciated.
    Thanks for allowing me to vent everyone,
    -Kacy
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    About KacyLynnRN, ASN, BSN, CNA, LPN

    Joined: Nov '03; Posts: 317; Likes: 35

    9 Comments

  3. by   GingerSue
    I hope that you feel improved
  4. by   regularRN
    My mom had the same thing... the Dr told her it was caused by a virus, but not sure how he knew.
  5. by   catlvr
    Hope that you are feeling better soon. Did they check to see if you have an ear infection? My Mum went thru a similar workup, but once they fixed the ear infection, she was good as gold. Also, your bosses probably are not calling you because they really are not supposed to, by law, since you are sick. You can contact them, but they are not to contact you.

    e
  6. by   nurseangel47
    I had a friend who went thru this once. It lasted for quite a while and she, too, went thru all the neuro/ENT specialty docs and none of them could conclude what caused her dizziness. She was finally referred to a psychiatrist (!) and he/she did a life stressors assessment on her but didn't find a need for the psych. treatment. She just eventually got over the dizziness but it did take quite some time. Hope this isn't discouraging to you. Just being honest. How about having someone else start and finish laundry and bring it to you in bed for you to fold? Starting a hobby now seems an obvious answer to your boredom and bedrest dilemma: paint by numbers (yeah, it sounds too cheesy, right?!), origami, do silly little things: paint your finger and toe nails in funny, bright colors to cheer you up and make the time go by or how about some sort of braiding/macrame even if you don't make something to use, you could still be doing something with your hands. Rent movies, read, eat healthy snacks kept at bedside, do exercises in bed to prevent those muscles from atrophying and to release the feel good endorphins you need at this depressing time, write in a journal to keep yourself more objective and keep track of symptoms, times they occur, what brings them on if anything, docs appts., how your feeling, etc.
    Great way to ventilate to another party, (paper in the journal!) without worrying about "dumping" on someone else. Study, restudy, polish up on things you haven't read about in a while in nursing textbooks, nursing magazines, other nursing journals to keep your mind sharp for returning to the clinical environment.
    I know this sounds silly, but how about letting the inner child out and playing ??? Bubble blowing, crayon coloring in a kids' coloring book, playing with silly putty, play doh, dolls (?) anything you wouldn't consider doing since you've grown up but could at least pass away the time?
    I love to read. I'd buzz thru as many novels as I could if I were confined to bed. I'd also eat and sleep too much! LOL
    I know it sounds nice to those of us who are tired from work, but I also realize that it can be mighty depressing and boring!
    Make your own fun up with crafts ideas. Beaded jewlery making, painting small household items to use or give as gifts, (small stools, shelves, anything wooden unfinished that needs to be sanded, painted could work if you first laid down tarping or cloth to catch the bits of paint/sanding) I guess that's stretching it a bit but I'm running out of ideas!
    another before I close: knitting, if someone could come to your home and get you started. Or maybe there's a how to book that you can use to get yourself started without anyone else.
    Ok....out of ideas now!
    Much luck on your diagnosis/treatment and I hope it is not something serious and that you recover quickly!
  7. by   steelcityrn
    I sure know what your going through, and it lasted several weeks, seems to return when my allergies act up. I was told by a neuro , and given paperwork on it, to exercise by sitting at the edge of a bed and leaning from side to side until you just start to trigger it. This is supposed to break up the free flowing particles at the base of the ear/brain that clump during labyrinthitis. I have noticed if I take a otc non drowsy allergy med as soon as I start feeling my sinus's fill, it lessens the dizzyness. I was off only a few days with mine, but if yours is that severe you cannot work, thats pretty bad. It will pass, and you will recover, and you will learn to not look up quickly, or turn you head fast ect... good luck
  8. by   katienj
    I know exactly how you feel. I was diagnosed with labyrinthitis a few years ago and it stopped after I took Antivert. I got it again in November and it has not stopped since than. It is not as bad, but I still have positional vertigo. I have not missed time from work, other than one day.
    I have seen an ENT doctor who diagnosed me with BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). After infections, a virus or head injury small bits of particulate matter form in the ear (similar to kidney stones-called ear rocks) which upset the equilibrium and result in dizziness. It happens mainly when changing position in bed or putting the head down or to the affected side. I have not been able to sleep on my right ear since than. I have exercises which I do daily to move the matter in the ear, but it has not completely subsided. I have had ear infection, after ear infection since November, but no one can explain why or how to prevent this from happening.

    The symptoms you describe sound like BPPV http://www.pennhealth.com/ent/balance/hi/benign.html and here is a link to read more about the condition
  9. by   EarthChild1130
    I hope you feel better soon...I have the positional vertigo too...it flares up occasionally, and I have Antivert for it, which helps a lot...Mine is also worse when I move in the bed, or move from lying to sitting...it's worse in the morning...it hangs around for a week or so, then goes away on its own...I've had it for several years now...no fun at all when it comes calling!!
  10. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from kacylynnlpn
    well, not sure what my point of my post is...it just feels really good to vent. for anyone else that has had to be off of work for health related reasons, please let me know about your experience and how you kept yourself from going crazy. i am really starting to get down and depressed about not being able to do anything.
    -kacy
    i was off work for six months with a back injury -- the first two weeks were the worst. after that, i sort of slowed down and tasks expanded to fill up some of the time i had. i developed a serious addiction to barnes and noble, but didn't increase my tv viewing at all! and i never heard from my manager, either! i really thought she could have called or emailed to say "i hope you're feeling better," or "don't worry, you'll still have your job when you're better. but nope. and when i had to call her, she was distant.

    i was depressed off and on -- because i wasn't getting better and didn't know if the way i was feeling would be my new baseline. but i'm better, back to work and no longer depressed (except about work, but that's another thread.) you'll get through it -- you just need to suck it up and deal. wish i had better advice!
  11. by   KacyLynnRN
    Thanks for all the responses/suggestions everyone. I'm still having some dizziness, some days are better than others. I have an ENG scheduled 5/1 so hopefully I will know more then.
    -Kacy

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