Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life Is About Balance

Life is about balance. Indeed. Not sure that I could stand on stilts today.

In September an entry was posted about physical balance issues. Upon arrival in Palm Springs it was time to check in with the medical community (compliments of medicare) to determine a possible reason for the infrequent moments of light headedness and the occasional non-alcohol related staggering. My name is Lloyd and I have... Oops. That was another group.

With the aging -- old -- population of Palm Springs and a high ratio of doctors to the population, I was into the ear, nose and throat specialist within a matter of days after arriving in Palm Springs. After listening to my history and a problem definition, the doctor ordered an MRI and a visit to the balance testing specialists.

The MRI proved normal. Physically. That alone was comforting. Asked the good doctor if it was possible there might be something that might show up on the MRI to explain the somewhat irrational desire for nomadic living in a home on wheels. Nope. Couldn't help me there.

The visit to the balance testing specialists included lots of high tech gadgets, watching my eyes, blowing air in to my ears, trying to a stand on a platform that moves with my slightest movement and more tests.

The diagnosis was bilateral peripheral vestibular weakness. Putting that in terms I could understand is that I have staggering and balance issues due to an inner ear problem. Hey guys. Good job. Nice to know that there is a reason for what I experience. Now what.

No pills to make it go away. Physical therapy was prescribed. Went to the therapist and I was prescribed some exercises while standing on a piece of stiff foam. As the foam compresses, the body responds to the inputs from eyes, ears, and muscles to maintain the upright posture.

Doctor says it may be six months before noticing any change as a result of the physical therapy. Will I be able to remember what it may have been like six months earlier. :) Or could the problem have gone away -- in much the same way it appeared.

Along with the physical therapy, I determined that hiking on un-level trails will be good additional therapy. More reason to get out and hike.

Some days are great with no symptoms. Others. Not so good. On one particular bad day, I seriously began to wonder and considering where (not an easy decision) I was going to rent an apartment and give up the travel. Fortunately, I recovered. Whew. That decision of where to "settle" has been put off for another day.

Considering there are no other health issues and no medications, I can live with the unsteadiness and staggering. At least I believe I can.


  1. Two hiking sticks is required for me if things get even a little uneven. Between the unstable left knee and considerable loss of left eye vision my hiking has slowed its speed a bunch. Slower is not always bad though.

  2. It's good you got your condition checked out and have a diagnosis. Now you have even more reasons to hike, and take those uneven trails less traveled.

  3. I guess this means we can rule out fine brandy as the culprit! :)

  4. Barney,
    Been a two trekking poles hiker for about 15 years. These days they are needed more than ever.
    Yup. When a man goes to a doctor, you know it's serious. The good part is that nothing had to be surgically removed.
    At least the doctor's prescription did not include "no brandy". :)


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